August 3, 2011
Vietnam to transfer aquaculture knowledge to Sri Lanka
Vietnam is prepared to send professionals to Sri Lanka to provide aquaculture knowledge and methods to cultivate seaweed, lobster and sea-cucumber, visiting Minister Vu Van Tam said in Colombo.
"We can send out technicians or experts to help Sri Lanka," deputy minister Tam said. "Or we are ready to receive your delegation of technicians to practise in my country."
Tam who is Vietnam's deputy minister of agriculture and rural development is also in charge of the country's directorate of fisheries. He headed a delegation to take part in a regional fisheries conference in Colombo this week.
He said a technical team could be put together within a month if Sri Lanka makes a request from his ministry.
Vietnam is a key producer of seafood and is the world's fifth largest exporter of seafood, Tam said.
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters & Producers, exports in the first quarter rose 27% from a year earlier to US$1.15 billion. This year's seafood exports are projected at US$5.5 billion, Tam said.
The Vietnamese have engaged in farming the sea or 'mariculture' for long years as well as engaging in inland aquaculture.
In the first quarter alone, exports of Pangasius species of fish (tra or Vietnamese river cobbler) reached US$376 million.
Minister Tam said in 2007, Vietnam's aquaculture harvest had exceeded the fishery catch from the wild.
Sri Lanka at one time used to be an exporter of seaweed caught from the wild especially the so called 'Ceylon moss' in areas such as Mannar.
Tam said in 2005 Sri Lanka following a ministerial visit to Colombo, Sri Lanka a memorandum had been signed by the two countries but no action had been taken by either side.
In 2009, a work plan had been developed for the 2010-13 period. During the current visit, Tam had met Sri Lanka's fisheries minister Rajitha Senaratne briefly and a working group had been set up.
Tam said if Sri Lanka has a master plan and strategy for aquaculture development with a list of species Vietnam was ready to assist wherever possible.
"Vietnam is ready to provide technical assistance all knowledge we have in order to develop the aquaculture sector in Sri Lanka and provide seafood to your people," he said.
Tam said in developing master plan for aquaculture it would be helpful to provide policies to integrate farmers, local private sector as stakeholders and also include foreign investors.
"The investment of the private sector both national and foreign is very important," he said. "With foreign investment you will get technology transfer quickly and effectively."