EWOS enter VN aquafeed with a venture with Anova

Ew os, the feed division of Oslo-listed Cermaq, has signed a joint venture agreement with a Vietnamese pangasius feed producer.

The news will see Ewos set up and own 51 percent of a local joint venture for an initial sum of $6 million (€4.5 million).

The remaining stake will be owned by Vietnamese producer Anova Corporation, which produces feed for the pangasius industry at a factory in Long Anh.

Under the agreement, Anova will transfer its plant, which has an annual capacity of 85,000 metric tons, to the new joint venture company.

“Ewos Vietnam has considerable ambitions for the Vietnamese market and the goal is to utilize the full capacity of the plant within the first operating year,” the group said in a statement.

The company said it had hired “pangasius expert Mr. Serene” for the initial phase of market building.  With Asia accounting for more than 90 percent of the world’s total aquaculture production, large feed companies have been looking to expand in the region. In July, Skretting acquired Vietnam’s fourth largest feed producer Tomboy Aquafeed while in October, Ewos said it was looking to expand in Vietnam.

Within the aquaculture sector, low-value whitefish such as pangasius acccount for the biggest volumes, with production in Asia topping 8.7 million metric tons in 2008 — compared to 4 million for shrimp, 2.8 million for salmonoids and 3.1 million for high-value whitefish. It also has the strongest growth rate, growing by 10 percent a year, far above the other sectors’ growth rates of 3 to 5 percent.

Vietnam itself produces an estimated 1.8 million metric tons of pangasius a year, according to Ewos. Most of this is exported as fillets, reaching around 600,000 – 700,000 metric tons a year.

“Vietnam is the fish feed market for the future. We are well prepared, and look forward to employ our competence also outside the scope of salmonids,” Ewos Chief Operating Officer Kjell Bjordal said in a statement.

Using its experience, Ewos aims to make the production of feed in Vietnam “more cost efficient” than it currently is, the group said.

“We believe that the farming of pangasisus can be strengthened through optimizing the feed, focusing on feed technology, nutrient requirements, and fish health,” Bjordal said.

Vietnam, WWF sign deal to promote tra fish

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Fisheries General Department and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on December 17 reached an agreement to promote Vietnam’s tra (pangasius) fish so that it can attain global sustainable development standards.

 

At the meeting, the two sides signed a long-term cooperation memorandum of understating (MOU) to help the fish earn the Aquatic Stewardship Council (ASC) certified credit label, which will bring benefit and market access for the product.

The signing came two days after Mark Powell, global seafood coordinator for WWF, agreed to remove the fish from the Red List in its consumer guidance manual.

Under the MOU, the WWF will take responsibility for promoting ASC certified Vietnamese tra fish globally in order to help fish breeders earn a premium value for their product.

Accordingly, preparations for the work are planned to be completed in the first half of 2011, including the organization of seminars and training courses for fish farmers and the processors.

It is hoped that this will create a consensus among them in complying with ASC standards.

According to Nguyen Huu Dung, vice chairperson of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the Fisheries General Department and WWF set a goal of attaining relevant international sustainable development standards of 25 percent for Vietnam’s export tra fish volume for the year 2011 and 2012, with 10 percent to be certified by ASC.

The target is set to increase to 75 percent, with 30 percent certified by the ASC by 2014.

From 2015, it is hoped that 100 percent of export tra fish will achieve international standards on sustainable development, with half of them certified by the ASC.

Mr. Dung said Vietnam has exported 650,000 tons of tra fish a year and the volume will increase to about 800,000 tons in the next five years, meaning that the country will have 400,000 tons of tra fish attaining ASC standards.

He said WWF promised that prices of the Vietnamese tra fish will be much higher, if the fish is certified by ASC.

Though WWF said it will take responsibility for seeking financial sources to support Vietnam in the process of attaining ASC certification, it did not mention if Vietnamese farmers need to pay for the ASC certificate.

At the signing ceremony, the Fisheries General Department reported that WWF officially removed Vietnamese tra fish from its ‘Red List on December 17, and advised consumers worldwide to continue buying the fish.

 


 

Does WWF mean to sell certificate to pangasius farmers?

The World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) and Vietnam’s Fisheries General Department have failed to reach an agreement on sustainable development of aquaculture in general and tra fish (pangasius) in particular since WWF required that all Vietnam’s tra farmers obtain its ACS certificate.

 

Addressing a meeting on December 16, Mark Powell, global seafood co-ordinator for WWF, said for the fish to meet sustainable development requirements, Vietnamese breeders must have the ACS certificate.

Like other Vietnamese enterprises that have spent money on having other certificates for their products, tra fish breeders also have to spend money on obtaining the ACS certificate.

WWF’s requirement has raised doubts about the purpose of WWF’s placing Vietnam trafish on the red list in its consumer guidance manual.

It is claimed that Mr. Powell’s visit to Vietnam is to force breeders to buy the ACS certificate if they want to export the fish to Europe.

WWF has yet to state the cost of the certificate, but according to Nguyen Tu Cuong, a member of the Vietnam Fisheries Association, local enterprises have spent US$7,500 on every five hectares of farmland, so that they are able to apply for the Global GAP certificate.

Mr. Powell said other standards are currently very useful, but according to WWF, standards like Global GAP are merely temporary.

WWF said it wants all farms in Vietnam to have the ASC certificate by 2020.

Mr. Cuong told journalists, after the meeting, that tra breeders and many enterprises are struggling to obtain many various certificates, with the origins of many of these certificates are unknown, for instance, SGS, SQF 1000, SQF 2000, GAA and EroRep GAP.

He said these certificates do not have any legal value to global consumers, and they are in fact only guidance manuals on products issued by certain organizations.

Fish breeders have annually spent hundreds of millions of dong trying to satisfy and comply with production standards, Mr. Cuong said.

They have to pay US$7,500 per year for every five hectares of fish farming areas, which need to be certified as meeting Global GAP standards, he added.

According to Mr. Cuong, ASC standards were just established on October 30.

Earlier, WWF had placed Vietnam’s tra fish on the red list in its consumer guidance manual for 2010-11 and then announced that they would remove the fish from the list.

This announcement was made at a press conference in Hanoi on December 15, after its representatives met with the Fisheries General Department.


 

WWF removes Pangasius from red list !! a compilation of articles

WWF, the environmental campaign group, has dropped its call for consumers to avoid Vietnamese catfish – a key export product – following intense lobbying from the Vietnamese government and seafood industry.

Last week, the government hit out at WWF, saying its claim that Vietnam’s rapidly growing catfish industry was damaging the environment and endangering food safety was “not objective, scientifically baseless and incorrect”.

Catfish, also known as pangasius, is a key export industry for Vietnam, with producers expected to sell 600,000 tons of the fish overseas this year, generating $1.5bn.

The government said the call not to buy catfish would “seriously hurt the livelihood of Vietnamese aquaculture farmers as well as European consumers,” who buy more than one-third of Vietnam’s catfish exports.

After meeting with government officials and representatives from the seafood industry in Hanoi on Wednesday, WWF made an abrupt U-turn, abandoning its advice not to buy the fish, which it has made in seafood buying guides produced in Europe, and encouraging consumers to support the industry.

Mark Powell, global seafood co-ordinator for WWF, said the organisation stood by its scientific assessment of the industry’s problems – that it lacked adequate regulation, damaged natural habitats and was at risk of disease outbreaks.

However, he said WWF had changed its view on the best way to promote sustainable catfish production in Vietnam and now wanted to work with farmers and consumers to ensure that the industry can meet global standards in future.

“WWF will recommend that seafood buyers continue to buy pangasius as a way to support the movement towards certification,” he said.

Nguyen Huu Dung, vice-president of the Vietnam association of seafood exporters and producers, said the producers and WWF would “collaborate closely to develop the catfish breeding industry in Vietnam, aiming to reach the goal of sustainable development”.

International non-governmental organisations and local civil society groups are tightly controlled and monitored by Vietnam’s communist government.

Last year, one of Vietnam’s few independent think-tanks, the Institute for Development Studies, decided to close because of new government restrictions on civil society groups, which were criticised by some Vietnamese academics and EU diplomats.

Over the past week, there has been a flurry of front-page stories in state newspapers attacking WWF and calling on the organisation to apologise for the damage it has done to the Vietnamese economy. Local WWF staff said that it had been a “sensitive” time for their organisation.

However, Mr Powell dismissed the suggestion that WWF’s sudden change of policy had been driven by political pressure.

“I don’t think that’s what happened,” he said. “What happened is we discussed the future and how WWF can give advice to seafood buyers that is most successful in promoting a future of certified, sustainable production.”

Source: http://www.ft.com

Article posted by Tuoi Tre News on the same topic

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has agreed to remove Vietnamese Pangasius from the red list in its 2010-2011 guidance manual for consumers in six European markets, following a meeting in Hanoi Wednesday.

WWF will recommend consumers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway, and Demark to continue buying Vietnamese tra fish products, WWF global seafood coordinator Mark Powell told the media after the meeting among WWF, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the Vietnam Fisheries Association and the General Directorate of Fisheries.

“We agree with Vietnam that the country’s catfish industry has a bright future”.

The past incident, as Powell said, is just “disagreement within family”, and it will not affect the cooperation between Vietnam and WWF.

The WWF delegation will meet with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Thursday to discuss future cooperation with Vietnam in fisheries, but they would not carry out a field study in Can Tho – the country’s major catfish farming hub.

But we will return to Vietnam as soon as possible for a clearer study about Vietnam tra fish farming and processing, Powell added.

VASEP deputy chairman Nguyen Huu Dung appreciated WWF’s timely and accurate response and cooperative attitude. Meanwhile, Pham Anh Tuan, deputy head of the General Directorate of Fisheries, said they already had a frank talk together

Article posted by VietNamNet on the same topic

Mark Powell, head of the WWF International Global Seafood Programme, has admitted WWF made mistake at a meeting held today with the General Department of Fisheries, Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters & Producers (VASEP). He also pledged to immediately remove the fish from the red list and encourage European consumers to continue buying the fish.

Opening the meeting, vice chairman of VASEP, Nguyen Huu Dung, continued to stress that WWF’s putting Vietnam’s tra fish on the consumer’s red list warning people in six European countries was not a proper assessment.

Dung pointed out the results provided recently by WWF were not transparent and appropriate.

Replying to Dung’s statement, the WFF representative officially admitted responsibility, saying that it was his fault for announcing the inaccurate information. He noted, however, that it may take some time to remove the fish from the list.

Deputy head of the General Department of Fisheries, Pham Anh Tuan, immediately challenged Mark Powell’s statement, saying that WWF’s mistake has greatly affected the lives of Vietnamese fishermen and led to indignation among local people. “In any case, the WWF must remove tra fish from the list immediately,” he stressed.

Faced with strong evidence and convincing arguments from Vietnam, WWF’s Mark Powell agreed to switch the fish to the list titled “On the way to sustainable development”. He also promised to help Vietnam get the fish onto the list of “Sustainable development”.

Agreeing with Mark Powell’s idea, Dung said that putting tra fish to the “sustainable development” list is also the aim of Vietnam and the country is now trying for that. Dung added that Vietnam and WWF can cooperate in building a trademark for Vietnamese tra fish to guarantee its sustainable development.

After the meeting, Pham Anh Tuan invited Mark Powell and other WWF representatives to visit some tra breeding farms.

As scheduled, WWF representatives will meet with Vietnam representatives again on December 16 to seek an agreement in making tra fish a product of sustainable development on the world market.

WWF again asked to remove Pangasius red listing

The Viet Nam Fishing Association has again asked the World Wild Fund for Nature to quickly remove all printed and on-line information showing the red-listing of tra fish.

The association has also written to the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry suggesting the Viet Nam Government and the ministry lobby WWF members in six European countries to correct misinformation about the fish.

Videotapes should be used to show the sustainable production of tra fish, shrimp and tilapia in Viet Nam, it says.

The association believes its proposed action would minimise the damage the WWF has caused the industry and prevent it happening again.

Association chairman Nguyen Viet Thang said the 19 questions the WWF had used to assess Viet Nam’s tra industry were inappropriate.

Not enough

Its comparison with the code of conduct, CoC, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s 1995 quality standards had focused only on limited aspects of those standards.

“Considerations of these aspects to decide if Viet Nam’s tra fishing industry is environmentally friendly is not enough,” he said.

The fund could not set the criteria itself and in opposition to FAO’s CoC quality standards.

The fund was also not allowed to impose and then proclaim its criteria on other countries regardless of national and international regulations and the consequences.

Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers Chairman Nguyen Huu Dung said: “Viet Nam’s Tra fish is increasingly cleaner and has met international standards.”

The WWF’s assessment was outdated and Viet Nam had the scientific evidence to prove it.

Viet Nam had 20 companies working 40 tra fish breeding farms certified as Global GAP – highest standard for sustainable aqua culture.

Meeting

The WWF is expected to explain the technical measures and process that led to its placing of Viet Nam’s tra fish on the Red List at a meeting with Fisheries Directorate officials today.

The directorate will provide scientific evidence about the raising of tra fish.

Directorate deputy director Pham Anh Tuan has told Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper that Viet Nam could sue the WWF if it refused to correct its decision. – VNS

 

Pangasius farm meet hygiene standards

Leading exporters and breeders of the tra fish (pangasius) in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta are taking extreme care to conform to globally accepted health and hygiene standards, a Viet Nam News investigation has found.

 

Visits to several ponds and factories in Dong Thap and An Giang – two delta provinces that have the largest and most intensive tra fish farming areas – showed that farmers were complying strictly with the Global GAP or SQF 1000 standards.

The Global GAP (Good Agriculture Practices) standard requires seafood products to be produced in a manner that reduces detrimental environmental impacts including the use of chemicals. It also ensures a responsible approach to worker health, safety and welfare.

The SQF 1000 (Safe Quality Food) standard, meanwhile, requires clean ponds, the fish fry to be free of antibiotics, and the fish feed to be hygienic and free of banned antibiotics. It also requires that the fish has been cared for with strict disease protection measures and that details of all farming processes are recorded and maintained.

In Dong Thap Province, nine out of 11 companies that have the capacity to produce seafood for export have either filed applications to acquire the Global GAP certification or have been awarded the certification by Bureau Veritas.

Four of them received the Global GAP certification for their production process products this year, and the remaining five will complete filing their applications early in 2011.

“If the companies are in the process of filing their applications, it means that they have already started raising fish in compliance with the standard,” said Trinh Thi Be Ba, deputy head of the Aquaculture Division under the Dong Thap Department of Fisheries.

The nine companies have their own farming areas, and the total area devoted to raising under Global GAP standards is 308.4 hectares.

Besides, these companies also have co-operated with local farmers by providing them with quality fry, better breeding techniques and harvesting practices, according to Ba.

Breeding tra fish according to Global GAP standards has helped the province’s seafood sector produce export products that fetch prices that are 10 to 20 per cent higher, according to Le Hoang Vu, acting director of the Dong Thap Department of Fisheries.

An Giang Province has its own model – the An Giang Pure Pangasius Union (APPU) – to produce tra fish under the SQF 1000 or Global GAP standards. The model has many groups of farmers in the same geographical territory breed the fish for 17 exporters in the province.

Tran Anh Dung, director of the An Giang Department of Fisheries, said four leading export companies have been most successful with this model. They have 155ha of fish farms with an annual capacity of 130,000 tonnes a year, accounting for nearly 50 per cent of total production in the province.

Clean, hygienic

The Vinh Hoan Corporation and Hoang Long Seafood Company, two pioneers in breeding tra fish under Global GAP standards in Dong Thap Province, manage their farms very strictly.

During an unannounced visit by Viet Nam News to one of Vinh Hoan Corporation’s My Xuong farms, the farm managers stopped us at the gate for a five-minute check to ensure we were not carrying any substances that can be harmful to their fish like chemicals or paints.

They also requested a declaration from the guests about their health condition and history over the previous two days on the off chance that the farm could get infected with harmful bacteria from other places.

My Xuong, the 20ha farm on an islet on the Tien River (one of two major branches of the Mekong River) has 13 ponds to breed fish and two wastewater treatment ponds. The location of the ponds in the direction of the river flow facilitates hygienic maintenance.

The farm starts with a large pond followed by two parallel columns of six smaller ponds, and ends with two large horizontally placed ponds that collect wastewater from the 13 breeding ponds for a double-treatment arrangement.

An underground canal runs along the banks along the two columns of parallel ponds, drawing wastewater into the first of the horizontal pond for initial treatment. After this the wastewater goes through further treatment in the second pond before being released into the river.

The farm has six canteens and seven toilets around the farm to serve 42 staff and workers, ensuring no waste gets dumped into the fish ponds. “All solid waste items that we get from farming process is collected and transferred to a professional company contracted to treat waste,” said Ngo Van Quy, the farm’s manager.

At each crossroad of the banks linking the ponds, there were four rubbish bins placed to collect daily waste. “We have also placed bins in the canteens as well as the feed warehouses,” said Ngo Chi Cuong, the farm’s technical supervisor.

“We destroy every potential waste product that can harm the fish’s environment, even removing banana plants from the banks and planting papayas farther from the water’s edge that workers can benefit from.”

At the 48ha farm of Hoang Long Seafood Company in the province’s Tam Nong District, the company has allotted 20 per cent of the area for wastewater treatment. The farm has 30 breeding ponds located in a square format and a U-shape treatment canal covering the raising ponds. It also has a reserve canal for storing fresh water to feed the ponds through a system of pumps and concrete canals.

In An Giang, Vi?t Nam News also visited Nguy?n Minh Nh?’s 200ha farm with its man-made canal running along two columns of breeding ponds to draw wastewater for treatment. Nhi, former chairman of the province People’s Committee, is highly regarded by residents as a pioneer in setting up tra fish nurseries for breeding fry, instead of using wild fry from Cambodia, as was previously done.

Water, fish feed

The My Xuong farm in Dong Thap takes water for the ponds directly from the Tien River through tiny dams. The farm is entirely based on the river islet and it has tiny dams to take water from either sides.

“We take water when water levels on the river are high because of tidal pressure. Then we get the best quality of water for tra fish that doesn’t require any treatment,” said Cuong, the farm’s technician.

Be Ba of the Department of Fisheries confirmed this. “We have tested and found the water is good to raise fish without any treatment.”

Nhi’s farm in An Giang Province adopts a similar method, because it is also built on another islet on the Tien River.

According to the fisheries departments of both provinces, the islets were always unused, with no agricultural cultivation done on them.

In contrast, the farm belonging to the Hoang Long Seafood Company is built on a plot on the banks of a tributary to the Tien River. Here they treat water in the reserve canal with calcium carbonate and by planting water orchids (Eichhornia crassipes Solms).

None of the farms use wild fish or agricultural waste to feed the tra fish, according to the fisheries departments. In fact, many big companies in tra fish farming in Dong Thap and An Giang have their own feed production factories.

“Feed produced by the company meets all requirements set by the former Ministry of Fisheries; and the companies have the capacity to supply feed for other kinds of fish as well,” said Be Ba.

“Feeding the tra fish with wild fish was the method used in farms that raised tra fish in bamboo cages floating on the Tien River,” said Nhi who spared no effort to promote tra fish farming as the People’s Committee Chairman from 1991 to 2004. “But breeding fish in cages has reduced over the years because it yields low quality fish,” he said.

As in Dong Thap, the An Giang People’s Committee had also zoned areas for tra fish breeding farms, which led to a reduction in cage farming, Nhi added.

Treating sick fish

In case any of the ponds had fish with any disease, it would not be harvested, said Quy, manager of the My Xuong farm.

But for prevention purposes, antibiotics that are permitted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would be used, Be Ba said. She said that each one of 11 districts in the province had aquaculture extension centres whose experts could act quickly to help farmers with any problem.

Planting water orchids is an effective wastewater treatment method, experts have found. “In case there are suspended substances in the water, calcium carbonate will be used,” said Trinh Thi Lan, a lecturer in environmental management for aquaculture at An Giang University. The calcium carbonate drags the substances to the bottom of the pond, and the mud is dredged after the surface water has been released into the river.

“Many studies have proved that the water orchid has the capacity to improve water quality from ponds and water treated thus can be released without causing harm to the environment,” Lan said.

A profusion of water orchids can be found in the farm run by the Vinh Hoan Corporation. Locals says that it also serves another purpose. The plant is used to produce handicraft products that are exported to Japan. — VNS

 

WWF officials in Vietnam over Pangasius spat

A six-member World Wide Fund for Nature delegation led by its global seafood coordinator Mark Powell began discussions with Vietnamese aquaculture officials Wednesday about the assessment and classification standards used for Vietnamese catfish.

The visitors will explain the technical issues involved in moving Vietnamese tra from the yellow list (products that can be considered for use) to the red list in its 2010-2011 guidance manual for consumers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway, and Demark.

A press briefing will be held after the discussion, Pham Anh Tuan, deputy head of the General Directorate of Fisheries, said.

The WWF delegation will then set off for a field study of catfish farming and processing in Can Tho, the country’s major catfish farming hub, he added.

The WWF move has raised the ire of tra farmers and seafood agencies in Vietnam who panned it for lacking a scientific foundation.

The fisheries industry association Monday demanded an apology from the WWF for labeling Vietnamese traas harmful.

“We have looked over WWF’s 19 criteria carefully and found they are inaccurate and lack evidence,” Nguyen Viet Thang, the chairman of Vietnam Fisheries Association said.

“These assessments focus solely on certain facts like the impacts of breeding tra on the environment.”

The Foreign Ministry had demanded last week that WWF members in a number of European countries remove Vietnamese tra catfish from their red list.

“It is regretful that members of WWF in several European countries have made assessments that are inaccurate, lack scientific foundation, and are at odds with the realities of Vietnam’s tra fish,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga said at a press briefing in Hanoi Thursday.

This will cause great losses to Vietnamese fish farmers and seafood processors as well as European consumers and not benefit the ongoing development of economic and trade relations between Vietnam and European nations, she warned.

Vietnam has begun to strictly regulate the seafood processing industry and widely applies the highest international standards for aquaculture, ensuring food hygiene and safety and environmental protection are on a par with international standards, she added.

WWF Vietnam on the same day reiterated in a press release that it is not involved in the assessment but has a responsibility to help resolve the problem.

What Vietnam has to say

Foreign experts and Vietnamese have rejected WWF’s contention that Vietnamese catfish is unsafe and the industry is harmful to the environment.

Tests by international corporations have always found Vietnamese catfish safe, Marc Campet of the Binh Duong-based French animal feed maker Guyomarch Vietnam Company Limited said.

He was surprised by the WWF claim since catfish products from Vietnam are thoroughly checked in labs before they enter the EU and have never encountered any problems before.

Dr Flavico Corsin, an aquaculture expert based in Vietnam, said he was surprised to see Vietnamese catfish in the WWF’s red list of harmful products. He said the WWF’s survey, assessment, and study method were all faulty.

Its testing and assessment methods contained errors since the 19 questionnaires in the survey did not properly address the issue, he said, adding the people doing the surveys did not have adequate knowledge of how the catfish are farmed.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) too said the method of study and information used by the WWF were not accurate.

Nguyen Huu Dung, VASEP deputy president, said the WWF report was a secondary research and did not rely on field studies.

One of the reasons the WWF gave for putting Vietnamese catfish in its red list is that farming the fish could degrade the Mekong River. However, Campet, a French technician with 15 years’ experience in inspecting Mekong catfish, rejected this explanation saying since the fish eat food from non-meat origins that do not harm the water.

Compared to other fish sold in the EU, catfish costs four or five times less but is nutritious, Philippe Serene, a French catfish food supplier, said.

 

CP plans expansion in China and Vietnam

The agribusiness giant Charoen Pokphand Group (CP) is committed to expanding foreign investment in China and Vietnam, focusing on agriculture, real estate and retail.

Thanakorn Seriburi, chairman and CEO of the automotive industrial products business group (China) of CP Group, said next year it plans to team up with Luoyang city in Hainan province to develop a super complex on 115 rai (18.5ha) of land. It will comprise two each of 60-storey and 40-storey buildings that will feature condominium units, a shopping centre, an entertainment complex, a hotel, an exhibition centre and government offices, including customs, a clearing house and other public services.

Construction of the complex will cost about 15 billon baht (500 millions usd) and kick off next year, with an expected completion date of six years. The group expects the project will break even three years after commercial operation.

Mr Thanakorn added the group also plans to list Shanghai Kinghill Co on the Shanghai stock market in early 2011 to mobilise funds to expand its retail and property-development business in China.

Shanghai Kinghill operates Super Brand Mall, one of Asia’s largest entertainment complexes. Located in Pudong, Shanghai’s economic zone, the mall covers 400,000 square metres.

CP was the first foreign investor in China. Over nearly four decades it has poured billions of dollars into shopping malls, the poultry industry, animal feed and motorcycle plants.

The group’s retail operations consist mainly of the nationwide Lotus Supercenter chain and the Super Brand Mall in Shanghai.

Sarasin Viraphol, the group’s executive vice-president, said next year it plans to invest 20 billion baht (660,000 usd)  in chemical-free vegetable production and distribution businesses on 8,000 rai (1280 ha) at Cixi city in China’s Zhejiang province, using sophisticated technology from plantation processes to harvesting to supply consumers mainly in Shanghai.

The project is to be further developed as an eco-tour and theme park.

Mr Thanakorn said CP’s businesses in China are expected to generate income of US$6 billion this year, a gain of 10-15% from last year. Next year’s growth rate is forecast to be the same as this year.

In a related development, Sooksunt Jiumjaiswanglerg, executive vice-president of the agro-industry and food business group in Vietnam, said CP planned to set up four more animal and shrimp feed plants in Vietnam, as well as processing plants over the next five years. This increase from five plants will raise production capacity to 4 million tonnes a year from 2.5 million.

It will spend $150-200 million to construct shrimp feed plants, cold storage and chicken-processing plants in Vietnam. The investment is part of the group’s plan to increase Vietnam operations by 100% to $3 billion a year over five years.

CP Group expects its revenue to grow by 20% this year from about 600 billion baht (20 billion usd) in 2009, with half from exports.

Mekong Delta, world center for Pangasius production

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta provinces are estimated to earn more than $1.3 billion (€980.3 million) from exports of 650,000 metric tons of pangasius.

The figures will contribute to bringing the total aquatic export turnover of the region in 2010 to $2.5 billion (€1.9 billion), $350 million (€263.9 million) more than that of 2009.

Can Tho city, An Giang and Dong Thap provinces led in the export of pangasius. In 2010, the region put over 790,000 hectares under aquaculture, yielding 2.2 million metric tons, an increase of 140,000 metric tons over the previous year.

The achievements were attributed to the region’s investment in building irrigation systems, strict control of breeding quality, applying production models following the standards of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), food safety and environmental hygiene (CoC), as well as promoting of products at domestic and foreign markets.

VASEP wants WWF to apologize

Vietnam’s fisheries association wants the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to apologize for having recommended consumers not buy Vietnam’s tra fish in its guidance this year, the association chairman said Monday.

 

WWF put Vietnam’s pangasius fish into the “Don’t buy” list in its 2010-2011 guidance manual for seafood consumers in Germany, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland, saying the fish farms have polluted the environment.

“We have looked over WWF’s 19 criteria carefully and found they are inaccurate and lack evidence,” said Nguyen Viet Thang, the chairman.

“These assessments focus solely on some facts including impacts of breeding tra fish to the environment and diseases. Compared with the Code of Conduct of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the facts are inadequate and groundless.

“Therefore, WWF should apologize to Vietnam’s government and fish farmers,” Thang said.

Pham Anh Tuan, deputy head of the General Fisheries Department, said a WWF delegation will visit Vietnam December 14 to answer all technical questions related to the assessment methodology and process.

The General Fisheries Department will provide WWF with scientific evidences on Vietnam’s tra fish, helping it to reassess the case and move tra fish out of the “Don’t buy” list, Tuan said.

Tuan also disclosed Vietnam has not considered suing WWF at the World Trade Organization.

In a press release issued last Thursday, WWF Vietnam said it has received standards used to assess pangasius-processing from its colleagues in Europe on December 8 and passed them on to the General Directorate of Fisheries as well as the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers(VASEP).

WWF Vietnam reiterated in the press release that it was not involved in the assessment, but as the WWF’s representative in the country, it has the responsibility to participate in solving the problem.

“It is regretful that members of the WWF in several European countries have made assessments that are inaccurate, lack scientific foundations and are at odds with the realities of Vietnam’s tra fish,” the Vietnam News Agency quoted Nguyen Phuong Nga, spokesperson for Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry, as saying at a press briefing in Hanoi Thursday.

This activity will cause great losses to Vietnamese fish farmers and seafood processors as well as European consumers and not benefit the ongoing development of economic and trade ties between Vietnam and European nations, she said.


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