Provinces seek out Gov't help for rice, tra fish production
CAN THO (VNS) — Authorities in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta have asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to list rice and tra fish as two of the key items in the government's trade-promotion programme.
The progamme helps promote products in export markets by providing funds to industry associations, trade-promotion agencies and corporations.
Every year, the Ministry of Industry and Trade draws up a list of industries that have been chosen to receive help from the government.
Delta authorities made their request at a seminar held on Wednesday by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Can Tho City People's Committee in Can Tho.
Seminar participants said that rice and tra catfish, the Delta's key products, had faced price declines during bumper harvests, and that farmers, including shrimp breeders, lacked capital for production.
In addition, tra fish farmers have suffered severe financial losses, and shrimp farmers are facing disease outbreaks.
Most shrimp and tra fish processors are facing a shortage of materials for production because farmers had been cutting back on production because of losses.
Participants at the seminar said it was difficult for rice farmers to achieve a profit of 30 per cent.
According to the seminar participants, regional investment policies for rice and tra fish have not matched the potential of these two products.
In the first nine months of the year, seafood exports have brought in US$4.5 billion, up 4.3 per cent against the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
However, the export value of shrimp and tra fish fell by 3.9 per cent and 1.8 per cent, respectively. As a result, the seafood sector might not meet its target of exporting $6.5 billion worth of products this year, according to the ministry.
At another seminar, held in Can Tho on Wednesday, participants said exports had declined because of disease outbreaks among shrimp, processors' capital shortages, and unhealthy competition among seafood exporters.
Speaking at the seminar on sustainable seafood development and exports, Nguyen Van Khoi, deputy director of Soc Trang Province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said more than VND4 trillion ($190 million) had been lost in his province during the 2011-12 shrimp season because of disease outbreaks.
Among Delta provinces, Soc Trang has suffered the heaviest losses from disease outbreaks during the 2011-12 season.
Vu Van Tam, deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, agreed that the seafood sector had experienced disease outbreaks and a price decline for tra fish.
He said the ministry had asked the Prime Minister to issue a decree on the managing and exporting of tra fish.
The government has agreed with a request from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to help the sustainable development of shrimp production and exports by allocating more money for promotions and new programmes to develop aquatic strains.
Besides the State investment for irrigation and infrastructure for the seafood sector, Tam said that more funds should be sought from other investors, including official development assistance loans, foreign direct investment and other international loans. — VNS