Seafood Export Prospects

3:03:46 PM | 7/8/2011

Most Vietnamese seafood exporters made rising profits in the first six months of 2011. The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), Vietnam earned more than US$2.5 billion from seafood export in the first half of 2011 - a record high in a six-month period. This is not only a good sign for the fisheries industry but also a driving force for the national economy to achieve more successes in the last months of the year.
Impressive growths
Mr Nguyen Dinh Hoe, VASEP General Secretary, said export values to all markets positively increased. Exports to the European Union (EU), the United States (US), South Korea, ASEAN, Mexico and Canada saw double-digit year on year growths in both volume and value, ranging from 23 percent to 68 percent. In addition, Vietnam witnessed impressive growths in most primary exported seafood products like shrimp (up 7.5 percent in volume and 36 percent in value); tra fish (up 4.7 percent in volume and 24.7 percent in value); and tuna (up 11.1 percent in volume and 34.3 percent in value). According to experts, world economic development remains complicated in the remaining months of the year but the seafood demand will continues to rise. With a drop in fish supplies in many countries, Vietnam's seafood export is expected to bring home over US$5 billion in 2011.
According to the fisheries sector development orientation for the period till 2020 adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the fisheries sector will continue to a leading light in the cause of industrialisation and modernisation of agriculture and rural areas. The entire aquatic processing industry is managed effectively and professionally, using modern and advanced technologies, to build up brands and strengthen reputation on domestic and international markets. Vietnam will strive to keep hold of three important export markets, namely the EU, Japan and the US, which account for 60 - 65 percent of Vietnam’s total seafood export value. At the same time, the country will promote exports to potential markets like Eastern Europe, ASEAN, Southern Europe, the Middle East, South America, China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia. According to industry experts, Vietnam is now catching 2 million tonnes of sea fish, of which 490,000 tonnes will be processed for export.
Challenges ahead
The Vietnamese fisheries sector is facing numerous difficulties and challenges although it has important foundations for development like favourable natural conditions, consistent policies, supports of authorities and expertise units, rich experience of farmers in culturing high-valued fish.
Material shortage for processing and export remains a thorny problem for Vietnam. Reports sent by local authorities show that many large processing facilities are short of raw materials.
Hence, processing plants usually operate below capacity. In addition, baby fish supply is not enough for culturing, leading to a surge in price of fishes. Aquaculture is meeting with complex difficulties arising from growing feed prices, high borrowing rates and hard access credit sources.
In spite of facing many obstacles, the Vietnamese fisheries sector is forecast to continue maintain high export growth in the remaining time of the year. According to experts, if seafood exporters want to keep up growth momentums, they must minimise production costs. Meanwhile, according to VASEP, seafood is a major forex earner for Vietnam; hence, making profit is not an ultimate purpose but production and export expansion. The association also recommended aquatic companies to develop material sources in the coming time and apply international quality standards to their production process in order to make inroads in international markets more easily.
Anh Phuong