Vietnam: Seafood export targets by 2020

As the year 2010 is over, the Seafood Export Development Program in the period 2005- 2010 approved under the decision No.242/2006/QD-TTg dated October, 2006 has accomplished its final steps. It is time to go behind what has been achieved and what has not so as to set targets for the next 5 and 10 years.

Great achievements.

First of all, it is undeniable that the fisheries sector in the past years has still maintained its inherent growth, playing a leading role in the industrialization and modernization of the agriculture and rural areas, as well as drastically transforming itself into a major producing industry in the country’s economy in general. Read more of this post


The area of pangasius farming in 2010 only reached 90 percent of the plan

The Directorate of Fisheries said through December 2010, total area of pangasius farming was approximately 5,420 ha, reaching 90.3 percent of the year plan.

Although the farming area in 2010 was less than last year, thanks to high productivity of average 261.2 MT per ha per season, harvested fish reached1.141 million MT, up 4.6 percent over 2009 and reaching 95.1 percent of the year plan. Largest farming locality was Dong Thap with 1,872 ha and the least was Kien Giang with 30 ha. Compared with previous years, raw material in 2010 was no surplus. With the incentives for processing and aquatic-feed production enterprises to farm pangasius, the farming area of some localities increased compared to last year such Ben Tre, Can Tho and Tien Giang.

The  area of pangasius farming decreased because in the early months of 2010, raw pangasius was higher than 2009 and rich supply; however, farmers still had no profits or lost due to high input cost, especially feed price. The farming area in QI and QII decreased over the same period of 2009 that led to the shortage of raw material in the last months (in the last 6 months, pangasius production was approximately 400.000 MT) and resulted in the price of raw material was higher.


Vietnam government steps up seafood plant inspections

Food-safety inspections at Vietnam seafood processing plants will be stepped up this year, the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (Nafiqad) has warned.

It follows up on a circular issued late last month by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), which called for clearly indicating origins and withdrawing products that do not meet quality and safety standards.

The moves seek to bolster exports of aquaculture produce by ensuring their quality following widespread reports of quality violations late last year Read more of this post

More efforts for sustainable development of Tra fish industry

Despite the negative impact of the global economic crisis, technical barriers from Vietnam’s seafood markets, and the increasing prices of materials, the Vietnamese Tra fish industry made significant achievements in 2010.

Although Vietnam’s total Tra fish breeding area in 2010 met only 90 percent of the year’s target, reaching 5,400 ha, the total output rose by 4 percent against 2009 to 1.1 million tonnes as the productivity increased to 260 tonnes per ha. The quality of the product also improved.

Unlike previous years, there were no redundancies in materials in 2010 because many localities successfully got processing businesses and animal food businesses involved in Tra fish breeding.

Tran Van Hung, General Director of the Hung Ca Joint Stock Company in Dong Thap said his company was focusing on the development of clean breeding to ensure the quality of the products.

“We have had a lot of orders because consumers now prefer clean products,” he said. Read more of this post

Vietnam: Striving to 50 percent of shrimp farms are numbered in 2011

On 19th January 2011, in Can Thi City, the Directorate of Fisheries (DoF) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) held a conference on the review of brackish water shrimp production in 2010 and the implementation plan for 2011.

According to the data of D-FISH, the aquaculture production in 2010 reached about 2.82 million MT, up 9 percent from 2009; its export value was US$4.7 billion. In which, the farming area of black tiger shrimp was 613,718 ha; the farming area of whiteleg shrimp was about 25,397 ha, up 32 percent over 2009. In 2010, shrimp export value is estimated at over US$2 billion.

The delegates said that the price of black tiger shrimp in 2010 tended more favorable for farmers. However, the farming area out of the planning was great, using unquarantined bloodstocks was rather high, feed continuously fluctuated, and farmers had difficulties. The farming area of whiteleg shrimp increased and has had the high potential risk of spreading disease to the ponds of black tiger shrimp. The delegates proposed to conduct fee-free quarantine of the quality of broodstocks for farmers aimed at enhancing the quality of farming areas and reducing the pressure for management authorities.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said whiteleg shrimp is alien species that has been allowed to farm in Vietnam, but the localities must publish their farming areas under the management planning. In 2011, black tiger shrimp is still the main object to farm, so the localities must watch the loan situation to propose their difficulties and recommend to the government and the State Bank. The localities are required to focus on investment in the irrigation for farming areas. MARD will soon issue the criteria for farming areas and in 2011, it is strived to 50 percent of shrimp farms are numbered to implement the traceability.


Foreign enterprises will be participated in catching swell-fish

On 17th January, 2011, Mr. Luong Le Phuong, Deputy Minister ofAgriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said MARD will allow more foreign enterprises to participate in the projects of swell-fish catching and export in Vietnam that increase the competition and avoid the monopoly in the purchase of this fish.

At the conference “the preliminarily review of the pilot project of swell-fish catching, processing and export” in Nha Trang city, Khanh Hoa province, Mr. Phuong said swell-fish is a toxic species, so the management of catching and processing must be careful to avoid affecting the consumers’ health.

In the pilot phase (2009 – 2010), MARD only developed in Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa and only chose one importer of swell-fish to be partner as Korea Poseidon Seafood Company to manage strictly.

In fact, MARD chose Korea Poseidon Seafood because it was the first company that guided Vietnamese farmers and enterprises to catch and process swell-fish basically in accordance with hygiene, food safety standards of both South Korea and Vietnam.

To expand the pilot project of swell-fish catching, processing and export, Mr. Phuong said in the future, MARD will report to the Government to implement in more provinces such as Phu Yen, Quang Ninh and Nghe An.

MARD also asks the Institute of Pasteur for testing toxin level, issuing the quality certificate for products and proposing the localities to seek the suitable catching method to pilot in some fleet.

Pangasius export would decrease in 2011

With the estimated export value at US$1.4 billion, not at US$1.5 billionof the plan, 2010 was considered as an unsuccessful year of Vietnamese pangasius. However, it is forecasted that in 2011 this situation is more stressful.
At the conference on overview of pangasius export in 2010, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) forecasts the global demand for pangasius next year would be greater than the supply. However, as planned in 2011, export pangasius production would only reach 360,000 MT, down nearly 40 percent compared to 2010. Its export turnover would be at 1 billion.

Raw material is most concerned problem of many enterprises. It is forecasted pangasius production in 2011 only reaches about 900.000 MT, so raw material for processing will be lacked a large amount. And this situation will last until the next harvest in May 2011.

Although the price is currently at a high level, farmers dare not to breed again because they worry about the fluctuation of price. Increasing feed price led to loss of many farmers, as the result  they have to leave their ponds. Besides, both enterprises and farmers hardly access loans from banks because of so high interest rates.

Mr. Nguyen Huu Dzung, Standing Vice Chairman of VASEP believed that pangasius export in 2011 will be not backed down but can reach the near-peak level in 2008. Especially, 2011 will mark the change in the quality of pangasius because since 2010, many enterprises in the industry has been certificated Global GAP and currently lots of enterprises are also applying this standard.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Luong Le Phuong stressed that “not so pessimistic”. Pangasius export next year may exceed the forecast if enterprises and farmers joint together to seek solutions to overcome difficulties.

Mr. Phuong supported the 4 solutions that VASEP and enterprises unified to provide aimed at reviving the domestic pangasius industry as well as regulating its export markets for next year. Namely, rising the average export price through the management of export floor price, stabilizing the raw material production, ensuring the supply – demand, enhancing the quality management in accordance with standards and boosting the advertisement and trade promotion.

In December 2010, VASEP and enterprises agreed the minimum export pangasius price to all markets in January 2011 is 3 USD per kg for white meat pangasius and 2.05 USD per kg for redmeat one.

VASEP also sent official letter on informing enterprises about it and required them to notify their partners. In January 2011, on the implementation basis of enterprises, VASEP will submit to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to request the approval of the Regulation on Export Pangasius Management via the floor price of exporters.

Source: VASEP

Vietnam: Animal feed industry raise more and more interest for foreign investors

Foreign investors are looking to make the most of Vietnam’s lucrative animal feed industry in 2011.

US-backed Cargill Group is one of many foreign investors doing big animal-feed business in the country. Its branch general director in Vietnam, Nguyen Minh Tri, told VIR that Cargill would build two more large animal feed mills during 2011. One would be in Ha Nam province and another in the country’s southern region, which would raise the company’s total animal feed mills in Vietnam to eight.

“Vietnam is an ideal market. Now is a very good point of time for Cargill to intensify its niche here. Many other foreign investors are also coveting this market,” said Tri, who refused to reveal the total investment capital poured into Vietnam by Cargill.

Thai-backed Charoen Pokphand Group (CP) also told VIR that it would continue investing in many animal feed mills in Vietnam throughout 2011. One will be in southern Binh Duong province and two others in Hue city and southern Ben Tre province. CP will likely invest $150-200 million during 2011-2015 for its new projects. The plan is part of CP’s strategy to intensify its business activities in Vietnam over the next five years. The company has already invested $400 million into Vietnam with 17 factories processing agricultural products, particularly animal feed.

Anova Corporation, located in Binh Duong province’s Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park inked an agreement with Norway’s EWOS, which is a major supplier of aquafeed for the international aquaculture industry, to established a joint venture to build a $6 million fish feed facility in southern Long An province earlier this month. The firm’s 51 per cent stake is held by the foreign investor.

The facility had an annual capacity of 60,000 tonnes, which may be raised to 250,000 tonnes per year in the next few years. The first products, mainly used for tra fish, which is one of Vietnam’s billions-of-dollar exports, is set to be marketed next month.

The Netherlands’ animal feed maker De Heus also began construction of its third animal feed mill in Dong Nai province’s Thong Nhat district earlier this month. This $15 million project, which covers 52,000 square metres of land, is set to use modern technology to produce 600,000 tonnes of products per year.

The project’s produce will be sold throughout the country’s southeastern region and they will look to soak up to 10 per cent of the domestic animal feed market over the next five years.

Taiwanese-backed Uni-President Enterprises Corporation said it was now completing the first stage of its third plant to annually produce 90,000 tonnes of wheat flour, over 3 million packages of instant noodles and 258,000 tonnes of animal feed. This $140 million, 15-hectare plant in Quang Nam province’s Dien Nam – Dien Ngoc Industrial Park is set to become operational in March 2011.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Livestock Production Department attributed the influx of foreign investors into the animal feed processing industry to the husbandry sector’s bright future.

It reported that the sector grew by 10 per cent in 2010 and is expected to grow by 15 per cent this year. “We encourage investments in animal feed processing in areas with big raw materials production potential like the central highlands, the southern coastal and the northern midland regions,” said Hoang Kim Giao, head of the department.

At present, 70 per cent of animal feed in Vietnam is produced by foreign companies.

Source: Vietnam Business News

VASEP advises pangasius exporters to use month-to- month contracts

Pangasius Harvest in South Vietnam

If Vietnam’s seafood sector is put under pressure for increases in export turnover for months and years, it will find itself in a difficult position to develop sustainably, said Nguyen Huu Dung, Vice President of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

Despite hitting a ten-year record high of 645,000 tons of pangasius, export earnings still failed to reach the set target for 2010.

According to VASEP, the average price of pangasius for export in November last year was $2.14 per kilogram, 3 percent less than in the same month of last year. The falling price was attributed to a strong increase in output and barriers imposed by the consumer markets.

In early 2009, in a proposal submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), VASEP warned of investment exceeding breeding capacity which resulted in negative consequences. For instance, competing in both buying and selling Tra fish push export prices down.

Dung says the global demands for Tra fish in 2011 will exceed supply. However, Vietnam’s export output of Tra fish will stay just around 1 million tons this year, including 360,000 tonnes for export, down by nearly 40 percent against last year. Therefore, it is essential for the seafood sector to lay a firm foundation for its sustainable development, particularly for shrimp and Tra fish exports.

Vietnam’s pangasius output accounts for 95 percent of the world market. If we only focus on developing tra fish breeding areas, it is difficult to drive export prices up. Consequently, we should be active in balancing demand and supply to control the market, Dung stressed.

VASEP has advised businesses to sign export contracts every month instead of every six or 12 months as before to control output and increase selling prices. This year, export businesses will have to stick to floor prices.

Facing a lot of difficulties

This year, seafood businesses will have to encounter a host of difficulties and challenges as the seafood sector is in a dire shortage of workforce, especially highly-skilled workers. Moreover, lacking investment capital is the biggest problem that needs to be addressed in the first place.

The chairman of the Vietnam Food Association, Pham Van Bay, says, “Lacking capital has become a permanent challenge for us. We don’t complain about increasing interest rates but the Government should adopt capital providing policies based on businesses’ capacity for producing value added products.”

Dung says the more value added products businesses create, the easier they have access to bank loans. This will create the best possible conditions for them to produce more value added products.

To develop the seafood sector on a sustainable basis, particularly for tra fish and shrimp, it is necessary to promote the production relationship between businesses and farmers. Businesses need to maintain relations with farmers in all areas, not just in buying and selling operations.

“Currently, businesses can ensure around 70 percent of tra fish production. Individual farmers need to be provided with necessary breeding skills to ensure the remainder is raised safely according to the set standards,” said Dung.

Asides from this, to deal with issues related to aquaculture, MARD Minister Cao Duc Phat underlines the need to prevent uncontrolled and ineffective breeding and the failure to control the quality of products and breeding environment in order to avoid affecting the prestige and production efficiency of the whole sector.

In regard to the promotion of Vietnam’s seafood trademark and image, the Head of the Aquaculture Department under the General Department of Seafood, Vu Van Dung, says most Vietnamese seafood businesses develop their own markets and build their own trademarks without paying attention to building a common trademark of Vietnam’s tra fish.

Trade promotion does not simply means taking part in fairs, exhibitions or making fact-finding tours overseas. It is important to change trade promotion measures by inviting foreign media representatives to Vietnam to learn more about the way Vietnamese businesses are raising and producing Tra fish. Trade promotion requires a long-term or middle-term investment strategy not only in three or five years, Dung emphasized.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Vietnam: Producing 6 million tonnes of seafood by 2015

The General Department of Fisheries, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), organised a conference in Hanoi on December 28 to review the activities in 2010 and define a plan for 2011-2015.

In 2010, total output of fisheries industry reached over 5.1 million tonnes, increasing by 3 percent compared to the initial target, and total exports reached nearly US$5 billion, up by 6 percent.

The fisheries industry aims to produce 6 million tonnes by 2015. To achieve this plan, delegates agreed to introduce changes in exploitation and processing in bays, and islands, to reduce production cost and increase competitiveness of seafood products.

Vu Anh Tuan, Deputy Head of the General Department of Fisheries, said research need to be promoted and it was also necessary to increase quality of seed and production technology.

He noted that to reduce risks for fishermen, the department instructed to improve the management and create an information system for fish boats and fishermen


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