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Catfish Expansion In Viet Nam

VIET NAM - Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved a plan to develop tra catfish production and consumption in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta over the next 10 years.

The plan targets adjusting zoning areas and developing infrastructure for breeding, and setting up information systems for calculating and forecasting production and consumption.

The plan will cost about VND1.34 trillion (US$74 million). Of the figure, VND800 billion will be invested for the 2009-15 period, and the remaining for 2016-20.

Under the plan, tra catfish output in the Mekong Delta, the country’s largest catfish production area, is targeted to reach 1.5 million tonnes in 2010.

Next year, the delta is expected to export 600,000 tonnes of tra catfish products estimatedly worth $1.5 billion.

Tra catfish exports are targeted to fetch $2.2 billion by 2015 and $3 billion by 2020.

The plan also calls for breeding areas to be located mainly along the Tien and Hau rivers in Can Tho City and Vinh Long, An Giang, Tien Giang and Dong Thap provinces, with a total maximum breeding area of 11,000ha in 2015 and 13,000ha in 2020.

To avoid small-scale production in scattered areas, the plan regulates that new tra breeding units will have a minimum area of at least 10ha and be located in zoning areas for the fish breeding.

The plan also calls for the establishment of tra catfish processors in areas zoned for breeding and in Delta provinces’ fish breeding centres.

It also seeks to reorganise breeding households under a community management model and develop breeding co-operatives.

Under the proposal, tra catfish processors must set up their material areas for production and are responsible to sign consumption contracts with breeders to guarantee stable tra catfish output.

The replacement of current tra catfish strains with disease-free and high quality ones will be done by 2015.

Feed producers and veterinary medicine producers for tra catfish breeding must state clearly the quality of their products on package labels and are legally responsible for product quality.

Government agencies will implement a quarantine, inspect the quality of tra catfish products and grant certificates to tra products for export and local consumption.

Tra catfish is one of the country’s key seafood export products, with revenue expected to reach $1.3 billion this year, according to the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.

the Fish Site Editor

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