VF: From your viewpoint as an expert in aquaculture standards, what do you think of the recently introduced ASC?
Mr Hoang Ba Nghi: There are two sharply opposite opinions about ASC when this set of standards is introduced. Those who drafted and supported ASC think it helps to assure products’ quality, sustainable development and social benefits. Its adoption will improve the prestige
of Vietnamese Pangasius in global market.
Those against ASC say there are already 23 different sets of standards in the fish industry. Therefore, ASC only adds further financial burden for businesses.
Personally, I somehow share the concern of many Vietnamese Pangasius exporters. “How many more standards will be imposed on the Pangasius products in the future?”
VF: : What are the differences between GlobalG.A.P and ASC? How can the GlobalG.A.P certified farms be eligible ASC?
Mr Hoang Ba Nghi: Both GlobalG.A.P and ASC are voluntary standards, which are hinged on the food safety, animal health, social responsibility and environment protection. However, ASC addresses social responsibility and environment protection more comprehensively. But the set of standards is only available for Pangasius. GlobalG.A.P covers a wider range from farming quality management to traceability. Unfortunately, GlobalG.A.P label cannot be printed on products’ package.
Currently, GlobalG.A.P and ASC target
two different markets, the former is for European importers and the latter for worldwide consumers. GlobalG.A.P certified farms can become eligible for ASC by adjusting to a few criteria such as feed conversion ratio, water input/output management, fish growth and mortality rate, etc.
VF: How can ASC feasible for the Pangasius industry and the entire aquaculture sector in Viet Nam?
Mr Hoang Ba Nghi: As far as I know, WWF is encouraging retailers, wholesalers, supermarket chains, and distributors to purchase ASC certified fish. WWF also considers imposing environment protection fee on the buyers in order to raise selling price of Pangasius.
VF: Do you think higher price of ASC certified products can be an incentive for Pangasius farmers?
Mr Hoang Ba Nghi : Farmers concern about two major issues, i.e. costs and labor. It would be difficult for small-scale farms to apply ASC standard. That is why WWF is seeking sponsors worldwide to help them afford such expenses.
It is easy for the intensive farms and GlobalG.A.P members to meet ASC requirements. They will have to pay VND10 per kilo of Pangasius more for the certification. Such fee covers the certification cost and also some indemnification for environment protection and social responsibility fund.
VF: Does Aquafish play any role in popularizing ASC standard?
Mr. Hoang Ba Nghi, Sales Manager of Aquafish
Mr Hoang Ba Nghi: Aquafish helped to introduce the standard at a seminar held by VASEP, VINAFIS, D-FISH, WWF in Can Tho on September 08, 2011. Aquafish’s specialists gave lectures on the standard for technical staffs of Pangasius enterprises in a 2-days training course organized by VASEP from October 24-25, 2011. We joined forces with GIZ and Vinafis to conduct several training courses on ASC for farmers in Tra Vinh and Ben Tre.
We also provide online training course via Skype to technical staffs from Pangasius farms. Each course lasts 5 weeks, one day each week. Free consultation is also provided at our office and at the farming sites. We are building a website to support farmers during ASC application.
VF: What did Aquafish do to get ready for these jobs?
Mr Hoang Ba Nghi: Aquafish is providing training and consultation services associated with international standards such as BRC, IFS, GlobalGAP, ASC, CFM, ISO17025, ISO14000, SA8000, OHS AS18000, MSC, and BAP/ACC, etc. Our customers are seafood processors, Pangasius, black tiger prawn, vannamei farmers, aquatic feed producers, quarantine and quality control experts, etc. Our partners include Intertek Viet Nam, SGS, BV, DNV, TUV, IMO, Control Union, VINACERT, VILAS, and AOV, etc.
Seafood companies are facing hiking input costs. To help them, Aquafish is currently working with the government and international certification bodies in Viet Nam to subsidize the training and consultation cost as well assessment and certification fees for ASC and some other sets of standards. Please visit the website www.aquafishvietnam.com or email: email@example.com for more details.
VF . Thank you
Complied by NGOC DIEP