Farmer breeding clams in Mekong delta suffer losses

Clam and oyster have turned out to be main incoming source that helped many households in Mekong Delta to become wealthy.

Nguyen Van Dao, General Director of Joint Stock Company Go Dang - currently the leading clam exporters of Vietnam reviews that, clam and oysters are sea products that have potential markets in Europe, Asia, Americas.

Clam meat is exported with prices ranging from 3.5 - 4USD per kg; the whole clams 1.8 - 2USD per kg ... These are  fairly attractive prices

However, recently, the clam farming is "on the U turn" because clams die off, pushing people into hell, pile on debt

We visited Tan Thanh commune, Go Cong Dong district (Tien Giang province) in the Mekong Delta where famous clam farms are located to find out the causes why clams died in large numbers.

Ngo Phi Truong - an official at Go Cong Dong district’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the mass dying of oysters occurred some years ago but this is the worst case he has seen in the past years.

He added that more than 16,500 tons of clams and oysters died en mass during the past two weeks probably due to water pollution, causing an estimated loss of VND300 billion (US$14.3 million) to farmers in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang.

Disease strikes these days, killing clams in an area of 1,200 – 1,300ha, the loss rate ranges from 40 percent to 80 percent  even in some communes oysters died more than 90 percent

The households who feed clams and oysters in Tan Thanh suffered damages amounting  to hundreds of billions of dongs.

The dead oysters were bred at many farms along the coastlines in Go Cong in the province.

Nguyen Phi Quan , a farmer in Tan Thanh district, said he and a friend jointly invested VND12 billion ($573,000) to breed oysters over a 40-hectare area but now they seem to have lost it all.

“If the oysters hadn’t died, we would have earned a profit of VND8 billion (US$ 382,000) since each kilogram of oysters is sold at VND20,000 (US$0.96),” Pham Hong Van, Vice Chairman of Cu Lao Dung commune in Soc Trang province said.

Vo Van Manh, another farmer in the area, said he is burdened with a debt of VND3 billion ($143,000) because of the oyster deaths.
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Source SGGP, translated by Dan

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