Shrimp farming is a crucial sector in the coastal farming area of the Mekong Delta. However, the sector is currently facing challenges due to the impact of the acute drought, salinity intrusion, and COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this article is to explore the impact of these challenges on the shrimp farming industry in the Mekong Delta.
Slow Stocking Rate
The acute drought and salinity intrusion have resulted in a slow stocking rate for shrimp farming. Farmers in Vĩnh Tân commune, Vĩnh Châu town, Sóc Trăng province are waiting until May when rain comes and the temperature is cooler. The sweltering sunshine has been beating down all over the coastal area since March 2020. The whole large shrimp farming area from the Trần Đề estuary to the side of the intensive shrimp farming areas in Vĩnh Châu district of Sóc Trăng and Bạc Liêu is quite silent regardless of the new crop run-up.
Fear of Risks
The ever-severe salinity intrusion this year has made farmers fearful of risks. One farmer found his shrimp dead after 20 days of stocking because he had rushed to stock. Some white leg shrimp size 200 pcs/kg are sold in the village market after over one month and a half of stocking. They were harvested early when shrimp were found weak. Thus, many households are waiting for rain and salinity reduction to start stocking.
Low Prices and Stagnant Exports
In addition to the harsh weather conditions, local farmers are hesitant to stock shrimp due to low prices. Shrimp size 100 pcs/kg are priced at 76,000 dong/kg by factories. Moreover, factories are purchasing moderately as exports are stagnant.
Impact of Diseases
The Sóc Trăng Fisheries sub-department has warned local farmers that hot weather and high salinity degree can result in damage caused by diseases like white spot, red body, acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Syndrome – AHPNS, and recently the most concerned Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei disease.
The shrimp farming industry in the Mekong Delta is currently facing significant challenges due to the impact of drought, salinity intrusion, and COVID-19. The slow stocking rate, fear of risks, low prices, and stagnant exports are all contributing factors to the industry’s struggle. With the Sóc Trăng main crop starting on January 20 and ending on September 30, the growing ponds are now filled with the same amount of shrimp as last year. Farmers are hopeful that rain and salinity reduction will help improve the situation in the coming months.