The reviewing conference on January 6, 2012
The seafood exports hit all time high US$6.11 billion in 2011, up 21% year-on-year and 300% compared to a decade ago, Mr Truong Dinh Hoe, VASEP General Secretary said. Pangasius exports increased by 26.5% y-o-y to US$1.8 billion, far higher the earlier expectations. Average export price was over US$3/kg.
Despite the mass mortality in the first quarter of 2011, shrimp exports climbed to over US$2.4 billion, mostly because of the contribution of vannamei prawn, which hit US$700 million. Except for bivalve, exports of other seafood items, i.e. tuna and cephalopods all experienced remarkable increase compared to the previous years.Further grow expected
VASEP Chairman Tran Thien Hai said the seafood exports will further increase if the industry can overcome the shortage of raw materials, food safety and quality issues and interest conflicts in the coming years.
”Seafood exports of Viet Nam have huge potential to further expand. Such targets as US$6.5billion earnings in 2012 and US$10 billion in 2020 can be achieved even before schedule,”said Hai.
Ms Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, Director of Hai Nam Co. Ltd., a leading sea product processor in Viet Nam, said the marine resources of Viet Nam is still abundant. If the country’s fishing fleet is upgraded to exploit the offshore area, sea fish will not just make up 30% of the total export value as it does now.
Mr Le Van Quang, Chairman cum CEO of Minh Phu Corp attributed Vietnamese shrimp companies’ success to advanced management sollutions, cost reduction efforts and integration of the production chain. Although the price of raw materials and other inputs in Viet Nam is 10-20% higher than the neighbouring countries, shrimp producers are still able to maintain their competitive edge, Quang said.
Former Fisheries Vice Minister Nguyen Thi Hong Minh said shetook charge of drafting the sector’s seafood export program twice.
”In both times, all the targets were achieved before the schedule,” she said.
The comment was echoed by Vice Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Vu Van Tam, who acknowledged the key role the food safety and quality management system in the industry’s fordamible performance.
Truong Dinh Hoe, VASEP General SecretaryChallenge lie ahead
Despite the remarkable achievements last year, seafood processors and exporters keep voicing their concerns about the capital flows, raw materials, and food safety assurance in 2012.
Quang said the export value increased but high raw material price left very thin margins for seafood producers.
Top nine seafood exporters of shrimp, Pangasius and marine fishes received merit cups
Ineffective planning and poormanagement are to be blamed, particularly with regard to aquaculture production, broodstock/juvenile quality, and feed manuafacturing, Quang said.
Tran Van Linh, Chairman cum CEO of Thuan Phuoc Corp. holds the same opinion. ”The export value increases but the returns are falling drastically,” Linh said. ”Rising input costs are one thing. But what is more important is the lack of supporting industry.” According to Linh, most value-added elements of the products are imported, such as the juveniles, feed in aquaculture or the coatings, flavors in processing.
Ms Thu Sac said the fishing industry in Viet Nam is lagging behind. Most of the vessels are small and operating mainly in costal area. There is a lack of preservation equipment for the catch.
Foreign vessels are poaching in Viet Nam’s territorial waters while foreign buyers are illegally amassing the local raw materials, she added
However, food safetymanagement is the most burning issue, the conference heard. Mr Duong Ngoc Minh, Chairman of Hung Vuong Corp urged the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to strengthen the inspection of fish producers, hatcheries, and feed manuafacturers.
Seafood exporters are charged with all the testing and inspection burdens while the food safety problems may sterm from raw material production stage, Minh said.
The current interuptive management approach is incurring more testing costs for seafood exporters while the effect is low. ”It is nessessary to apply the whole production chain management approach”, Minh said.
MARD was also urged to streamline the administrative procedures and increase the socialization of public service with regard to the food safety inspection.
When the export increased, NAFIQAD also became bigger. However, its performance was not improved, Ms Thu Sac said.
Therefore, there should be a clear dividing line between the management authority and service provider, said Ms Thu Sac.
Thai Thanh Duong
Photo: DOAN TRAN DUY
Compiled by THAO LINH