Viet Nam News
CẦN THƠ – The International Collaborating Centre for Aquaculture and Fisheries Sustainability and Oxfam have kicked off a project for sustainable and equitable shrimp production and value chain development in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta.
The project, worth 2.5 million euros and funded by the EU, promotes sustainable economic prosperity and poverty reduction in the provinces of Sóc Trăng, Bạc Liêu and Cà Mau.
Small- and medium-sized processors, shrimp producers and local residents will benefit from the project, which will end in February 2020.
Alejandro Montalban, Minister Counsellor of the Delegation of the European Union to Việt Nam, said the project would contribute to efficient use of resources, responsible production supply chains and practices, improved social and environmental conditions, and reduced waste.
Besides technical support, the project will work with stakeholders to help small-scale shrimp breeders and small- and medium-sized shrimp processors access adequate financing.
The aim is to give shrimp farmers and processors a stronger voice when negotiating with other participants in the value chain.
Speaking at a seminar held in Cần Thơ on Wednesday, Nguyễn Lê Hoa, deputy country director of Oxfam in Việt Nam, said about one million Vietnamese earn a living from shrimp production, and 80 per cent of them are small-scale farmers.
Shrimp production nationwide provides three million jobs in shrimp processing plants, she said.
However, the boom in growth of unzoned shrimp cultivation in recent years has caused pollution of fresh water resources, destruction of submerged forests and depletion of fisheries resources.
Shrimp breeders had suffered losses because of disease outbreaks, and unguaranteed quality of shrimp fries and feed, she said.
Many shrimp breeders said the quality of shrimp fries and medicine for treating shrimp diseases had not been strictly managed.
They said that shrimp fry sellers were not responsible for shrimp fry deaths or illness as the responsible agencies had not issued sanctions.
Ngô Công Luận, director of the October 14 Agriculture and Fisheries Co-operative in Sóc Trăng Province, said his co-operative members had suffered losses even though they breed shrimp under Vietnamese Good Agriculture Practices (VietGAP).
Though the cost of breeding shrimp under VietGap is higher, shrimp processors buy the co-operative’s shrimp at a price equal to shrimp bred by traditional methods.
Trần Quốc Tuấn, chairman of the April 30 Co-operative Team in Bạc Liêu Province, said that shrimp breeders need a large amount of capital for their business.
In years when they suffer losses, they cannot pay back bank loans or borrow new loans to breed shrimp for the next crop, he said.
Pham Xuân Hoà, deputy head of the State Bank of Việt Nam’s Banking Strategy Institute, said the Government and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should organise the shrimp sector into chains. Banks could then provide loans, he said.
Huỳnh Kim Tước, director of the HCM City Energy Saving Centre, said the centre had surveyed 100 seafood companies across the country and found that productivity was lower than companies in the region.
Of the surveyed companies, 70 used low- or mid-tier technologies, so costs were double of those of Thai seafood companies.
Vietnamese companies had not paid sufficient attention to building brand names and marketing strategies, and had created few products with added value, he said. – VNS