October 2, 2008


Vietnam's seafood exports up 21.9 percent on-year

Vietnamese seafood exports in September totalled US$450 million, bringing total shipments in the first nine months of 2008 to US$3.32 billion, according to the General Statistics Office.


The Office said this is a 21.9 percent increase over last year.


The seafood-processing sector had a growth rate of 24.6 during the January-September period, 8.6-percent more than the average growth of Vietnam's processing industries.


During the January-September period, frozen shrimp remained the largest earner at US$1.16 billion, up 7 percent on-year, said Nguyen Thai Phuong from the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors.


However, the volume of shrimp exports declined 4.7 percent on-year to 34 percent in total seafood exports due to fierce competition from Thai and Indian shrimp, said Phuong.


Tra and basa catfish was the no.2 item with US$1.1 billion. Catfish accounted for 32.3 percent of Vietnam's total seafood exports, up 5.7 percent on-year.


The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development attributed the results to seafood exporters, who increased shipments to other markets including the EU. The exporters have also successfully made tra and basa catfish into a key staple in the EU market.


The ministry's deputy minister Luong Le Phuong, expects seafood exports to exceed the annual target of US$4.2-4.3 billion.


There is a danger of catfish materials shortage during year-end as processors increase output to prepare for New Year festival demands. Phuong suggested processors to cooperate with farmers and set up their own aquaculture ponds in order to be more active in developing supply sources.

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