Crayfish are no longer "red" this summer?

  China News Weekly reporter/Zhao Yiwei

  Issued in the 952th issue of "China News Weekly"

  Entering the midsummer, the year-round season of celebrity crayfish market continues unabated, but the price has ushered in a "big diving". "Last 100 yuan tasted fresh last year, and 100 yuan this year will be enough." Many crayfish lovers said that the price of crayfish this year is close to the people, almost half of last year. Especially during May 1st, in the main crayfish production areas such as Jingzhou and Qianjiang in Hubei, street vendors selling crayfish even shouted that crayfish with a weight of 2 to 4 yuan were as low as 4 yuan per catty.

  Crayfish prices have generally declined nationwide this year. The monitoring data of China Aquaculture Network shows that since May, the market price of crayfish in the country has declined to varying degrees. In Hubei, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Chengdu, Changsha and other aquatic markets, the price of crayfish with a weight of 2 to 4 yuan once fell to 6 ~7 yuan per catty, compared with the market price of 15-18 yuan per catty in the same period last year, the market price has been cut.

  However, in sharp contrast to the low-priced crayfish, the market price of large-sized crayfish with a price of more than 9 yuan has risen all the way, even as high as 42 yuan per catty. Crayfish are divided into 2 to 4 money, 4 to 6 money, 6 to 8 money, or more than 9 money according to weight. The price difference formed by the weight continues to widen, and the price is almost doubled for each big shrimp. Times the trend.

  Chen Jumao, a farmer who has been engaged in shrimp farming in Qianjiang for 11 years, admitted to China News Weekly, "This year’s crayfish prices are polarized and have a huge impact on farmers. Except for individual prawn farmers, most of the small Lobster farmers are almost lost."

  After the price of shrimp plummeted, the fever of crayfish farming, which has been rising year after year, began to subside. Coupled with the profound impact of the epidemic on export processing and the catering industry, the crayfish industry, which once re-exported and strengthened the line, is ushering in a round of in-depth adjustment of the entire industry chain.

  "This year's crayfish industry has entered an in-depth adjustment period, and the industry hype has cooled significantly." Cai Jun, Secretary General of the Crayfish Industry Branch of the China Aquatic Products Circulation and Processing Association, told China News Weekly, "The structure of the crayfish market has already appeared. Unbalance, some speculators and followers began to withdraw or restructure, and in the future, high-quality, large-scale shrimp products will become a consensus in the chain of breeding, processing, catering and other industrial chains."

Abandoned breeding tide

  In early May, the rice transplanting period has not yet entered, but many farmers in Qianjiang City's shrimp and rice breeding farms came to the field early and started to be busy planting rice, which was more than 20 days ahead of previous years.

  "It's a loss to sell shrimp this year, it's better to let it go early and prepare the rice to live." Chen Jumao said, during the "May Day", the price of pond mouth of 2 to 4 yuan crayfish even sold 0.5 to 3 yuan / kg, even the cost of breeding Nothing can be covered, which seriously dampens the enthusiasm of shrimp farmers. Many people simply abandon and raise shrimps to grow rice. "Shrimp sales also require artificial fishing and transportation costs, which is equivalent to subsidizing money."

  "Shrimp and rice co-cultivation" is a common model of crayfish farming in Qianjiang City, that is, two seasons of crayfish are cultivated in the rice field and one season of middle rice is grown. During the rice planting period, crayfish and rice grow together in the rice field.

  According to the practice of previous years, the first batch of adult shrimps are generally harvested from mid-April to late May, leaving young shrimps to be reared in shrimp ditches. When planting rice in early June, juvenile shrimp return to the field from the shrimp ditch to continue to grow, and depending on the number of shrimp seedlings in the field and market conditions, they can be supplemented with shrimp seedlings from late June to early July, and the second batch of shrimps will be harvested in August and September. .

  "Putting shrimps to grow rice early this year means that the farmers have ended the shrimp farming season ahead of time." Chen Jumao admitted, "This is a stop-loss method for the vast majority of crayfish farmers. The production of shrimps is seriously surplus and there are almost no people in Tangkou. Asked, the price has fallen below historical lows."

  The small shrimp pond on this side was deserted, and the large shrimp pond on the other side was looted.

  In Jinjiang Village of Qianjiang, Chen Jumao has 1830 acres of prawn-intensive ponds, which entered the golden fishing period from the middle of May. The largest "shrimp head" weighs more than 9 yuan, and the smallest shrimp also weighs 4 to 6 yuan. . Since the beginning of salvage, daily shipments have been sold out, and there is no worry about sales.

  Severe supply structure imbalances have further exacerbated the price differentials of crayfish at all levels. Chen Jumao said, "Now selling small shrimps is equivalent to subsidizing money, and because the shrimp stocks that were initially released are too dense, the shrimps are now set and there is no way to grow up. The shrimp farmers can only give up."

  After the market price plummeted, crayfish farmers who hurriedly entered the market in the past two years have abandoned their breeding, and the shrimp market that has been the most hyped has also completely collapsed.

  According to the "Crayfish Industry Development Report (2018)" released by the Fisheries and Fisheries Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, in 2018, the country's total output value of crayfish reached 369 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 37.5%. Among them, the national total output surged to 1.6387 million tons, an increase of 45.1%, the highest in the past years.

  "2018 is the year with the fastest development of the crayfish industry, and also the period of the most hype." Cai Jun told China News Weekly that the people who were rushing into the bureau and rushed to buy crayfish seedlings in the year, a large number of seedlings broke out. For a time, the price of shrimp fry increased from a dozen yuan per catty all the way up to 40 yuan per catty. "There are even farmers who have directly transformed to sell shrimp seedlings because of high profits."

  The bubble in the shrimp market disappeared quickly. After accumulating in 2018 and 2019, the crayfish farming side tends to be saturated, and the newly-entered shrimp farmers have generally possessed a sufficient amount of shrimp fry. After entering the crayfish cultivation track in 2020, the market price of shrimp fry encountered Waterloo.

E-commerce emergency

  According to the practice in the crayfish industry, usually 1 to 4 dollars of crayfish is the main force in the market, accounting for about 60%. It will also be sold to processing plants to make frozen shrimp products such as frozen shrimp tails, shrimp balls, and shrimp slips. Fresh retail; 4 to 6 yuan of shrimp accounted for about 20%, generally used for quick-food seasoning shrimp, mainly for e-commerce channels; while 6 to 8 yuan and more than 9 yuan of crayfish accounted for only about 10%, generally direct supply The quality of live shrimp for catering is high.

  Since April this year, crayfish have been launched in batches, and a large number of small-sized crayfish have continuously poured into the market, resulting in continued low prices. In order to reduce losses, many small-sized lobster farmers try to purchase large quantities of processing plants in order to clear their stocks as soon as possible.

  "The serious oversupply of small shrimps has led to the purchase price of processing shrimps from 5 to 8 yuan to a few cents, which is terrible." Chen Jumao told China News Weekly that small shrimps under 4 yuan are generally called shrimps. After being acquired by the processing plant cold storage, it is processed into various frozen shrimp products and then flows into the retail channel.

  Fortunately, the e-commerce and live broadcasts that continued to be hot during the epidemic have digested a large amount of surplus small crayfish. The online sales of frozen shrimp tails, shrimp balls, shrimp slips and seasoned shrimp products have greatly increased, especially the spicy and thirteen-flavored fast-food seasoned shrimp products. After consumers buy it, they can eat it after heating it up. It is convenient and fast and the price is far lower than dine-in food. It has become the "must-have-to-be" for almost all network-broadcasting anchors. It has been at the forefront of the list of frozen fast food for all kinds of fresh e-commerce for three consecutive months.

  "Our factory was originally exporting frozen shrimp products, and this year we began to transform to do domestic sales of seasoned shrimps. As a result, the sales volume was very good." Gan Shidong, general manager of Chaohu Daxin Food Co., Ltd., told China News Weekly that seasoned shrimp products mainly use electricity Commercial channels, the price of shrimp products of the same weight will be more than 30% cheaper than that of dine-in, and the price of small lobsters this year will be lower, and the cost of products will also be reduced.

  The finished crayfish, including quick-food seasoned shrimp, performed particularly well online. According to monitoring data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Hubei sold 47,500 tons of finished shrimp during the May Day period alone, up 25.79% from the end of April.

  "Sales in the domestic market have increased substantially year-on-year, and particularly low-priced shrimp tails and seasoned shrimp products have been on sale." Gan Shidong told China News Weekly, "Affected by the epidemic, many processing plants that originally exported shrimp products have been transformed into domestic ones. With shrimp tails, seasoned shrimp products, and low-cost purchase prices, most processing plants that originally lost money made money this year."

  "This year's processing plant is a blessing due to misfortune, small-scale farmers are difficult to ship, and the right to speak is at the processing plant side." Cai Jun analyzed to "China News Weekly" that the crayfish industry has ushered in new development opportunities this year, mainly reflected in Frozen shrimp has been recognized by consumers, and seasoned shrimp has ushered in a wave of rapid development, especially seasoned shrimp products that mainly go to e-commerce channels. Under the epidemic situation this year, driven by the live broadcast mode, it has stimulated great consumer enthusiasm. "The subsequent processing of seasoned shrimp is simple and suitable for household consumption. It is a good development opportunity when the terminal consumption of restaurants has not been fully restored."

  Cai Jun said that in the crayfish industry in previous years, traditional restaurants accounted for 80% of sales, and retail only accounted for 20%. This year, 80% of crayfish are sold online, and only 20% are sold offline.

  "Although the sales of processed shrimp products are hot this year, the domestic processing plants are still in their infancy, and the production capacity is not enough to take over the entire supply of crayfish this year." Cai Jun pointed out that in addition to the seasonal characteristics of crayfish, many processing plants Raising the purchase standard has lowered the purchase price on the one hand. "This undoubtedly severely hits the enthusiasm of farmers and is also the reason for further urging the vast majority of farmers to abandon their farming."

 Through the adjustment period

  From June to June, spurred by low-priced crayfish in the early period, the consumer market is gradually heating up. On the farming side, after abandoning large-scale breeding tide, unable to cope with the next peak consumption.

  According to previous years' experience, the sales season of crayfish is in June, July and August. Due to over-cultivation this year, crayfish generally mature early, and sales are relatively early. With the official entry into the summer, crawfish dining, dining and online consumption have also started to rise, and the market supply and demand situation is changing.

  "The crayfish market will soon be severely out of stock, and the market is likely to show a strong rebound after bottoming out." Chen Jumao said, "The crayfish consumption peak period has not yet entered, and the large number of abandonment on the farming side has made small The supply of lobsters will shrink in the later period, and there will be a serious shortage in the consumer market in the later period. Now that the market price of crayfish has recovered, a new round of price increases can be foreseen."

  "In the early stage, the price of small-sized crayfish plummeted, and the supply was excessive. The processing plants did not dare to stock up. I didn't expect the purchase price to rise again now." Gan Shidong said helplessly. "After the purchase price rises, the cost of the processing plant and the production price are natural. Will follow up."

  Changes in the farming side not only reduced the supply of small-sized crayfish in the later period, but also led to tight shipments of large-sized lobsters. "Even when the catering industry has not fully recovered, large and medium-sized crayfish have also shown a good market. If the catering industry is fully recovered, large and medium-sized crayfish are likely to become stronger." Cai Jun said.

  In fact, the reduction in the production of large-sized lobsters has forced many crawfish catering companies, mainly dine-in restaurants, to have to bid at higher prices. At the lobster breeding base in Qianjiang City, any tangkou where prawns are produced is sold out before waiting to go ashore.

  With a large number of farmers abandoning breeding, the situation of insufficient supply in the market later this year and next year is also brewing.

  "This year's crayfish abandonment rate is very high, and many people withdraw from farming. After the supply cuts, it will cause a new round of price increases next year." Cai Jun, Secretary-General of the Crayfish Industry Branch of the China Aquatic Products Circulation and Processing Association, told China "Newsweek" analysis said, "From the current situation, the price of shrimp seedlings is low, and the number of farmers has dropped sharply, but this year is the most suitable year for entering the farm."

  Cai Jun believes that from the perspective of the end consumer market, consumers want to eat shrimp with large specifications and good quality. The crayfish industry is bound to design products based on consumer demand. Therefore, in the future, crayfish farmers want to make money, we must improve the specifications and quality. "Change from large-scale shrimp farming to large shrimp farming."

  In fact, according to the cost of shrimp farming, although the cost of intensive prawns is higher, the market price is much higher than that of ordinary shrimps. The net profit per pound of shrimp is higher and the benefits are better.

  "If a mu of tangkou shrimp wants to sell for 8,000 yuan, according to the current market price, it only needs to raise 200 pounds for prawns, 600 pounds for medium-sized shrimps, and 1300 pounds for small shrimps. This is unrealistic. "Chen Jumao gave an example and said, "The farmer's eyes should be taken longer-term. Intensive prawns conform to the market consumption trend, and the input cost per pound of shrimp is lower and the gross profit is higher."

  In Chen Jumao's view, the crayfish restaurant is competing to attract consumers with high-quality prawns, and the competition on the restaurant side is the competition on the farming side. "After 5-10 years, the crayfish market must be a battle of quality, not a battle of quantity."

  "It is expected that the crayfish industry will gradually become rational and stable after going through this year's adjustment period." Cai Jun said, "When the breeding end begins to pursue quality, the competition in the processing plant and the catering end will also turn to the quality battle, and the future improvement There is still a lot of room and market potential."

  China News Weekly No. 22, 2020

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