Dong Thap province, already the largest tra fish producer in the Mekong Delta, has further increased the breeding area this year because of the high prices the fish is fetching.
The area has increased by 20 percent to 1,381ha, including 200ha of new ponds.
The price of the fish at the pond has risen by 5,000-6,000 VND per kilogramme since last year to 28,000-30,000VND (1.2- 1.3 USD), fetching farmers large profits.
So far this year nearly 300ha of tra ponds have been harvested, with output being more than 100,000 tonnes, up nearly 5 percent year-on-year, according to the Dong Thap Fisheries Sub-department.
Le Hoang Vu, head of the sub-department, said the province is developing a model of tra farming based on contracts between farmers and processors.
Under the contracts they sign, farmers do not worry about working capital or selling their output because the processors provide them with fish feed and farming techniques.
In more than 60 percent of the breeding areas farmers have adopted quality standards such as global GAP or VietGAP.
Most tra processors in the province either manage to sign deals or have their own breeding areas to secure more than 60 percent of their raw fish supply.
The prices of the fish are expected to remain high because export demand remains high while output has not increased much.
With tra fetching high prices, many farmers in Dong Thap are digging ponds even in unzoned areas to breed the fish.
Tan Hong district and Hong Ngu town have 43ha and 18ha of new ponds in unzoned areas.
Nguyen Van Hoang, a local in Tan Phuoc commune, said the selling of paddy fields for turning them into tra ponds has gathered pace in the last two months.
Nguyen Thanh Tuan, Vice Chairman of the Tan Phuoc commune People’s Committee, said competent agencies have been ordered to work with farmers to stop the digging of tra fish ponds in unzoned areas.
People continuing to dig in unauthorised areas would be reported to the district’s People’s Committee, he warned.