OVER ONE YEAR AFTER THE BANKRUPTCY OF MANY PROCESSING AND EXPORT COMPANIES IN VIETNAM PANGASIUS INDUSTRY, WHICH WERE COMPOUNDED WITH DECREASING EXPORTS DUE TO ANTIDUMPING DUTY, LACK OF RAW MATERIAL SUPPLY AND CAPITAL, APPROPRIATE MEASURES ARE URGENTLY NEEDED TO HELP THE FISH DEVELOP SUSTAINABLY.
Currently, a draft of the Decree on pangasius production and export has been developed by authorized agencies in cooperation with stakeholders, including fish farmers and companies, in order to set up a legal framework for production and trading activities in the industry.
According to the draft, production of commercial pangasius has to satisfy these following requirements: fish farms have to be under the production planning approved by provincial People’s Committees;fish farms are required to be registered with local aquaculture agencies on farmingarea, time for farming and fish output. By December 31st2014, all fish farmers are obligated to be certified to meet VietGAP standards or other international standards recognized by Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
Fish exportersmust own processing plants meeting requirements regulated in the Decree. Or they have processing or supply contracts with export companies having processing facilities which meet the mentioned requirements.
Developing a sustainable pangasius value chain
In addition to a new legal framework, a community project on sustainably developing Vietnam pangasius industry, titled “Establishing a Sustainable Pangasius supply chain in Vietnam” (SUPA) has been carried out by Vietnam Cleaner Production Centre (VNCPC) in cooperation with Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), WWF Vietnam and WWF Austria on August 2nd2013. The project is realized in the 2013 - 2017 period with total investment of nearly EUR2.4 million.
SUPA focuses on strengthening the capacity of Vietnam pangasius industry towards a more responsible production in order to improve the quality of products, mitigate environmental impacts, as well as reduce production costs. The project also shares information and offer technical assistances to medium and small enterprises and household fish farmers to help them apply current sustainable standards like ASC and GlobalGAP, enhancing competitiveness of Vietnam pangasius products in the global market.
Truong Dinh Hoe, VASEP’s General Secretary, shared that SUPA planned to set up a model fish farm to bring modern technologies to local farmers, leading to cost-effective production. A training centre will also be established in Can Tho University to provide farmers with training courses on fish breeding, quality control and market information gathering. In particular, fish farmers are trained to undertake negotiations with foreign buyers to gain business profits.
By the completion of the project, at least 70 percent of the beneficiary companies will reach their target to develop medium and large pangasius production and processing chains; 30 percent of small feed processors and fish farms involve in Resources Efficiency and Cleaner Production (RE-CP) method. Furthermore, there will be at least 50 percent of project-participing companies will be able to provide the EU and other markets with sustainable pangasius products meeting standards like ASC.
“Currently, many foreign importers are interested in pangasius products certified by ASC and GlobalGAP. Since the end of December 2012, some retailers in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, the U.K. and Italy have stopped sourcing more pangasius fillets from importers to prepare for the introduction of ASC-labeled fish products into these markets. This is great opportunity for Vietnamese pangasius companies to develop their market shares in European countries, increasing the prices for exported fishes,” said Mr. Hoe