|Shrimp production at Thong Thuan Company. Photo: TT|
Exports fell deeply
On May 24, 2023, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) organized a seminar called “For a sustainable shrimp industry” with the participation of many leading shrimp exporters of Vietnam, management agencies, scientists to find solutions for breeding stock development, prepare raw export materials preparations.
Truong Dinh Hoe, General Secretary of VASEP, said that this year’s export target of the seafood industry with a turnover of 10 billion USD would be difficult because, by the end of April 2023, seafood exports have only reached over 2 0.6 billion USD, 31% lower than the same period in 2022. The reason is that the inflation situation has limited the consumption demands and decreased sharply the import demand, putting pressure on seafood enterprises. Due to the plunge in the consumption market, export prices dropped sharply while domestic production and processing were burdened with high production costs, especially feed, seed and other basic costs.
As one of the key export products, the shrimp industry is facing great challenges, in which the decline from the US market – the main market of Vietnam’s shrimp industry – is making businesses worried.
Mr Ho Quoc Luc, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sao Ta Food Joint Stock Company, shared that most recently, the price of commercial shrimp decreased daily, even three times a day. Besides, inventories in major markets decreased, but not strongly. Importers and distributors must sell at low prices to quickly turn capital, a significant factor that causes consumer prices to decrease. Since the beginning of the second quarter, shrimp from farming countries in the Southern Hemisphere, such as Ecuador and Indonesia, have entered the crop early, offering early as usual, creating more pressure on supply and increasing the price reduction intensity.
Solve from the seed stage
According to businesses, overcoming the current difficulties, especially the source of raw materials is the prerequisite to lifting every obstacle in the chain, which must be initiated from the seed stage.
From a processor’s perspective, Mr Truong Dinh Hoe said that Vietnam has a very large shrimp hatchery production base. However, out of more than 2,000 hatcheries, only more than half are qualified enough and have been approved.
Thus, although many shrimp seed establishments do not meet the standards for farming and production according to the regulations, they still put the source of unqualified shrimp seed into farming, which will affect the output and quality of exported goods. As a result, the issue of traceability for shrimp seed needs to be taken care of to ensure a quality shrimp source, Mr Hoe said.
According to Mr Ho Hoang Anh, Chairman of Binh Thuan Shrimp Association, the mainstay of the shrimp industry is export, but businesses are facing many challenges. The shrimp industry has many big problems, such as a lack of focusing plans and without investment in specialized service infrastructure. Moreover, standards have not been well controlled; shrimp seed production has not been well managed in terms of product demand for widespread development. Seed production has no standards, so production is unstable, the achievement rate is low, quality is difficult to control, and production costs are high.
From a business perspective, Mr Ho Quoc Luc said that the most demanding issue for breeding stock is to improve the success rate of breeding. As a result, the breed becomes a hot element. The hatcheries must ensure the seed is disease-free, and the authorities must control the low-quality shrimp seed that does not “float” in the market. Putting the difficulty on the seed supply chain is not difficult, but now the breeder’s role has become too important.
According to Mr Luc, shrimp farming is facing difficulties. Firstly, shrimp is early infected from brood stock, which can reduce the success rate of farming and make farmers reluctant to stock up. Secondly, the price of commercial shrimp dropped sharply continuously, possibly up to 30%, which means that it exceeds the profit if the farming is successful, which means that the average harvest of shrimp is sure to hold the loss. “If you hold the loss, who dares to raise? Which agent dares to invest in farming households, making small farmers more deadlocked”, – Mr Luc analyzed.
Mr Le Van Quang, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Minh Phu Group, said that a project on: “Improving the competitiveness of Vietnam’s shrimp industry” is the key to sustainable support. It is urgent to develop high-quality, multi-certified shrimp seed production zones and a low-cost shrimp farming process suitable for each farming model and adequate for each region of Vietnam.