|Processing pangasius fillets for export at the factory of Multinational Development Investment Joint Stock Company (Sao Mai Group) in Vam Cong Industrial Park, Lap Vo District, Dong Thap Province. Photo: VNA|
Attracting workers to return
As a large seafood exporter in An Giang, Mr. Doan Toi, Chairman of the Board of Directors, General Director of Nam Viet Group Joint Stock Company, said that although the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected the production and export activities of enterprises, with the initiative of enterprises and the support of authorities at all levels, the export turnover of Nam Viet in September and October 2021 still reached approximately US$20 million.
Currently, nearly 100% of the more than 6,000 workers of Nam Viet have been vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine, so the company is trying to restore production and increase the productivity of factories to promptly respond to signed orders. However, the company still faces difficulties because workers are afraid to work overtime because of fear of Covid-19, partly because of violating regulations on restricting going out after 8pm every day.
In addition, from now until the end of 2021, to fulfill export orders signed with overseas partners, Nam Viet Group Joint Stock Company is in need of 2,000 to 4,000 new employees. However, recruitment is currently facing many difficulties due to the pandemic. The General Director of Nam Viet Group Joint Stock Company proposed that the leaders of An Giang province have policies to support businesses in recruiting workers, especially skilled workers among workers from the following provinces: Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, who returned to their hometown recently, in order to help businesses maintain production and promptly respond to upcoming export orders.
Recently, workers in many Southeast provinces and cities returning to their hometowns are one of the causes of outbreaks in the Mekong Delta, however, this is also a resource for businesses to recruit workers and ensure the fulfillment of year-end export orders.
Mr. Ho Quoc Luc, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sao Ta Food Joint Stock Company (FMC), one of the major shrimp exporters in Soc Trang, said that the problem of labor and anti-pandemic costs is currently a concern for enterprises. For an enterprise has 3,000 employees, assuming rapid testing, combined samples are tested every two or three days, and at least 500 samples per day are required. The lowest cost is VND50 million per day. It costs about VND1.5 billion per month. In case there is a positive sample and re-check by PCR, the cost will increase. On the other hand, the PCR test is also required for all employees once a month. Although it is a combined sample, the cost of each inspection for all employees will cost at least VND300 million. This problem is not easy for businesses to solve.
Take advantage of FTAs
As the key shrimp export area, seafood enterprises in Ca Mau have taken advantage of FTAs when exporting goods to the EU. According to information from Ca Mau Department of Industry and Trade, Ca Mau’s seafood export turnover to the EU market from August 2020 to July 2021 reached US$111.4 million, an increase of nearly 2.6 times compared to the same period last year (US$42.9 million). In addition, seafood export turnover to CPTPP markets accounts for about 25% of the province’s export turnover, which contributes to bringing Ca Mau’s seafood export turnover in the first 10 months of 2021 to US$860 million, up 10% over the same period in 2020.
One year after the EVFTA between Vietnam and the EU took effect, Vietnam’s shrimp exports to the EU market also recorded good growth. Many products are exempt from tariffs immediately after the agreement comes into force. According to Ms. Kim Thu, shrimp market expert of VASEP, the EU is the second largest shrimp import market of Vietnam, accounting for 15%.
Since the beginning of the year, Vietnam’s shrimp exports to the EU have recorded a good growth rate. As of October 15, 2021, Vietnam’s shrimp exports to the EU reached nearly US$439 million, up 10.3% over the same period last year. The EU’s shrimp import demand in the last months of this year continues to increase. However, the EU market has very strict requirements on food hygiene, safety and traceability, so many large shrimp producing and exporting enterprises in the Mekong Delta have invested in equipment and modern production machinery, focusing on raw materials for production, meeting the strict requirements of importers.
Implementing the Government’s Resolution 128/NQ-CP on “safely adapting, flexibly and effectively controlling the Covid-19 pandemic” in the context of an outbreak; many businesses have discovered through good screening every day and found F0 cases in time.
However, the number of employees is gradually decreasing due to travel restrictions and isolation. In this situation, many businesses focus on harvesting shrimp, taking full advantage of the FTAs to accelerate in the last months of the year.
At FMC, Mr. Ho Quoc Luc said that although FMC has reduced the number of employees by about 10% due to the pandemic in the past two weeks, processing output still increased over the same period last year.
Despite facing many difficulties, shrimp enterprises will overcome the recent insecurity, will always raise vigilance, strictly control operations, share information, unite to maintain the links of the shrimp value chain; thereby maintaining and developing sustainably each enterprise as well as the whole industry. And the immediate future is to strive to quickly restore production capacity, speed up processing, and strive to fulfill the set export turnover target in 2021, Mr. Ho Quoc Luc said.