Closer co-operation between stakeholders to keep Tra fish exports growing


Speaking at the meeting organized by the Center for Research and Analysis Financial Data Gafin, the former deputy Minister of Fishery, Nguyen Thi Hong Minh, said Tra Production and export enjoyed strong growth in the past 10 years.

In the period, the area under tra farming increased by fivefold to 6,000ha, with output rising 35 times, reaching 1.35 million tonnes.

Export revenue also increased strongly, from $40 million to $1.43 million in the period, she said, adding that tra fish was exported to 136 countries and territories.

Duong Ngoc Minh, chairman of the Hung Vuong Corporation, said compared to salmon and tilapia, pangasius had a more competitive price, meeting demand of different market segments from schools, restaurants and even in the army.

Truong Tri Vinh, deputy general director of Nextcom Data Integration Joint Stock Company, said consumers worldwide were eating more and more seafood and seafood-based products.

Seafood consumption per capita in the US had increased significantly since 1991, he said, noting that the US was one of the largest buyers of Vietnamese tra fish.

In addition, tra exports to South America, especially Brazil, Russia and several Asian countries, had also surged strongly in the past three months.

However, there were some problems facing the sustainable development of the tra fish sector, unhealthy competition among exporters by reducing sales prices, a shortage of raw materials and rising production costs, Hong Minh said.

Ngoc Minh said tra exporters should raise the value of Vietnamese pangasius and avoid the risk of anti-dumping lawsuits, rather than compete by slashing prices.

The overlap in State management also caused sluggish industry development, she said.

She called for closer co-operation between State agencies and community organisations (associations or alliances) to develop tra production in a sustainable manner and raise the sector’s competitiveness.

The country should learn from other countries, including Norway, France and Chile, about models of community organisations involved in development of the fisheries or agriculture sectors, she said.

“All enterprises and producers in the same sector are members of a community organisation, they join their efforts to build brands and develop markets for their common products.”

Enterprises that wanted to export must meet requirements on quality as well as other requirements set by the organisation, she said, adding that this helped prevent unhealthy competition, affecting prestige of their products.

The Government itself could not effectively solve the issues related to the development of the market economy. It required a joint force of association and alliances, she said.

A community organisation will manage, supervise, discover and deal with actions that adversely affect the community and prestige of the product.

The country should learn from Norway and create a trial for tra production industry by setting up a tra fish market development fund managed by the Freshwater Fish Committee under the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Producers and Exporters (VASEP).

The Prime Minister and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would set regulations for the fund, which stipulates clear norms, obligations, liabilities and interests of tra fish exporters, she said.

The Freshwater Fish Committee would also check company compliance of regulations.

Building brand, setting up quality standards and price management mechanisms for Vietnamese pangasius were among immediate works the sector should do in the coming time, she said.

She also suggested that VASEP, the Viet Nam Fisheries Society and tra farmers increase co-operation and restructure farming areas, and gather farming households under an association to protect their legal interests and strengthen their positions.

The country also needed to restructure State management agencies involved in veterinary, food safety and hygiene and fishery resource management to avoid an overlap in management and consistent management in the chain and an ability to trace the origin of products.

According to Duong Ngoc Minh, chairman of the Hung Vuong Corporation, the country earned an estimated $600 million in tra exports in the first five months of the year, an increase of 30 per cent over the same period last year.
SOurce: Vietfish International

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