February 18, 2011
Vietnam province seeks to boost shrimp exports
Ca Mau, Vietnam's southernmost province, which leads the country in shrimp cultivation, is looking to raise exports of shrimp this year.
The province's shrimp exports reached a record high of US$800 million last year, according to the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Ngo Thanh Linh, deputy head of the department's Planning and Finance Division, said, "There are many positive signs for the export of this product [shrimp] in 2011. The clearest sign is that the export volume and value of shrimp so far this year have increased compared to the same period last year." Le Van Quang, general director of the Minh Phu Seafood Joint Stock Company, which led the country in shrimp exports last year, said they signed contracts last month to ship 2,000 tonnes of shrimp of various kinds.
Last year, the company exported 23,871 tonnes of shrimp worth US$248 million, exceeding its annual target by 50%.
Experts have also said that the export price of shrimp is likely to increase in the coming months, because of rising world demand and output declines in several exporting countries.
The price of shrimp in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta is now VND250,000-260,000 a kilo compared to about VND220,000 at the end of last year.
Ly Van Thuan, general secretary of the Ca Mau Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (CASEP), said to ensure that shrimp export remains stable in 2011, seafood processors would need to maintain their existing markets, especially large ones like the US, Japan and the EU, and at the same time, expand potential markets like mainland China, South Korea and Australia.
The processors should also upgrade their technology towards increasing the value of export products, he said.
The province has 35 seafood processors that are operating at about 45% of capacity because of a shortage of raw material, according to CASEP.
However, Nguyen Thi Tuyet, general director of the Ca Mau Frozen Seafood Processing Import-Export Corporation, said this situation was normal.
"There is a severe shortage of shrimp in the first quarter of every year as farmers have harvested their main shrimp crop and are preparing their ponds for a new crop," Tuyet said.
The province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development plans an output of 105,000 tonnes of shrimp this year to supply processing facilities.
Under the plan, the province will develop large shrimp cultivation areas using advanced technology, control diseases, maintain shrimp-feed hygiene and safety, and protect the environment.
Nguyen Huu Thanh, general director of the Ocean Food Corporation, said good planning, the use of advanced technology, and the increase in prices of shrimp would encourage more investment in shrimp farming.
When the shortage of shrimp was overcome, exports would stabilise and increase further, he said.
The province now has more than 265,000 ha devoted to shrimp breeding, with extensive farming model accounting for 99.4% and industrial farming for just 0.55%.