According to the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the breeding area for pangasius fish is currently around 5,910 hectares with output around 1.28 million tons and export turnover of US$1.74 billion, a year-on-year drop of 3.4 percent.
These figures were revealed at a meeting organized by the ministry on January 25, to review production and consumption of pangasius in the Mekong Delta in the year 2012 and plans for 2013.
At the meeting, Truong Dinh Hoe, General Secretary of Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), predicted that the production of pangasius in 2013 will decrease below one million tons or around 800,000 tons, resulting in low export turnover of $1.5 billion.
This fall is the result of the present economic crisis. However, it needs to be addressed and problems solved for the sector to develop and grow pangasius exports by 2014.
The pangasius breeding sector has never before fallen into such difficult times, with price down to VND19,200 per kilogram while feed and other overheads have increased, resulting in farmers suffering a huge loss of VND4,000 per kilogram.
More worrisome is the fact that seven out of ten of Vietnam’s major export markets for the fish, such as the EU, the U.S., China, middle eastern countries and Egypt have decreased imports of the fish due to economic woes and spending cuts.
The country has around 300 exporters but only 70 of them have processing facilities. Many enterprises that cannot directly process have ruined the market by decreasing prices.
Nguyen Huu Dung said that the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers are dishonest as they pour water into the fish to increase its weight, a practice which is most unacceptable.