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Viet Nam Turns to Tilapia for Export

Economics +1 more

VIET NAM - In light of the difficulties in farming pangasius, Viet Nam is now looking to tilapia production as a potential fish for export.

Lucy Towers thumbnail

Tilapia is a fast-growing fish species with a strong yield. The fish is considered as a main protein source in many developed countries. It is known as a delicious and good flavor fish which is rich in minerals and has less fat but enough protein for human health.

Tilapia has been listed in the top ten fish species in the US, after shrimp and salmon. With an ideal growing temperature of 27–32°C, Viet Nam is an appropriate area to farm and export tilapia products.

The fish will be stocked within 4.5 – 6 months with density of 150 – 200 fries per cubic meter depending on the quality of water sources.

Currently, tilapia products from China and Taiwan are dominating the global market. The world's tilapia production increased from 400,000 MT in 1990 to 4.2 million MT in 2012, much higher than that of pangasius.

Prices for imported tilapia in the American market vary around US$3.8 – 4.2 per kilogram and the fish reported a large shares in the global market. According to Do Lap Nghiep, Deputy Director of Nam Viet Corporation (Navico), Viet Nam needs to comply with regulations on food safety in order to export tilapia products.

With appropriate weather, An Giang province will be a hub to develop tilapia farming to export. In terms of fish seeds, An Giang Aquatic Breeding Production Center has trained farmers to generally produce fingerlings in the province; therefore, there is enough supply of seeds to grow for export.

These recent years, beside Navico, there were several companies exporting tilapia products but with a small volume. This was due to lack of raw material for processing. Currently, Navico is enhancing tilapia production and processing activities to export. It processed 10 MT of raw material per day.