June 13, 2013
As a result of greater competitiveness among domestic businesses, anti-dumping lawsuits and poor quality, Vietnamese pangasius is increasingly losing its competitive edge across the globe.
This is according to Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The country is working hard to take back the lion's share of the market with its pangasius as it faces strong competition from other regional tra producers and processors such as Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines and Indonesia. All of these competitors are currently expanding the areas they use for aquaculture to grow their output and increase exports.
The Philippine Department of Trade and Industry has approved a US$15.8 million pangasius farming project with the goal of earning US$23 million in export revenue by 2016. The country also intends to reserve 270 hectares of water for tra farming, hire 2,700 workers and produce 614 tonnes of tra fillets per month, VNA reports.
Indonesia's general director in charge of aquaculture under the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), Slamet Soebjakto, said that like Vietnam's Mekong River, the Batanghari River in Thailand, which flows across the central province of Jambi, would be a great place to farm pangasius, and that his country wishes to turn the river into one of its largest aquaculture hubs.
Slamet also talked about Indonesia's plan to exploit its rivers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds and artificial lakes all for aquaculture purposes, in order to eventually become the world's largest fish producer. He said the MMAF has chosen tra as one of the key staple species for industrialising the country's fish farming sector.
According to experts, Indonesia's potential and fish resources can be compared to those of Vietnam, and if Indonesia takes full advantage of its transferred technology and local labour force, it could soon surpass Vietnam's tra production abilities.
In Vietnam, over the past 10 years, farmed tra from the Mekong Delta River has become one of Vietnam's key export items. Its volume has grown by 50 times, surpassing one million tonnes annually, and it has been exported to 142 countries and territories, with its export value increasing 65-fold and generating 2% of Vietnam's GDP.
From January 1 to April 15, 2013, Vietnam exported pangasius products for a total of US$460.8 million, a 5.8% inter-annual fall. The largest market was the EU with purchases for US$111 million, which represented 13.8% less than last year and 24.1% of the total value. After them US was located, with purchases for US$90.4 million (19.6% of the total value), representing a 5.9% inter-annual drop.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries came third with imports for US$35.8 million, a figure showing a 15.1% inter-annual increase.
Then, Mexico was another important market: it purchased Vietnamese pangasius for US$29.9 million, 17.9% less than in the same period last year.