According to the Vietnam Sea Culture Association, exports of marine aquaculture produce are predicted to reach US$12-13 billion (VND 276-299 trillion) by 2020 and US$30-35 billion (VND 690-805 trillion) by 2030. To achieve their goals, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has approved a project to increase competitiveness in seafood sector with financial support from the State Budget and foreign businesses, to restructure the sector towards improving its value added products.
Aqua farming in Vietnam
Since 2012, Vietnam has been among the top 10 marine aqua farming countries with increasing exports. Marine fish output has increased from 15,700 tonnes in 2010 to 28,300 tonnes in 2016 with Khánh Hòa, Quảng Ninh, Kiên Giang and Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu emerging as the leading producers. The country’s long coastline of over 3,000 kilometers and numerous islands offer excellent opportunities for marine aquaculture farmers. With the growing global population, demand for seafood-based protein is expected to grow by 1.7 times by 2050, with farmed items accounting for 62 percent, which opens up opportunities for Vietnam’s farmers.
Current challenges faced by the industry are the small scale of operations, lack of technology, lagging efficiency of supply chains, and inadequate policy support from government needed to attract investments.
With the growing per capita consumption of major export markets such as US and China, Vietnam needs to increase food safety, sustainability, social compliance, and traceability standards if it wants to stay competitive.
Government support for the seafood industry
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) recently approved a project to make seafood sector more competitive, with financial support worth US$4.47 million (VND 102 billion) from government and foreign businesses. The State Budget will provide US$1.75 million (VND 40 billion), while the remaining US$2.73 million (VND 62.2 billion), will be supported by international businesses.
Along with the funding, the project will also be revising regulations for imports of seafood destined for export processing, certificates of origins rules, preservation methods, and custom policy as per international standards. In addition, regulations and checks on seafood breeding, feeding, processing, and export packaging will also increase.
The overhauling of regulations is expected to increase foreign investment for development of the freshwater, brackish water, and saline water aquaculture sector leading to high-quality seafood breeds, probiotics, and feed. An increase in investments will also develop the offshore fishing capabilities with technology upgrades for existing vessels and introduction of modern equipment.
Future prospects for aquaculture in Vietnam
Going forward, as competition increases and international standards become more stringent, the government needs to be more aggressive in attracting investments and increasing quality of produce. Marine farms and activities should be made eligible for preferential credit to foster growth. Upgrading existing feed facilities and building large-scale breeding stock production units are imperative to increase production of value-based products.
The government should also set up an effective marine environment monitoring and regulation program to ensure regeneration of marine eco-systems. These measures will increase the scale of production, develop value chains, and help in expanding exports and domestic markets.
This article was first published May 2017.
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