Difficulty in increasing area and output
Vinh Long province now has more than 453 ha of water surface for intensive Tra fish farming, currently farming tra fish in more than 331 ha, concentrated mainly in Long Ho, Mang Thit, Vung Liem, Tra On and Binh Tan districts. The number of Tra fish farming establishments in the province is 206 units, of which there are 21 companies, accounting for 10.68% of total production facilities with over 250 ha and 185 farming households, accounting for 89.32% of the total establishments with over 203 ha.
According to Mr. Lieu Cam Hien, Deputy Director of Vinh Long Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, intensive Tra fish farming is an effective model of export-goods production that accounts a significant proportion in the agricultural production structure of the province. Therefore, it received the attention and deep guidance of local leaders and relevant sectors.
In addition, intensive tra fish farming has developed in the locality from the first stage, therefore, local farmers have a lot of experience and logistic services for developing a complete and synchronized farming. However, in recent years, especially in the period from 2012 to 2017, this industry has also encountered many difficulties, including: the price of raw tra fish has continuously fluctuated and remained at a low level for a long time, thus, some businesses and tra fish farmers suffered losses and have no capital to reproduce. Although the current price of raw fish is quite high, the farming area has not yet recovered and developed much due to farmers' lack of production capital and prices of materials for raising activities such as breeds, feed, etc. continuously rising.
Due to the declining quality of tra fish seed and the province still has to depend on a large amount of imported seeds from other provinces (over 70%), it is difficult to control the commercial product quality, significantly affecting production efficiency. At the same time, the weather conditions change, so the environmental factors often fluctuate, especially for temperature and pH indicator (fluctuations between day and night are very large) are favorable conditions for aquatic diseases occur on tra fish intensive farming ponds.
In addition, fisheries production in the province is mainly in small scale, not yet building sustainable production and consumption links, so the production efficiency is not stable when the market mechanism has unfavorable impact.
Tra fish products in Vinh Long province are mainly consumed in the form of raw materials. Currently, there is no investment in enterprises that have created value-added products to enhance product value and create stable output for farmers. Along with that, investment resources for fisheries development are not commensurate with the demand and growth targets. At the same time, the investment has not been focused on the targets, the supporting from authority is small and fragmented that did not positively impact the growth of production value of the industry.
Mr. Hien added that due to the instability of the commodity industry, there is no seafood enterprises in Vinh Long that are strong enough to be a leader and a pioneer in investment to create a breakthrough for the industry, especially developing models of tra fish farming using high technology.
Determining to turn seafood into a key economic sector, including culturing tra fish
The development orientation of Vinh Long province in the coming time is to develop fisheries into a spearhead economic sector, in which tra fish is considered the main target of the province with the advantage of producing for the domestic market and exporting. Recently, the province has had many guidelines and policies to support the fisheries sector in general and Tra fish in particular in the province to develop more stably and sustainably.
Accordingly, the scheme to restructure the agricultural sector in Vinh Long province in the direction of improving added value and sustainable development in the period of 2017-2020, vision to 2030, has determined that tra fish is the key commodity of the province and continue to invest in developing this industry in the direction of centralized commodity production; linking the production and consumption of products; building value chains and goods brands; applying good practices according to advanced farming processes, ensuring the creation of food safety and environmental friendly products. In addition, the People's Committee of Vinh Long province has also approved the Scheme on “Developing tra fish industry in the direction of sustainable value-added in the period of 2017-2020, orientation to 2030 in Vinh Long province” to supporting the development of the industry in a stable manner in the coming time.
According to Mr. Hien, to concretize the task of developing this industry, Vinh Long has implemented a number of projects on tra fish intensive farming and these activities have had a positive impact on the development of the industry over time. Most prominent, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vinh Long province has successfully implemented the project “Investment in supporting the construction of safe tra fish farming areas using process of Global GAP/ACS during the period of 2011 – 2015”. The project has supported the investment in the construction of safe Tra fish farming areas according to advanced farming procedures (BMP / VietGAP / GlobalGAP / ASC) and has been widely disseminated to Tra fish farmers in the province to apply and practice the good management and good farming, increasing use of probiotics, limiting the use of antibiotic and chemicals in the production process.
Besides, in order to apply scientific and technical advances into agricultural production, the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is also implementing the project on “Supporting the construction of water quality monitoring and auto-alert models in intensive tra fish ponds for the period of 2018-2020” to support tra fish farms easily control water quality in the pond in a proactive and timely manner, that help propose a proactive response, quickly contributing to the development of tra fish farming in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner, limiting the occurrence of diseases and bringing about profits and high economic efficiency for farmers.
Currently, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is also proposing to implement the project on “Building a model of Tra fish farming area in the direction of food safety in the period of 2019-2020” with the target to build concentrated Tra fish farming areas to ensure food safety, disease free and adaptable to traceability requirements; ensuring the supply of safe seafood products for domestic consumers and meeting the strict standards and requirements of the international market. At the same time, it will contribute as a bridge to link production - consumption of products to stabilize and improve the value of tra fish products.
In addition to supporting projects, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development regularly directs its specialized agencies to strengthen management, ensuring a stable development of the industry, following the provincial plan and regulations; promptly support production and provide market information and production information (environment, disease) to farmers, update advanced scientific and technical advances, farming techniques for farmers. With the interest of the local branches and the enthusiasm of the aquaculturists in the province, Vinh Long still maintained a relatively stable operation of tra fish farming during the recent difficult period.