Crocodile breeders face huge losses amid falling prices

Crocodile farmers in the southern region of Vietnam are suffering from heavy losses in the context of excessive supply but weak demand, resulting in a record low price.

To date, hundreds of thousands of crocodiles in the southern region, including HCM City and Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces, have been unable to be sold.

Nguyen Minh Tuan, the owner of Thuy Loi crocodile farm in Dong Nai Province’s Dinh Quan District, said that a kilo of crocodile is now sold at VND50,000 (US$2.27) compared to VND200,000 (US$9) last year. 

Nguyen Huu Bang, who has 10 years of experience in crocodile breeding in HCM City’s Hoc Mon District, said that his farm now has more than 200 crocodiles which are old enough to be sold, but he is reluctant to sell because of the low price.

“I’ll wait a bit longer and if the situation doesn’t improve, I’ll be forced to sell them at a cheap price to cut my losses. If 100 crocodiles are sold at VND70,000 per kilo, I’ll face a loss of VND40 million,” Bang estimated.

Some years ago, traders rushed to buy crocodiles for sales mainly to China, pushing the prices up, to VND230,000 (US$10.45) a kilo. The number of crocodile farms in the southern region sharply increased. Besides, it is quite simple to rear crocodiles which do not often catch diseases. One person can care for around 400 crocodiles.

To date, Dong Nai Province only is home to 300 crocodile farms with more than 100,000 crocodiles in total. Ca Mau has around 300,000 and HCM City and Bac Lieu has 200,000 each.

According to Nguyen Ngoc Thanh, head of the South Eastern Crocodile Co-operative, HCM City set up Saigon Crocodile Village which ensures to find outlets for breeders at the stable price of VND120,000 per kilo. However, when traders offered much more attractive prices, many farmers broke the contracts signed with the co-operative for the sales to traders.

Thanh suggested the establishment of Vietnam Crocodile Association to protect the domestic crocodile industry from unfair competition by traders. The association should also contribute their opinions to work out measures for the crocodile breeding sector.

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