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US$5b In Seafood Exports Targeted

VIET NAM - This year, the country's seafood industry targets to farm and catch 5.3 million tonnes of seafood, and earn US$5 billion in exports, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Directorate of Fisheries.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said the sector would develop through increased focus on quality and value improvement, by expanding farming areas, and by further developing key product such as tiger prawns, white-leg shrimp, catfish and oysters.

Aside from expanding the scale of catfish and shrimp production, localities should create favourable conditions for qualified and hygienic breeding to ensure enough materials for production, he said.

To increase export value, the sector plans to develop traditional as well as potential markets, such as China, South Korea, Russia, the US, the EU and Japan.

Le Thanh Luu, head of the Aquaculture Research Institute No1, said promoting trade and predicting changes in natural resources related to the industry were crucial.

Nguyen Viet Thang, chairman of the Viet Nam Fisheries Society, said that to maintain long-term sustainable development of the sector, Viet Nam should not focus only on exports but also on domestic consumption.

Currently, there are 150 enterprises and 4,000 household businesses producing goods for domestic consumption. Labourers working in these businesses, however, only account for 12.7 per cent of the total workers in the sector, according to Tran Thi Dung, director of the Centre for Fisheries Planning.

Most of them were unskilled and only learned about the profession by working, she said, adding that they lacked basic knowledge of technology, food safety and hygiene.

Dung said that despite an abundance of workers, their lack of training affected product quality, making it difficult to satisfy increasing domestic and foreign demand.

Viet Nam's seafood export ranked sixth among 10 leading seafood exporters in the world and ranked fourth in Asia behind China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

the Fish Site Editor

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