Panga (Pangasius hypophthalmus), also known as “basa” and “river cobbler” in Europe, “catfish” in the US and “dory” in Singapore – is one of over 20 pangasius species. After French scientists successfully developed spawning technology for the fish in the mid-90s, the sector took off on Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. And with low mortalities, a short production cycle and the ability to be stocked at high densities, pangasius soon became one of the world’s most widely produced whitefish.
Vietnam’s pangasius sector is important both in terms of production and from a historical point of view. Vietnam contributes around 90% of the world pangasius production. Long popular with the Vietnamese, it is exported to over 100 nations with principal markets in Europe, the United States and Russia. Demand for the fish is high and expected to go up, while a range of aquaculture production techniques have allowed the number of fish being produced to rise sharply. Over recent years in China, a small pangasius industry is still growing rapidly in parallel with a powerful Chinese aquaculture industry. However, due to a different climate to the Mekong, Chinese aquaculture produces panga with a yellow tint, which is less popular compared to Vietnamese white panga.
Due to the spreading Covid and increasing feed cost, Vietnamese pangasius production has been affected tremendously last year. As early as the end of 2021, Vietnamese industry experts predicted that processing and export companies would deal with shortages of raw materials in 2022. Vietnamese pangasius farm-gate prices spiked in Feb of 2022, putting them at their highest levels by far for the past two years. Also, it was the highest since 2018.
Ocean Treasure experts are constantly monitoring the situation. Our analysis is that the peak season of 2022 is growing by leaps and bounds. There will be a ponderous panga demand during June, mainly in Europe and the U.S to be precise. The well-trimmed middle size of panga size will face an overwhelming shortage so right now is the best time to purchase. For the bigger size panga, Ocean Treasure predicts, there is room to wait-and-see.
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