Ben Tre: male mono-sex giant freshwater prawn farming brings high economic efficiency (13-03-2017)
The giant freshwater prawn is one of the world’s most cultivated and consumed freshwater shrimp. Thanks to the high-technology and scientific research, farmers now can grow male mono-sex prawn which can grow faster and up to 60% larger than females. It helps farmers to get almost a 60% increase in their income. Currently, culturing giant freshwater prawn is developing strongly in Ben Tre province, especially the semi-intensive model.
Over the past months since many shrimp farming models such as culturing white leg shrimp or black tiger shrimp in Ben Tre are facing challenges because of diseases, unstable prices, a lot of shrimp farmers in Ben Tre are moving to giant freshwater prawn farming. Giant freshwater prawn can adapt very well to the saline intrusion due to ability of growing normally at salinity of 0-6 ‰. Besides, it requires less money to start culturing giant freshwater prawn while its economic value is quite high and good demand from markets. Culturing giant freshwater prawn does not harm the ecological environment as farmers don’t need to use antibiotics and chemicals during culturing time.
In the past, farmer used to culture both male and female giant freshwater prawn in the same pond. It caused less effectiveness in value because the population of female prawn was normally over 50%, and their growth rate was slow when they started to breed. Thereby, the productivity in general was low while it culturing time was long (from 9 – 10 months).
Since 2015, farmers in some communes such as Ba Tri, Binh Dai, Thanh Phu, South Mo Cay have changed to rear only male prawn in semi-intensive pond which resulted the higher value for culturing giant freshwater prawn. Male prawns can grow faster and up to 60% larger than females. It is noteworthy that so far no infected cases have been detected there. 3 main models for culturing only male giant freshwater prawn in Ben Tre are culturing prawn in coconut garden, culturing prawn on rice field, and culturing prawn in semi-industry model. Thanks to the application of scientific and technical measures, it takes only 6 – 7 months now to culture only male prawn, which helps farmers reduce the costs and time while increase the value of the prawn.
In Ben Tre, the total area for culturing giant freshwater prawn is about 2,100 hectares, in which nearly 40,000m2 for only male giant freshwater prawn culture in semi-intensive, in coconut garden or on rice field. Annual production of giant freshwater prawn is estimated at 1,100 tons. Selling price is going around VND 150,000 - 450,000 per kilogram depending on size. At this price, farmer can get around VND 100 million per hectare for culturing only male giant freshwater prawn.
This model is very important and effective in the context of climate change and saline intrusion at Mekong Delta nowadays. It is also suitable for local conditions such as natural conditions and people’s customs and capacity.