HCM CITY — The seafood industry is hopeful of achieving the Government's export target of US$6.5 billion this year despite the many difficulties it anticipates.
|Workers at the Thong Thuan Seafood Factory in Ninh Thuan Province process shrimps for export. This year, the seafood industry hopes to reach a target of $6.5 billion in exports. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
Speaking at a review meeting in HCM City last week, Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said the industry expected to earn $2.5 billion from shrimp exports since global demand, especially in large markets like Japan, the US, mainland China, and South Korea, remained high.
It targeted another $1.8-2 billion from tra exports and $2 billion from other products, he said.
But to achieve the targets, the industry had to adopt measures to overcome challenges like the shortage of materials for processing and to improve quality, food hygiene, and safety, and expand export markets, he said.
VASEP chairman Tran Thien Hai warned that the ongoing economic crisis could affect global seafood demand, while importing countries could increase food hygiene and safety requirements.
Thus, expanding market share would be a big challenge, he said, adding that businesses must prepare to cope with the challenges.
The association sought Government support for setting up a quality control system for the whole production chain and implementing trade promotion programmes in overseas markets.
Hoe said the country should have a zoning plan for aquaculture development, ensure environmental protection and better oversight of breed stock, feed quality, and ban indiscriminate use of veterinary drugs to ensure hygiene and safety and stable supply of raw materials.
Use of modern technologies was imperative to increase supply and quality of raw materials to reduce costs and add value to exports, he said.
The association urged firms to co-operate with foreign partners to exploit fisheries sources and store them abroad before shipping to Viet Nam for processing.
Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, director of the Binh Thuan-based Hai Nam Company, said with near-shore natural resources becoming exhausted, the Government should support fishermen to shift to offshore fishing.
Seafood exports reached a record $6.1 billion last year, following a rise of 21 per cent, exceeding the target of $5.7 billion, the association reported.
Shrimp exports fetched $2.4 billion compared to $2 billion in 2010.
Viet Nam exported shrimp to 91 countries and territories, with the US, Japan, and the EU being the main markets, accounting for more than 65.8 per cent of revenues from shrimp.
Exports to Russia, South Korea, and ASEAN member-countries increased sharply last year.
Viet Nam also exported more than 600,000 tonnes of tra fish for $1.8 billion, a year-on-year increase of 26.5 per cent in value.
Exports of tuna, cuttlefish, and octopus also spurted.
But Tran Van Linh, director of the Thuan Phuoc Seafood Company, said the higher exports last year were due to the rise in global prices.
"We must review the quality of our growth," he said, referring to the fact that margins plunged despite the record exports. — VNS