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September 17, 2014


Freshwater Prawns in Dong Thap Province


In the Mekong Delta, the annual flood, caused by the rising water levels of the Mekong River, usually begins in August and lasts about five months.  During this period, rice farmers in Dong Thap Province grow freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) in their rice paddies,after harvesting their winter-spring rice crop.


In Tam Nong District, the heart of prawn farming in Dong Thap Province, Nguyen Thanh Cong, at the Phu Binh B Commune, has farmed prawns in 5.5 hectares of ponds for seven years.  He stocks his ponds in June and harvests the prawns about six months later when they reach market size. 


In 2013, the prawn crop produced profits of $3,800 to $4,700 dollars per hectare, with some farmers earning profits of $5,700 to $6,600 dollars per hectare, four to five times more than they earned from their rice crop.


Currently, prawns are marketed locally, and farmers can’t keep up with the demand.


Farmers in Dong Thap Province plan to farm about 1,200 hectares of prawns during this year’s flood season.


A shortage of postlarvae and juveniles forces farmers to import seedstock from Thailand.


Under the Provincial People’s Committee’s Plan, Dong Thap Province hopes to have 4,000 hectares and production of 6,400 metric tons of prawns in 2015, and 6,000 hectares and 9,600 tons by 2020, but the seedstock shortage will have to be resolved before it can reach those production levels.


In 2013, more than 20 provinces and cities in Vietnam farmed prawns on 12,299 hectares.  Of that total, the Mekong Delta accounted for 12,250 hectares, or 99.6 percent of production, according to Vietnam’s Directorate of Fisheries.


Provinces and cities that farm prawns must import up to 50% of their seedstock.  To increase the supply of seedstock, the Dong Thap People’s Committee agreed to allow Ba Tong, a company that produces and trades prawns, to set up a hatchery that hopes to produce 130 million postlarvae a year by the end of 2014.


Source:  Farmers Reap High Profits from Prawn Breeding Scheme.  September 15, 2014.

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