16:02 | 10/10/2016 Society
(VEN) - Vietnamese shrimp has a large market with more than seven billion consumers worldwide and is expected to contribute significantly to the growth of the domestic agricultural sector. However, to make shrimp a strategic product, it is necessary to deal thoroughly with breeding difficulties.
So far, Vietnam has produced more than 57 billion baby shrimp, including nearly 40 billion white-leg shrimp and over 15 billion black tiger shrimp, while farmers nationwide have annual demand for about 130 billion baby shrimp and 230,000 parent shrimp. Major baby shrimp production facilities are concentrated in the south central provinces of Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, and Binh Thuan. These facilities meet about 50 percent of the annual demand for brackish water baby shrimp nationwide.
Binh Thuan Province Shrimp Association President Nguyen Hoang Anh said the quality of baby shrimp decides 70 percent of the success of shrimp farming. In late 2015 the Research Institute for Aquaculture created four flocks of qualified white-leg shrimp to be bred as parent shrimp. The Vietnam-Australia Group has produced 5,000-10,000 parent white-leg shrimp, meeting 50-55 percent of its demand for baby shrimp.
Most parent shrimp in Vietnam was imported from the US, Singapore, Thailand, and Mexico. However, many baby shrimp production facilities still use substandard parent shrimp or import low-quality baby shrimp from China or other unsecured sources, creating risks for farmers.
Nguyen Huu Ninh, Director of the Research Institute for Aquaculture III, said due to differences in breeding conditions (temperature, salinity of water) between Vietnam and countries from which parent white-leg shrimp is imported, the survival ability of imported shrimp is low, ranging between 30-75 percent. This is a major risk to farmers in the context of increasingly complicated climate change. To overcome this problem, the institute has imported parent white-leg shrimp from other countries and carried out hybridizations to create suitable species which can adapt to the breeding conditions in Vietnam. The survival ability of these shrimp species is higher compared to imported shrimp, and the productivity of shrimp farming has increased from five to seven percent.
Meanwhile, according to Tran Cong Binh, Director of the African Shrimp Breeds Company Limited, Vietnam has concentrated on creating white-leg shrimp species that are of high growth ability and disease-free for intensive farming, while paying little attention to creating disease-resistant shrimp species for extensive farming. Vietnam currently has nearly 600,000ha of extensive shrimp farming areas but their productivity remains modest, just about 150-300kg per hectare per year. Meanwhile, Ecuador has created disease-resistant shrimp species with farming productivity reaching about 2,300 tonnes per hectare per year.
Making shrimp a strategic product
According to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong, shrimp has a large market with about seven billion consumers worldwide. While the number of people abstaining from pork and beef has increased, the number of people saying ‘No’ to shrimp is very small. Under climate change conditions, Vietnam has opportunities to turn challenges into advantages, especially in the Mekong Delta where rice fields suffering from sea level rise and salinity intrusion can be turned into aquaculture areas. Minister Cuong believes there is room for Vietnam to expand shrimp breeding to boost agricultural growth in the last six months of this year. In the long term, to make shrimp a strategic kind of goods, Vietnam needs to deal thoroughly with existing problems of breeding, feeding, and technology.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said domestic output of baby shrimp for brackish water aquaculture is sufficient to meet the demand of farmers nationwide. However, Vietnam has yet to become self-sufficient in parent shrimp production. To overcome this weakness, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has established a steering committee for research and development of brackish water parent shrimp of Vietnamese origin. The ministry has created favorable conditions for businesses to participate in research and development activities. “Hopefully, from now until 2020 Vietnam can create suitable species to meet most of the domestic demand for parent shrimp. Our ministry has put in place control mechanisms to ensure the quality of Vietnamese baby shrimp,” Deputy Minister Tam said.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam:
Along with creating favorable conditions for domestic and foreign businesses to invest in shrimp production as well as to import shrimp into Vietnam, it is necessary to increase quarantine measures to ensure the quality of shrimp.