Fresh seafood material sources at reasonable prices are increasingly difficult to obtain in Vietnam, said seafood enterprises at the Vietnam Fisheries International Exhibition (Vietfish 2012).
Ngo Binh Long, deputy general director of Agrex Saigon Foodstuffs Co., said securing materials was now his company’s priority to ensure the export of seafood to the choosy markets such as Japan, the U.S. and the European Union (EU).
“I’ve recently been to Kien Giang, where many kinds of aquatic creatures are captured, and found a severe scarcity of materials there. There are ten processing plants with a combined output capacity of some 2,000-3,000 tons a day, but material supply now only meets 10-20% of such a capacity,” said Long.
He said the material shortfall had pushed up prices of his company’s finished products, displeasing the regular customers. “The toughest problem of the company is to find fresh and cheap materials,” he stated.
The undersupply, according to Long, is not only because there are too many processing plants but also due to the “material drain” to China.
Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, vice chairwoman of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said the seafood industry had set an export turnover target of US$3 billion for 2015, meaning material supply must increase threefold, whereas the natural seafood sources of Vietnam are being depleted.
“Given the goal to sell US$3 billion worth of products to the world’s market by 2015, the key issue of material must be settled. Material and other costs have pushed up production expenses by 30%, while outputs cannot increase respectively,” said Sac.
She emphasized the need of tightening local management on Chinese traders.
“Chinese traders have made a presence in the main fishing areas from Quang Nam and Danang in central Vietnam to Kien Giang and Ca Mau in the Mekong Delta to purchase materials and compete fiercely with local enterprises,” said the chairwoman.
Speaking at Vietfish 2012, Rajitha Senaratne, Sri Lanka’s Cabinet Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, said the event offered him a chance to learn more about the seafood industry of Vietnam through visits to shrimp and tra fish processing plants, field trips to study seafood farming in Nha Trang and meetings with leaders of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Although Sri Lanka also has strength in aqua-product farming and fishing, the fact that the consumption demand of local people is rising sharply make this country a potential market for Vietnam’s seafood products, said Senaratne.
“Together with other items, I’m especially interested in Vietnam’s tra fish because Sri Lanka has not had this type of product. We may import your tra fish after this visit,” he said.
Source Saigon Times