Mekong Delta shrimp exporters shrug off COVID problems

Wednesday, Aug 11, 2021 07:54

A shrimp processing plant in Ca Mau City. Mekong Delta provinces’ shrimp exports remain robust despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. — Photo

Shrimp businesses in the Mekong Delta, the country’s main producer and exporter of the crustacean, have been able to sustain both despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ca Mau City has the largest number of shrimp processing and exporting businesses in the delta.

Nguyen Thanh Phuong, head of the city’s Economy Department, said 14 businesses had registered to have more than 6,000 employees living on their premises to continue with production, with some large businesses even renting hotels and kindergartens for accommodation.

In Bac Lieu Province, seafood processing businesses have huge payrolls and so arranging accommodation is more challenging, according to Phan Van Sau, director of the province Department of Industry and Trade.

But with the pandemic under control, the province only seeks to ensure businesses comply with all preventive measures, and so the number of on-site staff at a given time has been declining.

If the pandemic worsens, local authorities would consider temporarily closing businesses that could not comply with safety regulations, he said.

According to many delta provinces, the prices of raw shrimp have been fluctuating, dropping by up to VND10,000 (US$0.43) per kilogramme at the start of August when provinces extended social distancing.

Amid the pandemic, harvesting, trading and transportation of products have been affected, processing plants have had to cut down on worker numbers, which has caused output to fall, and containers are often stuck at ports and inspection checkpoints.

Nevertheless, the country’s shrimp exports in the first seven months of the year increased by 15.5 per cent year-on-year to around 240,000 tonnes.

Revenues grew by 16 per cent to US$2.19 billion.

Export to the US, Japan and the EU grew sharply.

According to the Viet Nam Industry and Trade Information Centre, global demand for shrimp is on the rise, especially in large markets.

With supply from other countries taking a hit from the pandemic, Viet Nam’s exports in the next few months are likely to rise enormously due to the numerous free trade agreements it has and its production remaining steady.

Shrimp exports from delta provinces will remain abundant due to the many sales contracts businesses there have signed, but rising transport costs and potential COVID-related complications remain major challenges, according to many provinces.

Viet Nam targets shrimp exports of $4 billion this year. — VNS

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