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Aquaculture Needs Government Funding

VIET NAM - With the Government failing to build drainage systems to take away used water from aquaculture farms, farmers and businesses are seeking to build them on their own.

VietNamNews reports that an executive of Minh Phu Seafood Group Joint Stock Company told Dau tu (Viet Nam Investment Review) newspaper: "The Government should let seafood enterprises invest in the construction."

"It can then refund them or offer them tax breaks or preferential land and financial policies."

"The industry has called on the Government to invest in drainage for 10 years, but has received no reply."

Farmers and processors complain that the lack of drainage systems means diseases spread easily and farmed fish and shrimp have antibiotic residues.

Nguyen Huu Dung, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, has raised the issue several times, saying while fisheries exports fetch US$ 5-6 billion a year, there has been little investment in it by the Government.

Batches of seafood were often rejected because of antibiotic residues, he said.

The Southern Institute for Water Resources Planning said five years ago the eight biggest aquaculture provinces in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta had drafted a master plan for an irrigation system for aquaculture including drainage.

This had even been approved but they were still waiting for funds from the Government, it said.

The report by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) 's Agriculture Economic Department on funds allocation in 2011-15 shows no outlay for this plan.

"Investment in aquaculture irrigation makes up a very small portion of investment in irrigation," Vu Van Thang, deputy head of the ministry's Irrigation Department, said.

This was unlikely to change in the near future due to a lack of funds, he said.

"But later this will definitely change with big investment being made in aquaculture."

Dr Dang Kim Son, head of Institute of Strategy and Policy for Agriculture and Rural Development, another ministry body, said: "Aquaculture irrigation should not depend entirely on Government funds. It needs policies to attract investment from companies."

"So the Government should adopt innovative land, trading, and credit policies to help companies."

the Fish Site Editor

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