Ca Mau province works to ease pandemic’s impact on shrimp export hinh anh 1Ca Mau has earned only more than 140 million USD from shrimp exports since the beginning of 2020, down over 18 percent year on year (Photo: VNA)

Ca Mau (VNA) – As shrimp exporters and farmers in Ca Mau are feeling COVID-19 headwinds, the southernmost province is seeking ways to mitigate impact of the pandemic that is ravaging around the world.

Tran Hoang Em, Secretary General of the Ca Mau Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (CASEP), said raw black tiger shrimp of the type of 20 pieces per kg is currently priced at some 180,000 VND (7.6 USD) per kg, down 100,000 VND compared to prices before the Lunar New Year.

Meanwhile, the province has gained only more than 140 million USD from shrimp exports since the year’s beginning, down over 18 percent year on year, according to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade.

The drop is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which have forced many big partners to postpone orders due to travel restrictions. For example, shipments to the US have fallen 66.7 percent to some 16 million USD, and to China 67.7 percent to over 4.5 million USD.

Besides, overseas trade promotion programmes have also been suspended, making it hard for exporters to seek new buyers.

Em said Ca Mau supplies around 200,000 tonnes of raw shrimp for the market each year. Therefore, if processors do not purchase materials, farmers also don’t know who to sell to.

To have capital for buying and stockpiling materials, businesses hope that Government will soon issue a loan package supporting those affected by COVID-19, he noted.

The Industry and Trade Department predicted even more difficulties in April and the second quarter of 2020, so the outlook for export is gloomy. The authority recommended firms make use of the Chinese and Japanese markets where demand has begun to recover or maintained, and closely monitor the situation in other markets so as to take timely measures to boost export.

The Industry and Trade Department of Ca Mau has coordinated with other departments and sectors to carry out market forecasting and submit policy proposals related to credit, social insurance, electricity and taxation to the provincial People’s Committee to help businesses purchase and process materials and keep products in stock to wait for export chances.

Local authorities said the province plans to raise the shrimp output this year by 8 percent from 2019 to about 210,000 tonnes, including 200,000 tonnes farmed and the rest harvested at sea.

With those solutions, Ca Mau hopes to minimise losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, maintain its markets and help farmers stabilise production activities.

Home to the largest aquaculture area, about 300,000ha, in Vietnam, Ca Mau posts annual aquatic export earning of nearly 1.2 billion USD on average.

According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the local shrimp farming area is still stable, producing roughly 46,800 tonnes in the first three months. Ca Mau has also fished another about 700 tonnes of shrimp so far this year./.