The Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap has approved a pilot programme to develop linkages between buyers and producers of pink tilapia fish.

The project aims to ensure a stable outlet for the fish as well as harmonising profits for all stakeholders involved in the value chain.

It would help farmers avoid a "price drop on a bumper harvest", according to provincial authorities.

Phan Kim Sa, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, said a close linkage between farmers and enterprises would gradually eliminate intermediaries involved in the trading of the fish.

Under the project, farmers will breed the fish following contracts with enterprises. Enterprises will then supply farmers with output materials and build a brand for the fish.

Through the project, the province wants to reorganise production of cooperatives so that they are able to sign contracts with enterprises, he said.

This year, the pilot model will be implemented in Binh Thanh commune in Cao Lanh district, with the participation of 21 farmers under the Binh Thanh Pink Tilapia Production and Consumption Cooperative and Hoang Long Seafood Processing Co Ltd.

This would be vertical linkage chain producing pink tilapia brood stock, mature fish, processing the fish and consumption.

Banks will increase the loan limit at preferential interest rates for cooperatives participating in the programme, while training courses will be organised to provide farmers with advanced farming techniques.

Vo Tuan Kiet, Director of Binh Thanh Pink Tilapia Production and Consumption Cooperative, said cooperative members were pleased that the programme would help them find outlets to sell their fish.

Rice and tra fish are two key products of the agricultural province.

The province for many consecutive years has led the country in output and export revenue of fresh water fish, with revenue from tra fish exports accounting for more than half.-VNA