Tra fish industry faces challenges in production and export

Friday, Jun 14, 2019 09:00

A corner of tra fish processing line at the Multinational Investment and Development Joint Stock Company of Sao Mai Group. — VNA/VNS Photo Vu Sinh

The domestic tra fish industry has faced challenges regarding the purchasing price on the domestic market as well exports due to high tariffs on the product in the US market, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

In May, the purchasing price of tra fish continued to decline in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta region, especially An Giang and Dong Thap provinces, the two largest tra fish producers and exporters in the region, said the ministry.

The tra fish price in the region dropped by VND1,000 per kilo to VND23,500-24,000 at the end of May and continued falling to VND20,000-21,000 per kilo.

In An Giang, the price decreased by VND2,000-3,500 per kilo to VND21,000-23,000 at the end of May.

Nguyen Thanh Binh, director of Chau Thanh Seafood Production and Service Cooperative in Dong Thap Province, said at present the price for raw tra fish in the Mekong Delta has dropped to VND20,500 per kilo – the lowest in the past two years.

According to MARD's Department of Farm Produce Processing and Development, the low price is due to firms raising their own fish instead of buying from farmers. Processing companies have not signed any more export contracts.

Last year, Viet Nam recorded a tra fish export value of US$2.3 billion. With the high export value, farmers gained profits of about VND10,000 per kilo.

The high profit makes farmers to increase supply, he said, which has hit the purchasing price.

The reduction in the price of tra fish has also impacted the demand and price of fingerlings. For instance, the price for fingerlings of tra fish dropped to VND20,000-25,000 per kilo from VND70,000 at the beginning of this year.

The ministry also said the tra fish industry has seen a reduction in exports since April after gaining at the start of the year, especially in exports to the US.

However, the industry could expect to see more export opportunities to 10 member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) because local export seafood products will enjoy zero tariffs.

According to the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), in 2018, the export value of tra fish to the 10 CPTPP countries reached $328.3 million, up 17.3 per cent year on year.

Now, Mexico is the fifth largest importer of Vietnamese tra fish, after mainland China, Hong Kong, the EU, US and ASEAN. The export value of tra and basa catfish to Mexico in the first four months of this year surged 31.5 per cent year on year to $40.8 million. This is also the largest export market of Vietnamese tra fish in Latin America and in the 10 CPTPP countries.

Japan is also a promising market for local tra fish.

The total export value of Vietnamese tra fish to Japan increased by 37.6 per cent year on year in 2018 and continued growth at 38.6 per cent year on year to $8.58 million in the first four months of this year. — VNS

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