In May, the purchasing price of tra fish continued to decline in the Mekong Delta region, especially An Giang and Dong Thap provinces, the two largest tra fish producers and exporters in the region, said the ministry.

The tra fish price in the region dropped by VND 1,000 per kilo to VND 23,500 - 24,000 at the end of May and continued falling to VND 20,000 - 21,000 per kilo.

According to MARD's Department of Farm Produce Processing and Development, the low price is due to firms raising their own fish instead of buying from farmers. Processing companies have not signed any more export contracts.

A corner of tra fish processing line at the Multinational Investment and Development Joint Stock Company of Sao Mai Group

Last year, Vietnam recorded a tra fish export value of USD 2.3 billion. With the high export value, farmers gained profits of about VND 10,000 per kilo.

The high profit makes farmers to increase supply, he said, which has hit the purchasing price.

The reduction in the price of tra fish has also impacted the demand and price of fingerlings. For instance, the price for fingerlings of tra fish dropped to VND 20,000 - 25,000 per kilo from VND 70,000 at the beginning of this year.

The ministry also said the tra fish industry has seen a reduction in exports since April after gaining at the start of the year, especially in exports to the US.

However, the industry could expect to see more export opportunities to 10 member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) because local export seafood products will enjoy zero tariffs.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), in 2018, the export value of tra fish to the 10 CPTPP countries reached USD 328.3 million, up 17.3 percent year on year.

Now, Mexico is the fifth largest importer of Vietnamese tra fish, after mainland China, Hong Kong, the EU, the US and ASEAN. The export value of tra and basa catfish to Mexico in the first four months of this year surged 31.5 percent year-on-year to USD 40.8 million. This is also the largest export market of Vietnamese tra fish in Latin America and in the 10 CPTPP countries.

Japan is also a promising market for local tra fish.

The total export value of Vietnamese tra fish to Japan increased by 37.6 percent year on year in 2018 and continued growth at 38.6 percent year on year to USD 8.58 million in the first four months of this year.

Source: VNA