Leaders of Dong Thap province encourage pangasius processing enterprises for export.
Exports surpassed the peak of three years
According to the assessment of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in 2022, the pangasius industry has quickly overcome difficulties; enterprises have been proactive in sourcing raw materials, taking advantage of the opportunity of global demand to increase consumption after the pandemic.
Since it has organized production, processing and export effectively, making an important contribution to achieving the overall growth target of the seafood industry. Pangasius exports in 2022 are expected to reach US $2.4 billion, up about 70% over the same period in 2021, surpassing the 2018 peak of US $2.26 billion.
The two largest pangasius export markets of Vietnam are China (accounting for 30%), and the US (accounting for 23%). In the first nine months of this year, the US imported 104,500 tons of frozen pangasius fillets, worth US $445 million, up 24% in volume and 91% in value over the same period last year. The average export price to the US reached $4.26/kg, up 53% over the same period in 2021. Besides, many other markets had good growth over the same period such as the EU, Thailand, and Mexico.
The export price of pangasius fillet to other markets increased by 28-66% on average. It can be said that the pangasius industry has thoroughly taken advantage of the market demand after the Covid-19 pandemic, especially the price opportunity, so the export value is outstanding.
According to experts, despite twenty years of participating in the export market, 99% of exported pangasius products are in the fillet and whole cut segments – products at the initial level of processing, only 1%-2% in the high value-added product segment.
As the province with the largest export volume of pangasius in the country, Mr. Huynh Minh Tuan, Vice Chairman of Dong Thap Provincial People’s Committee, said that by the end of 2022, the total production value of the province’s fishery industry reached VND 12,831 billion, in the meantime, the pangasius industry reached VND 8,232 billion, accounting for 64.1% of the total production value of the seafood industry, seafood export turnover reached US$ 985 million.
The total farming area is 2,450 ha, of which 62% are farming areas belonging to enterprises, 38% are individual farming households with input linkages and product consumption linkages with businesses within and outside the province.
The annual output is over 505,000 tons, providing over 92% of raw materials for export processing. In Dong Thap, there are 379 commercial pangasius farming areas that have been granted identification numbers for ponds with an area of over 1,627.6 hectares of water surface, of which 661.7 hectares are owned by 24 enterprises raising pangasius for export and 965.9 of individual households; applying good aquaculture practices according to VietGAP, GlobalGAP, ASC and equivalent to over 42% of the farming area.
Pressure for exports
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), pangasius is one of the main farmed objects of the seafood industry with an annual output of about 30% of the country’s total output. Pangasius farming area is about 5,700 ha, concentrated in the provinces of the Mekong Delta. In addition, the export price of pangasius fillet increased from 28 to 66% over the same period in 2021, leading to an increase in the price of raw pangasius. The purchase price of raw fish remained at 27,000 – 29,000 VND/kg, even at times kept at 30,000 – 31,000 VND/kg, about 7,000 – 10,000 VND/kg higher than in the same period in 2021. Businesses and farming establishments participating in the production and consumption chain of pangasius are profitable. As of November 30, 2022, 356 certificates of VietGAP fisheries have been issued to pangasius farming establishments with an area of 3,192 ha in 11 provinces.
In order for the pangasius industry to develop sustainably, the Prime Minister has approved the national program for aquaculture in the 2021-2030 period.
Accordingly, the main goal is to promote linkages and form the value chain of the fish industry between farmers and enterprises; rationally plan farming areas on the basis of bringing into play the advantages of each locality; building brands and strengthen trade promotion to expand export markets; application of new technologies in raising quality raw fish and processing many products of high economic value.
According to Mr. Huynh Minh Tuan, aiming to improve the value of the pangasius industry chain and develop the product industry. Pangasius export to become the main export industry of the province in a sustainable direction, the People’s Committee of Dong Thap province has issued Plan No. 309/KH-UBND on developing the pangasius industry in Dong Thap province up to 2025 in a sustainable direction.
Modernization is based on the application of advanced science and technology in production and management to improve productivity, quality, efficiency, environmental protection, and adaptation to climate change.
For the pangasius industry, Mr. Nhu Van Can, Director of the Aquaculture Department, General Department of Fisheries, proposed a number of solutions to improve the capacity of the pangasius industry such as strengthening management of production conditions and control quality, food safety in the rearing stage; continue to organize cooperation and link chains; support in building the brand name of pangasius products in order to affirm the position of Vietnamese pangasius products in the world trade market; continue to promote and introduce products to the domestic market, paying special attention to collective kitchens in industrial parks and schools.
According to Mr. Phung Duc Tien, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, in order to develop in the right direction, the pangasius industry needs to perform the planning of farming areas; allocating resources for effective seed production, rearing and processing; and expand markets. In addition, it is necessary to strengthen inspection and strictly handle the non-observance of legal regulations in pangasius farming and processing.
Along with that, facing export pressure with difficulties, the fish industry needs to actively develop, promote and introduce pangasius products to the domestic market, paying special attention to connecting pangasius production and processing enterprises with collective kitchens in industrial parks and schools to provide providing meals to ensure food safety at a reasonable cost, contributing to reducing pressure on exports.