Which direction for pangasius?

The Covid-19 epidemic has significantly affected the pangasius production, processing and export industry in particular, the Mekong Delta in general, when the Chinese market still accounted for a large proportion. However, this is an opportunity to build a more sustainable path for this particular fish.

Bright spot in difficulty

Despite great expectations, in 2019, Vietnam's pangasius export turnover reached only 1.9 billion USD, down 12% compared to 2018. The goal of reviving the pangasius industry in 2020 is challenged when right from the beginning of the year. , complicated situation of Covid-19 epidemic caused great impact.

Statistics of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) show that, in January 2020, the country's seafood export was estimated at US $ 556 million, down 25% over the same period in 2019, of which exports Pangasius reached only 75 million USD, down 64%.

The fact that China is the center of the Covid-19 epidemic is causing many difficulties for pangasius exporting enterprises (enterprises), when in 2019, this is the largest pangasius export market of Vietnam, with a total value of 622. , 7 million USD, accounting for 31% of total export value.

With stable demand, good prices, diversified types of imported goods and diverse market segments, many Vietnamese pangasius processing enterprises still consider China as a strategic market in 2020. Therefore, When Covid-19 epidemic happened complicatedly, trade activities between Vietnam and China were interrupted, Pangasius was the most affected item.

Deputy General Director of Nam Viet Joint Stock Company (Navico) Nguyen Van Vy said that, for Pangasius enterprises having many export markets, the average reduction is currently 30%, only for China market. to 100%. “For fish of over 1kg / head (mainly exported to China), it is almost impossible to export.

For fish less than 1kg / fish, still exported normally to Europe and America. We forecast that Pangasius export will face difficulties at least until the second quarter of 2020. If the situation of Covid-19 epidemic is well controlled, the pangasius industry can recover gradually from the third and fourth quarters and fully recover by the end of 2020, ”said Mr. Vy.

The representative of Navico said that although the Chinese market is still facing difficulties, there is also prospect of opening for Vietnam pangasius industry when the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) takes effect, in when the United States recognized the Vietnam Pangasius food safety control system that meets these export standards for this fastidious country. “The European Union (EU) and the United States consume pangasius from 0.6kg to less than 1kg / fish. Therefore, fish should not be raised too large to meet export requirements "- Mr. Vy noted.

Prepare for recovery conditions

It can be seen that EVFTA is a new bright spot in Vietnam's seafood export picture, including tra fish. As noted in January 2020, while the majority of export markets declined, Vietnam's seafood export turnover to the EU increased 13% over the same period, reaching 127 million USD.

In order to solve difficulties for the pangasius industry, VASEP said that businesses need to regularly update information from Chinese partners to enlist the clearance of pre-ordered orders as soon as possible, minimize maintenance costs. , Warehouse.

Depending on the actual situation, enterprises take initiative in adjusting the processing plan and inform the farming areas to adjust the seasonality, the output of raw materials accordingly, avoiding the excess of raw materials and causing damage to people. farming and enterprise.

In the long run, good preparation is needed to take advantage of export opportunities in higher value markets but require stricter standards. In particular, the first deciding factor is seed quality. This is a factor that directly affects the productivity, farming costs as well as the quality of raw pangasius material.

Currently, along with efforts to solve difficulties for the Pangasius export market, An Giang is focusing on implementing the project of 3-level high-quality Pangasius breeding in the Mekong Delta region, which plays an important role of major enterprises. . Mr. Vu Duc Tri (Enterprise Management Director of Vietnam Australia Group) said that Vietnam-Australia Pangasius Joint Stock Company (a member of Vietnam-Australia Group) is focusing on investing in the project "Public Aquaculture Seed Production Zone. high technology ”in Vinh Hoa islet (Tan Chau town, An Giang).

“Expanding markets and investing in seed quality is a way to solve the long-standing inadequacies of Vietnam's pangasius industry. If choosing the right direction, pangasius export can reach USD 4-5 billion / year, rather than around USD 2 billion / year as last time ”- Mr. Tri assessed.

In order to contribute to solving the quality problem, Vietnam Australia has invested in 10,000 pangasius stocks of G2 gilts (about to enter G3 stage). In 2020, it is expected to produce 20-25 million fingerlings. The company's goal is to provide 1 billion fingerlings / year to the market in the coming years.

“The company has reached an agreement on electricity supply for the Vinh Hoa project area, which is expected to be energized by the end of March 2020, creating favorable conditions for expanding production scale. The project applies a program of producing high-tech fingerlings in membrane houses, helping to produce year-round, overcome weather effects and seasonality.

At the same time, the technology was researched to provide natural food for fingerlings. This is a condition for the company to maintain the supply of quality fingerlings all year round for the farming areas, avoiding the shortage of seasonal breeds ”- Mr. Tri affirmed.

Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Si Lam said that promoting new markets, investing in seed quality and strictly managing farming areas according to export standards are directions for Pangasius products that An Giang is focusing on implementation. If there is comprehensive support from the Central, Vietnam's pangasius industry is expected to overcome the precarious situation, promote the advantages of the endemic fish species of the Mekong River, which is bestowed by nature to the Mekong Delta.

(Theo báo An Giang)