January 7, 2015

 

Vietnam's seafood industry still fraught with problems

 

 

Despite its strong showing in 2014, the world's fifth-largest seafood exporter still faces many difficulties to reach its turnover target of US$8-8.5 billion this year, industry sources told SGGP.

 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has targeted US$8.5 billion in export turnover this year while the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (Vasep) has set it at US$8 billion.

 

Vietnam's seafood export turnover exceeded its 2014 plan by US$1 billion to reach US$7.92 billion, much higher than the previous year's US$6.7 billion, said Dr. Nguyen Huu Dung, deputy chairman of Vasep.

 

In dollar terms, shrimp accounted for 53% of the export turnover last year.

 

However, Dr. Dung said the high export turnover has not benefited farmers and businesses. 2014 was a difficult year for them, when they faced diseases and supply shortages.

 

Tra fish businesses struggled to change the way they processed their products to meet new quality standards imposed by the government's new tra fish decree.

 

For the shrimp farming industry, it has yet to find a suitable farming process to prevent diseases and ensure the quality of breeding shrimp, putting both breeders and processing plants at risk of losses due to antibiotic residue.

 

Nguyen Van Quang, director of Minh Phu Seafood Company in Ca Mau province, said that because authorised agencies had not provided breeders with a suitable farming process, diseases are unavoidable.

 

Farmers have been compelled to use antibiotics to save their infected shrimp, and businesses have to face the risk of being held responsible if their export consignments contain antibiotic residue exceeding permitted levels set by importing countries, he added.

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