|Workers of KTC Food Kien Giang process tuna for exports. Kien Giang Province plans to export seafood worth US$170 million in 2015. — VNA/VNS Photo Phuong Vy
KIEN GIANG (VNS) — Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kien Giang plans to export seafood worth US$170 million this year, even though the sector is facing significant obstacles, local authorities said.
Last year, the total seafood cultivated and exploited in the province amounted to 635,000 tonnes, 9.3 percent higher than in the previous year. The quantity of shrimp reared alone reached more than 51,000 tonnes, a year-on-year increase of 23 percent.
While demand for many products with high economic value, such as cuttlefish and some kinds of larger fish, tended to rise, seafood export revenue fell by nearly 30 per cent year-on-year at less than $120 million.
According to Vice Chairman of the People's Committee of Kien Giang Mai Anh Nhin, the situation can be attributed to tough economic conditions, as global markets continued to see unpredictable fluctuations and the involvement of increasing trade barriers that focus on product quality.
"The imposition of anti-dumping duties on Vietnamese products in large markets caused many enterprises to fail in their efforts to seek export markets, although they produced significant volumes of goods," he said. "Currently, this is the biggest concern for seafood exports, not only in Kien Giang but all over the country."
Nhin added that some firms still faced difficulties in seeking capital despite banks having slashed interest rates¯since they still had limited management capacity in the face of rising costs and unstable market prices.
Moreover, Director of the Kien Giang Seafood Joint Stock Company Nguyen Viet Cuong observed that even though the government had launched financial support packages, many enterprises found it difficult to meet the requirements of banks, which ask them to have stable export markets and prove to have no bad debts in consecutive years.
Cuong further noted that almost all major markets in the European Union have not completely recovered, while exports to China and South Korea had slowed due to tensions in the East Sea last year; exports to Japan had become less competitive due to the imposition of stricter quality control measures in the market.
Seafood processing factories also bore more burdens from increasing electricity rates, breeding costs and wages, he added.
In addition, Director of the Provincial Department of Industry and Trade Huynh Van Ganh pointed out that to meet the export target of 2015, the province will strengthen links between enterprises and farmers in key shrimp- and rice-producing areas, such as West Hau River and U Minh Thuong.
This would help ensure a stable supply of material for seafood exports, besides measures to boost shrimp breeding in industrialised models. The agency would also co-operate with the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry to hasten the certification of product origins to ease procedures for exporters.
Furthermore, the People's Committee had issued specific policies to boost the development of seafood processing and export by 2020.
Legal entities that are established in accordance with the enterprise and cooperative laws - with projects coming into operation between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2017 - will enjoy loan interest rate support if they apply advanced technology in the provincial seafood sector.
The committee will offer interest rate support within three years after the projects come into effect at levels of 50 percent for the first year, 40 percent for the second, and 30 percent for the third. These will be applied to bank loans not exceeding VND50 billion ($2.38 million) per project. — VNS