Fishery exports cooled down in the first month of the year
After 2018’s great success, the fishery exports in early 2019 recorded a slight decrease. However, for the whole year, the industry still has many favourable conditions to reach the target of US$ 10 billion.
The fishery industry strives for an 11% export growth compared to 2018. Photo: Nguyen Thanh.
Export value sees a slight decrease
According to the latest report from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, fishery exports in the first months of 2019 was estimated at US$ 644 million, down 3.9% over the same period last year. In which: Pangasius export was estimated at US$ 165 million, down 4.4%; shrimp export was estimated at US$ 260 million, down 2.2%. Notably, the price of raw pangasius in the Mekong Delta in the first month of the year showed signs of levelling out at VND 29,000 - 29,500 / kg for pangasius type I. At this time of year, the market is rather quiet due to the low demand for raw material purchasing. Companies began to reduce and stop purchasing of raw materials for delivering orders before the Lunar New Year.
Considering the overall development of the fisheries sector recently, Ms. To Thi Tuong Lan - Deputy Secretary General of Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said: Currently, the average fishery industry’s growth rate of 6% / year is not compatible with the potential of the industry as well as for high market demand.
Mr. Tran Dinh Luan - Deputy Director of the General Department of Fisheries (MARD), also pointed out: In the process of economic integration, free trade agreements (FTAs) have brought many advantages, but the market often sets technical barriers to restrict imported fishery products and protect domestic industry. "In the country, in terms of production organization, especially for pangasius industry, the organization of large-scale production is common. However, for other industries, especially the shrimp industry, small-scale production is still significant. In many new areas, such as for tilapia farming in Vietnam, it has the potential for development, but is still at an early stage. For further development, this industry needs to implement synchronous solutions in the approved restructuring plan,” said Luan.
Pangasius is one of Vietnam’s key export fishery products. Mr. Duong Nghia Quoc, Chairman of the Vietnam Pangasius Association assessed: Currently, the quality of seed stock specimens is not appreciated, and the epidemics are developing complicatedly, which is a big problem. In addition, although China is a large consumer market of Vietnam’s pangasius, China has also started farming, which is also a factor creating significant concern for Vietnam's pangasius export.
The target of US$ 10 billion is completely achievable
In 2019, the fishery industry aims to reach a total output of over 8 million tons (an increase of about 4.2% compared to 2018) and an export turnover of US$ 10 billion, an increase of 11% compared to 2018. This target is not easy while exports have slowed down since the beginning of the year. The question is, whether the fishery industry can gain US$ 10 billion?
According to Ms. To Thi Tuong Lan, if we can overcome the industry’s shortcomings and take advantages of FTAs, such as with the Comprehensive,Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP), and Vietnam’s pending admission to the EU FTA (EVFTA), along with removal of the EU’s "yellow card" for seafood, the export target is completely achievable.
Some experts assessed that to reach the target of US$ 10 billion, the fishery industry must build a appropriate farming development strategy, improve processing technology, and promote exports. In particular, the important point is that the whole industry should focus on resolving the chemical and antibiotic problems in fishery products, and common shrimp diseases. This is to reinforce consumer’s trust in Vietnamese shrimp products, so as to strengthen exports of these products to fastidious markets like Japan, Australia, EU, etc.
Mr. Tran Dinh Luan stated that throughout 2019, the whole industry will promote the implementation of many solutions. Specifically, for the exploitation and protection of resources, the industry will improve the quality of exploitation; reorganize the production at sea according to the model of cooperation and link chain; Apply advanced technology in exploitation, preservation, transportation, and unloading of products to improve value and reduce losses after harvest. Moreover, the industry will carry out regulations on fishing and traceability, for promptly resolving the EU's "yellow card" problem; at the same time harmonizing regulations on fishery control according to international practices.
According to Mr. Luan, the fishery sector will focus on farming key products such as shrimp farming, pangasius farming and marine farming. It will develop hi-tech intensive aquaculture zones: Bio-safety and eco-friendly farming methods; promote the development of hi-technology fishery processing to ensure food safety and hygiene; meet the requirements of the markets of EU, Japan, USA, Australia ... as well as the home market; strictly control shrimp disease epidemics, and give timely warnings to limit risks. "Strictly controlling the quality of imported parent white-leg shrimp, preventing the infection of impurities and antibiotic residues in farmed fishery products; supporting localities to build safe farming areas to meet the fastidious requirements of export markets, is also an important solution to be promoted in the coming time," said Luan.
In 2019, the entire fishery industry aims to stabilize the pangasius farming area with about 5,400 hectares; the prawn shrimp farming area with 620,000 hectares for an output of 330,000 tons; promote the advantages of whiteleg shrimp farming, for increasing output and export value. The area of whiteleg shrimp farming is about 105,000 hectares, with an output of 530,000 tons, creating a driving force for fulfilling the target of the shrimp industry development plan of US$ 4.5 billion by 2020.
In January 2019, the fishery farming output in the Mekong Delta provinces was estimated at 83.500 tons, a year on year increase of 9.4%. Some provinces achieved a remarkable output: An Giang gained 29,000 tons, an increase of 19%; Ben Tre gained 15,000 tons, up 25%. Regarding shrimp output, the country’s total was estimated at 38,400 tons, up 5.2% over the same period last year. In particular, prawn shrimp was estimated at 15.900 tons, and whiteleg shrimp estimated at 22.500 tons. Particularly for the Mekong Delta, prawn shrimp output was estimated at 14.300 tons, up 1.3%, and whiteleg shrimp was estimated at 21.400 tons, up 25.2%.
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