Vietnam: Seafood plants struggle with lack of raw material

Seafood processing plants in Mekong Delta provinces on November 24 said that they have been running under 50% capacity because they cannot collect enough materials for processing despite tra fish price has been risen to record high levels.

The higher price was due to higher domestic consumption demands and a shortage of supply.

Yesterday, tra fish were being sold from VND20,000 – 22,000 per kilogram, a month-on-month increase of VND5,000 per kilogram.

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Luong Le Phuong, tra fish industry is facing with difficulties due to shortage of materials.

He said more and more farmers were becoming less inclined to invest in aquaculture, despite the price of seafood on the world market is increasing.

In addition, farmers in Mekong Delta don’t want to raise tra fish because the price has remained low since 2008 and the cost of feed keeps increasing, Phuong said.

Meanwhile, technical barriers are raised by importing markets to protect domestic production. Not only the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed antidumping tax of 130 percent on Vietnamese tra catfish, several other countries like Ukraine, Mexico and Spain also introduce stricter measures to control the Vietnamese fish. Worse, EU continues making difficulties for Vietnamese catfish due to its high competition.

To ride out current difficulties, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development petitioned government to support seafood companies to overcome the hardships.

Vietnamese companies need to boost tra manufacturing and processing efficiency by improving quality rather than quantity.

The ministry also is coordinating with related departments to set up floor prices, which is calculated upon cost factors, including cost of raw materials, to ensure profits for farmers.

The ministry said price slumps caused many farmers to abandon tra fish culturing, threatening the supply of materials and affecting the sustained development of processing industry.

Businesses proposed the ministry to zone aquaculture area and orient raw material production and distribution and to build the image of Vietnamese tra catfish in the hearts of global consumers and avoid misleading rumours about the quality of catfish in Vietnam.

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