May 8, 2012
Philippines aims to develop pangasius fish industry
With goals to cut imports of pangasius fish from Vietnam, the Philippines is striving to develop its pangasius fish industry.
The islands country has fostered the local pangasius fish production, which is expected to produce sufficient volume to replace the current imports, mostly from Vietnam, by 2016.
Filipino Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources BFAR brought pangasius fish to the country in 1981. In July 2010, Filipino Department of Trade and Industry headed a delegation of 20 members to visit the main pangasius fish growing areas in Can Tho and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Filipinos tried to learn experience from Vietnamese aquaculture and seafood processing companies.
After that, DTI started the programme on farming pangasius fish in a trial basis in Mindanao, run by Regional Operations Development Group (RODG). The DTI-RODG operates under the direction of the national food security programme which has created many good projects.
By December 2011, the project had seen the total investment capital reaching PHP202.358 million (US$4.8 million), creating 915 stable jobs, making a great contribution to the food security programme through the small and medium enterprise development.
According to Filipino agencies, the country imports about 600 tonnes of pangasius fish fillet products from Vietnam a month, worth US$1.6 million.
Imports of Vietnamese pangasius fish increased continuously from 2008-10, hitting 6,689 tonnes in 2010. However, the country's pangasius fish imports from Vietnam dropped by 28% to 4,836 tonnes in 2011 thanks to the local aquatic industry. BFAR said that the total pangasius fish output increased by 186.74% from 2008-10.
At present, Vietnam's pangasius fish industry is facing big difficulties which, experts have warned, threaten the existence of the industry. The pangasius fish prices have dropped dramatically to VND22,000-23,000 (US$1.06-1.11) per kilogramme, raising big worries to farmers. Meanwhile, seafood companies have been in distress, because they have to borrow capital from banks at sky high interest rates.
Both farmers and seafood exporters find it hard to access bank loans, which have forced farmers to leave fish ponds idle and seafood companies unable to collect fish materials for processing.