Prospects for boosting seafood exports

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Not only carProspects for boosting seafood exportsving out a niche in key export markets, Vietnamese seafood has established a solid foothold in the global export market, further evidenced by higher that average annual growth rates than most other markets.

In recent years, the seafood industry has made every effort to improve the quality of aquatic products towards gradually shifting from price competition to compete in quality.

Grasping key markets

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP), shrimp product has a dominant role to play in stimulating seafood exports Especially white-leg shrimp exports to the US and the RoK have posted double even treble digit growth.

In the first half acheter viagra of this year alone, white-leg shrimp exports rose 133% to US$1.06 billion, bringing total shrimp export revenues to nearly US$1.8 billion (up 62%), accounting for 49.5% of seafood export value. Meanwhile, shrimp output doubled from last year’s same period in which white leg shrimp output soared by 400%.

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Directorate of Fisheries Deputy Head Nguyen Huy Dien has attributed the good performance of shrimp exports to stable raw material sources and efforts to keep epidemics under control.

Prawns are still a dominant export item of Vietnam compared to other products as the country is now seen as the largest producer of black tiger shrimp in the world with stable output. High prices of tiger shrimp in the global market, particularly in Japan have helped tiger shrimp exports maintain strong growth and the Japanese market as the top market for this product with a high growth rate of 3%.

In addition to shrimp, squid, octopus, crabs and other crustaceans also experiencing relatively high growth (14-21%) thanks to growing import demand.

On the market structure, the US remains the top export market of Vietnamese seafood, accounting for 23% of total exports and this market tends to import more Vietnamese shrimp products. Seafood exports to this lucrative market are forecast to rise 37% over the same period in 2013.

Besides, the EU continues to be the second largest market for Vietnamese seafood imports, constituting nearly 18% of total export turnover. According to VASEP, Vietnam is fully able to expand EU markets because of high shrimp export growth.

Along with black tiger shrimp, white leg shrimp exports have increased dramatically in the EU market, making Vietnam become the third largest shrimp supplier after India and Ecuador.

The Republic of Korea, ASEAN and Australia are also considered potential markets for Vietnamese seafood exports. Typically, the Korean market has regained fourth place among individual seafood importers from Vietnam with a high growth rate (51%) after being relegated in 2013.

The RoK is also Vietnam’s largest squid octopus import market, making up 40% of total octopus export value.

With the higher growth of Vietnamese seafood products in tandem with growing global market demand, VASEP predicts that seafood exports will pick up in the third quarter to meet demand for year-end festive months.

Seafood export turnover is set to reach US$2.1 billion including US$1.2 billion from shrimp, 25% higher than the comparable period last year.

Shifting from price competition to quality competition

According to Hai Vuong Company Ltd Quality Control Director Nguyen Cong Bay, post-harvest tuna quality is still the thorny problem for the tuna industry.

Despite high tuna catching output, the quality is not up to export standards set by demanding markets such as the EU, Japan, resulting in an increase in canned tuna exports increase and a drop in fresh and frozen tuna.

To deal with this issue, the MARD will launch pilot projects to exploit, purchase, process and consume tuna based on value chains in three key tuna production localities- Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa to ensure the quality of tuna products.

In terms of shrimp breeding, Vietnam has effectively controlled epidemics evidenced by its efforts to quickly control early mortality syndrome (EMS) in shrimp.

However, Vietnamese shrimp exports are facing challenges in the Japanese market after Japan decided to closely inspect the quality of 100% of shrimp batches imported from Vietnam for Oxytetracyline which will affect shrimp exports to this market this year.

The Directorate of Fisheries has worked hand in hand with local inspection agencies to check the use and trading of substances that are banned for limited by import markets and provide farmers with recommendations and guidance on how to ensure the best quality in the breeding process.

Not only the Japanese market but also many other seafood export markets are imposing new non-tariff barriers targeting product quality management, particularly in the breeding, exploiting and processing process.

With strict regulations on the breeding and processing process stipulated in Decree 36, Tra fish export products are required to best meet all requirements of the global marketplaces including the US and EU which account for the lion’s share of Vietnamese catfish exports. Under the Decree, commercial fish production will be certified by good aquaculture practice VietGAP or have international certifications.

Accordingly, all Vietnamese seafood frozen processing facilities must subject to standards and conditions on food hygiene and safety and have advanced quality management systems HACCP eligible for exports to all countries from around the world.

Vietnam now has 415 seafood processing plants, accounting for over 73% of the total number of seafood processing plants on an industrial scale capable to export to Europe.

In order to better meet export market demand, the fishery industry has promoted trade promotion activities and trademarks to achieve greater market penetration for higher consumption.

From early this year, VASEP has facilitated business participation in a host of seafood fairs abroad such as Japan Foodex Fair, Seafood Expo North America (SENA), and Busan International Seafood & Fisheries Expo with the aiming of promoting Vietnamese seafood to the global market.

In addition, the fishery sector has negotiated with foreign partners on the signing of memorandums of understanding on cooperation between agencies to settle commercial disputes or remove trade barriers and facilitate export promotion activities.

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