HCM CITY (VNS)— Shrimp production has declined in recent years because of outbreaks of disease, falling demand from importers and lack of capital for production.
Few farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta have not begun shrimp production this year as they are still recovering from losses during the last crop.
The Viet Nam Association of Seafood Export and Processing (VASEP) said that the total yield of shrimp this year would be lower than 200,000 tonnes, a drop of 13 per cent compared to last year's.
Last year, the country had 100,000ha of shrimp production damaged because of disease, leading to financial losses and higher bank debts for farmers.
In addition, VASEP said the import needs of Japan and Korea had declined, while exports of Vietnamese shrimp to the US are currently being subject to an anti-dumping petition filed by the US' Department of Commerce.
There is also fierce competition from other shrimp exporters like Thailand, Indonesia, Ecuador and India.
India sells shrimp to Japan at $8.6 a kilo, while Vietnamese shrimp is sold for US$11.2 a kilo.
Truong Dinh Hoe, VASEP's general secretary, said the industry was beset by several problems, including disease, competition in buying pre-processed shrimp from Chinese dealers, lower demand from Japanese and Korean markets, and increasing competition from other exporters.
The General Department of Seafood is pessimistic about the challenges it has to overcome. Pham Anh Tuan, deputy director of the department, said that planning for production was still weak and disease control was not being done properly.
Meanwhile, shrimp fries for production cannot be controlled, and thus, threats from disease and the sudden death of shrimp en masse could not be prevented.
The department is scheduled to start a campaign to check the substances used in shrimp feed.
Another problem facing the industry is lack of capital. Vietnamese exporters said they were finding it difficult to expand markets because of a shortage of money. — VNS