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Viet Nam Pangasius Supplies Struggle

Economics +1 more

VIET NAM - The pangasius industry in Viet Nam faced difficulties of supply, with increased production costs, disease problems and high interest rates for bank loans. However, imports during the first half of 2011 increased to the US market but declined to the EU.

The Vietnamese Seafood Exporters Association (VASEP) reported that tra catfish farmers produced around 900,000 tonnes of tra catfish, equivalent to about 360,000-380,000 tonnes of fillets. The shortage was most severe during the first half of the year and resulted in an almost nine per cent fall in exports from Viet Nam to the EU market.

Many banks have refused loans to tra fish farmers over the last two years. Because of this, VASEP set minimum export prices to encourage prices to rise. Processors in the Mekong Delta paid up to VN$ 24,000 (US$ 1.18) per kilogram, the highest price on record, while farmers earned a profit of VN$ 5 000-6 000 (US$ 0.25-0.30) per kilogram.

VASEP reported a total of 319,350 tonnes of pangasius exports during the first half of this year, with an export value close to US$ 830 million, which is 28 per cent higher than last year.

According to Eurostat, the EU imported 95,306 tonnes of pangasius fillet during the January - June period of 2011, down by nine per cent compared with the same period in 2010.

During the first six months of 2011, the US imported nearly 38,000 tonnes of catfish of which 36,5000 tonnes were pangasius. 95.6 per cent of the fish came from Viet Nam. Imports from Viet Nam increased 79 per cent in volume and 105 per cent in value compared with 2010.