Vietnamese shrimp farmers abandon ponds
Low shrimp prices and high feed costs are among the factors driving a growing number of Vietnamese shrimp farmers out of the business.
The area dedicated to shrimp ponds dropped to 566,000 hectares this year from 720,000 hectares last year, according to figures recently published by Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
What's more, fewer countries are importing shrimp from Vietnam, slipping from 126 last year to 120 this year, according to MARD. The European Union remains the No. 1 importer of Vietnamese shrimp, followed by Japan, China and the United States.
The outlook for the second half of 2009 isn't all that promising, either. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization maintained that in general seafood prices will continue to fall in the next six months, making Vietnam's seafood export target figure of USD 4.5 billion (EUR 3.2 billion) in 2009 difficult to achieve.
In a recent press briefing, Trung Dinh Hoew, general secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, expressed his concern over shrinking markets, the reduction in shrimp farming and the sharp drop in shrimp prices.