Tra fish prices bounce back after long slump hinh anh 1Tra fish is processed at the Hung Ca Company in the southern Dong Thap Province. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - After keeping costs low for so long, tra fish prices shot up recently, yielding higher profits for farmers.

Processors buy the fish for 22,000 VND - 22,500 VND per kilogramme, an increase of 4,000 VND since early March.

This allows farmers to earn profits of 2,000-3,000 VND per kilogramme.

The Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta has more than 6,000ha of tra fish farms, mainly in the provinces of Dong Thap, Ben Tre, An Giang, Vinh Long, Can Tho and Tien Giang.

With prices below break-even levels, many farmers incurred big losses and stopped raising the fish.

The remaining farms belong mostly to companies and farmers that have contracts with enterprises.

Thus, the increase in prices only benefits a modest number of independent farmers.

Nguyen Ngoc Hai, Director of the Thoi An Seafood Co-operative in Can Tho, said the number of tra fish farmers without contracts account for less than 10 percent.

Contracted farmers may only make small profits, but they are stable and not affected by price volatility.

Dang Van Ngon, a farmer in Thoi An Commune in Can Tho, said he has had a contract with a tra fish processing firm for a few years and has earned steady profits of 1,500-2,000 VND per kilogramme.

While it does not offer high profits, it is a sustainable model based on mutual benefit, he said.

“I signed contracts to breed 300 tonnes of tra fish in our two ponds.”

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Producers and Exporters, tra fish exports in the first two months of 2016 were worth 237.3 million USD, a year-on-year increase of 5.6 percent.

The US and EU were the key markets, accounting for 40.5 percent of the exports, it said.

Anti-dumping duties
The Vietnam Competition Authority said that according to a US Department of Commerce decision, the US’s anti-dumping rate on tra fish fillets imported from Vietnam between August 2013 and July 2014 was 0.41 USD - 2.39 USD per kilogramme.

Accordingly, the two compulsory defendants, Hung Vuong Corporation and Thuan An Production Trading and Service Co, Ltd, will now have to pay duties of 0.41 USD and 0.97 USD per kilogramme, respectively.

The rates are a bit higher than the DOC’s preliminary decision in January of 0.36 USD and 0.84 USD.

The tax imposed on 14 other voluntary defendants was 0.69 USD.

In addition, a national rate of 2.39 USD remains applicable to other companies exporting tra fish fillets to the US.

Both compulsory and voluntary defendants have to pay a deposit on their exports this year at the tax rate stated in the DOC’s final decision.

An exporter said the high anti-dumping tax is causing difficulties for Vietnamese firms in exporting the fish to the US.-VNA