The promising potential of shrimp

10:02 | 23/02/2017 Trade

(VEN) - Brackish water shrimp has become Vietnam’s biggest seafood export, accounting for about 45 percent of the country’s annual seafood export revenue. Authorities and experts believe the potential to develop this product further is huge.  

Increasing quantity and quality

As reported by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), after 10 years of implementing Program 224 and Resolution 09 (2000-2010) on aquaculture development, Vietnam’s shrimp farming area increased 2.8-fold, from 228,610 hectares to 639,115ha, and shrimp production soared 4.5-fold, from 97.628 tonnes to 443.714 tonnes. Since 2010, shrimp exports have exceeded US$2.1 billion annually, while shrimp has attracted investment in aquaculture, seafood processing and export activities.

Shrimp-related industries have experienced a significant growth. Central baby and pedigree shrimp production facilities, including 2,422 brackish water baby shrimp hatcheries, have been established throughout the provinces of Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Khanh Hoa, Ca Mau and Bac Lieu. There are enterprises investing in shrimp research and breeding. About 400 businesses nationwide are producing and importing feed and environmental improvement products for use in aquaculture. The feed producers have basically satisfied local demand. There are more than 350 professional and amateur shrimp processing facilities nationwide, with a capacity of more than 1.4million tonnes of product per year, exceeding domestic demand.

According to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nguyen Xuan Cuong, 2016 was a particularly difficult year for agriculture in general, and shrimp farming in particular, due to severe drought and salinity in the Mekong Delta, which caused shrimp growth retardation, disease and massive mortality. The three key shrimp farming provinces alone suffered losses of over 188,000ha. Despite this, under the direction of MARD and the determination of local authorities, businesses, and farmers implementing appropriate solutions, the shrimp industry outdid itself, reaching a total farming area of 694,645ha with an output of 657,282 tonnes. In 2016, Vietnam exported shrimp to 90 markets, earning more than US$3.15 billion in revenue, an increase of 6.7 percent over 2015.

US$10 billion of shrimp exports by 2030

According to MARD, the shrimp sector has great potential and should be developed into a climate-smart, sustainable and environmentally friendly industry. Hi-tech, environmentally friendly shrimp farming centers will be developed in Bac Lieu, Soc Trang and some other suitable localities, while ecological shrimp farming will be developed in Ca Mau, Kien Giang and suitable localities. The agriculture and rural development sector has set targets of reaching shrimp export revenues of US$4.5 billion by 2020 and US$8-10 billion by 2030.

MARD has proposed that the government and relevant authorities kick off the master plan for development of the Vietnamese shrimp industry to 2030 in the second quarter of 2017, designate shrimp a major national product, launch science and technology programs specifically designed for shrimp, and review and adjust the Mekong Delta Plan (including plans for transforming land for shrimp farming), and issue policies to encourage high-tech and environmentally friendly shrimp production and sustainable development of ecological shrimp farming, chain connectivity policies and policies encouraging shrimp farming in advantageous areas.

Nguyen Hanh