November 18, 2011


Vietnam's seafood exports face raw material shortage


Vietnamese seafood exporters are facing shortage of raw material supply and costly quality tests, said experts on Tuesday (Nov 15).


Speaking at a meeting held by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP), Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, VASEP’s deputy chairwoman, said the material shortage would remain a tough problem without a government effort to find an answer for it.

She said many of the hundreds of seafood processing plants along the central coast have had to stay closed, since most of the raw materials have been bought up by Chinese traders.


"Many local processors have had to import raw materials for moderate production over the last two years," she said.


Adding to the problem is the fact that processors have had to wait as long as a week for their cargos to arrive, while in other countries, the time was only a couple of days, she added.


She said many global importers had chosen Vietnamese businesses as their seafood outsourcing processors thanks to low labour costs and the presence of a large workforce.


But the quality tests that must be performed before products are exported have been costly for processors.


Phan Thanh Chien, CEO of Havico, said the firm has to pay VND5.8 million (US$276) for quality test of a 40-feet container of nobashi and sushi shrimp.


"We have spent a total of VND350 million (US$16,659) on testing fees this month and the full-year figure could be as much as VND6 billion (US$286,000)," he said.


Under a regulation imposed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, seafood exports to Japan and Canada are required to undergo enrofloxacin and ciprofloxacin tests.


"Besides these tests, the exports also have to be tested for trifluralin, which will add up to a huge expense for the processors," he said.


Also speaking at the meeting, VASEP Chairman Tran Thien Hai said the seafood sector had targeted an US$8-billion export turnover in the next five years.


"We need government support to solve the export problems in order to achieve this target," he concluded.

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