Vitarich Corp., a Philippines livestock company, has announced its commitment to assist entrepreneurs opening pangasius farms in the Philippines. Rogelio Sarmiento, the company's chairman, explained that Vitarich, which markets antibiotic-free pangasius feeds, would offer its skills and expertise to local farmers.

Pangasius is now a multi-billion industry in Vietnam. Vitarich National Marketing Manager Jose de Leon Angeles is optimistic that demand for pangasius will continue to grow.

Philippines' Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources estimated that pangasius farmers could fetch a profit of $3,210 per harvest. This calculation is made on the assumption farmers operate a 2,000-square-meter pond filled with 10,000 fingerlings at the price of 5.8 cents each. Total production costs for a harvest of 8 metric tons is almost $8,000. Selling the harvest at $1.40 per kilogram produces a total revenue of $11,210.

Vietnam is the world's largest pangasius producer with nearly 1 million metric tons valued at $1 billion annually. By 2010, it's expected that Vietnamese pangasius production will exceed $2 billion. Vietnam is followed by China with more than 20,000 metric tons a year. Malaysia and Thailand have also started farming pangasius. The Philippines, in the meantime, imports 14 to 20 containers, each with the capacity of 12 metric tons, of pangasius for its market.

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