Seafood export: Aiming at US$ 10 billion target (12-03-2019)

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that the export situation from the beginning of the year has been difficult; in which, the export turnover of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in the first 2 months of 2019 reached US$ 5.5 billion, down 1.6% compared to the same period in 2018. In that difficult situation, the export of aquatic products in the first 2 months of the year reached US$ 1.11 billion, up 4.4% over the same period. This is considered a bright spot of the agricultural sector and it is expected that seafood will continue to make an impression in 2019 with the goal of exporting over US$ 10 billion.
Seafood export: Aiming at US$ 10 billion target

Despite of getting growth, it is still worried that seafood export from the beginning of the year so far has increased, but recently, the price of raw tra fish in the Mekong Delta has been continuously declining, making businesses and farmers worried. Many tra fish farming households in the Mekong Delta said that the price of tra fish bought by factories has dropped to 23,500 - 24,000 VND / kg, down 5,000 - 5,500 VND / kg compared to the beginning of 2019. With this price, almost farmers have no interest. There are many reasons why tra fish prices decline as export situation slows down; the production of tra fish is still high, so the factory has not strongly demand currently. Therefore, the functional sector recommends that farmers should be cautious, and should not expand the area, increase the output so far in order to avoid the risk of excess raw materials causing the price to fall.

Along with tra fish, shrimp is the main product of seafood export. Currently, price of black tiger shrimp of 30 shrimp / kg fluctuates around 300,000 VND / kg; shrimp with 100 shrimp / kg is about 80,000 VND / kg. With this price, farmers basically have interest. Mr. Nhu Van Can, Director of the Department of Aquaculture (Directorate of Fisheries), said: “In the past year, the whole country raised more than 736,000 hectares of brackish shrimp, up 3% over the same period; However, shrimp export turnover in 2018 only reached US$ 3.6 billion (down 7.8% over the same period). The shrimp industry of our country has not fully utilized its potential and strength. At the same time, it has not created a competitive advantage compared to competitors in the world such as India, Thailand, Ecuador, Indonesia, etc”. According to Mr. Can, there are still many difficulties for the shrimp industry that need to be quickly solved as shrimp seed plays an important role but the country has not yet fully mastered the technology of selecting, creating and producing seeds. There is no disease-resistant breed for extensive farming. Shrimp production costs are higher than those in the region because shrimp feed accounts for a high proportion in production costs (65% - 70%), but feed depends on foreign corporations or enterprises.

Exporters note that trade competition is increasingly fierce; Vietnam's shrimp export market is always subject to technical barriers such as anti-dumping tax, SIMP (the Seafood Import Monitoring Program) of the United States; or the low price of shrimp imported from India, etc. Many markets such as Japan, Korea, EU, etc. enhance quality control and food safety, causing difficulties for Vietnamese shrimp exports. Although being difficult, Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP) said that in 2019, seafood export will strive to achieve a turnover of US$ 10 billion; in which shrimp and tra fish plays an important role. In order for the shrimp industry to break through to achieve the export target of US$ 4.2 billion in 2019, making a big contribution to seafood export, the functional sector and enterprises need to focus on many solutions such as strengthening export processing. Exports of value-added goods are not subject to anti-dumping duties while well meeting the US seafood import monitoring program to make a difference from other exporting countries. For the European market, there should be two consumption trends: Southern Europe and Eastern Europe where there is no high demand for ASC certified shrimp products; while the remaining areas should choose ASC certified shrimp to achieve the best export value.

Besides, China is a big and potential market for Vietnamese shrimp, so it needs to be repositioned in a more positive direction. Specifically, China is increasingly interested in quality products, food hygiene and safety; therefore, it is necessary to diversify the processing and export methods to increase export turnover in the Chinese market. According to Mr. Hoe, we need to make the most of the advantage of FTAs to make the EU the main import market of Vietnam shrimp with a turnover of US$ 1 billion USD. Besides, the other target is set for the top 5 import markets which are North America, Japan, China, Korea and Australia, focusing on selling shrimp products with turnover of US$ 3 billion. It is considered an export target for shrimp in 2019 to reach the year plan.

For tra fish, although the current price has decreased, but the experts assessing Vietnam tra fish industry is entering a stable development trajectory. Accordingly, technical barriers, trade barriers in some countries have been introduced, but there are no signs of downward consumption. Even measures to impose anti-dumping duties in the US market are only signs that consumer demand is rising. From these facilities, MARD expects in 2019 tra fish exports can reach the target of US$ 2.4 billion (up 12% compared to 2018). Mr. Doan Toi, General Director of Nam Viet Joint Stock Company, said: “Last year, the price of exported tra fish to the US was at a record of 5-6 USD / kg, this is a persevering result of many years. However, that should not be the reason for farmers expanding spontaneously tra fish areas as we should well control demand and supply to keep the price favorable for producers. Tra fish enterprises should be intensified to diversify consumer markets; recover demand at traditional markets as EU while expanding new markets like India. In addition, it should promote the promotion of Vietnamese tra fish images to the world.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said that the tra fish industry is developing well, from farmers to exporters. Tra fish products are increasingly diversified with more than 80 items, including high-value products. For sustainable development, it is necessary to concentrate on investing in the latest technology from farming to processing and exporting. For shrimp, it is necessary to form a closed chain, strengthen the gathering of farmers into cooperatives or cooperative groups; thereby reducing small farming towards a large production model.

Huong Tra (

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