The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has passed a plan on development of production and sales of tra catfish in the Mekong Delta until 2010, with further orientations towards 2020.
|Farmers at a catfish farm in Can Tho City (Photo: SGGP)|
The breeding of tra catfish will be developed in favourable water areas such as the Tien and Hau rivers. Water and land areas will be also zoned off for the production of fries and for fish processing factories in Can Tho city and An Giang, Dong Thap, Vinh Long, Hau Giang, Soc Trang, Tien Giang, Ben Tre and Tra Vinh provinces.
The plan aims at increasing the tra catfish farming acreage in the Mekong Delta to 8,600 ha by 2010, and 13,000 ha by 2020 for an annual output of 1.25 million tons and 1.85 million tons, respectively.
The region’s exports of tra catfish are estimated to increase by an average of 5.9 percent per year, fetching about US$1.5 billion by 2010 and US$2.3 billion by 2020.
This increase in fish production and processing will also generate more jobs for local workers, with the number of workers involved in this sector estimated to increase from 200,000 in 2010 to 250,000 in 2020.
According to the MARD, tra and basa catfish have become Vietnam ’s key seafood export staples, with growth rates of 77 percent in volume and 52 percent in value compared to the same period last year. Export turnover exceeded US$1 billion for the first nine months of 2008.
Over the past nine months, Russia has emerged as the largest market for Vietnam’s tra and basa catfish, with an import value of US$155.6 million, representing a year-on-year increase of 188 percent. It was followed by Ukraine, with US$104.7 million, a year-on-year increase of 255 percent.
Vietnam’s tra catfish is currently exported to 107 countries and territories. The country is actively diversifying its seafood markets, considering it an important measure to ensure a firm foothold for Vietnamese tra catfish in the global market.
To ensure continued growth in exports of tra catfish, businesses should agree on export prices and ensure high quality of export products, said MARD Deputy Minister Luong Le Phuong.
This year, tra catfish exports are expected to exceed US$1.5 billion.