Inefficiencies seen as crippling tuna exports

by VOV01 September 2016 Last updated at 11:32 AM - For the seven months leading up to August, tuna exports of Vietnam remained static due to low demand from its major markets amid higher worldwide prices.

According to Vasep, total overseas consignments of all tuna products tallied in at US$265.80 million for the seven-month period - roughly equivalent to last year’s same period.

Tuna fillets, the largest ticket item at 51.5% market share surged 18.2% on-year while canned tuna, the second largest seller at 27.7% market share, spiraled downwards 18.4% on-year.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), in turn reported tuna exports for the period were less than they had targeted largely due to ‘substantial inefficiencies’ in the productions process.

MARD said overall production for the three largest producing provinces was down for the period compared to last year in Phu Yen and Binh Dinh with Khanh Hoa the only province experiencing a rise.

Tuna exports to the US saw no significant movement from last year’s same period while overall shipments to the EU dipped 6.6%, dragged down by a drop of 30.8% in the export of canned tuna.

For the period – Italy, Germany and Belgium were the three largest export markets in the EU bloc. Italy and Belgium purchases rose, while shipments to Germany fell. Notably, tuna exports to Italy (though relatively small in amount) reported three-digit growth.

Shipments to Japan tumbled 10.5% overall on-year, with processed and canned tuna shooting up 27.9% and 37.6%, respectively. Meanwhile fresh/live/frozen tuna products plunged 30.1%.

While tuna exports to major markets like the US, EU and Japan were less than anticipated, closer to home the picture was more promising, said MARD, with sales to ASEAN members jumping 24.5% on-year.

Mard said Vietnam fishers are facing stiff competition from their counterparts in Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia and until they and other actors in the industry can address inefficiencies, restructure and boost competitiveness— prospects for sizable, if any growth, are bleak.

Pham Ngoc Tuan, deputy head of MARD’s Department of Capture Fisheries said from a long-term perspective the fisheries segment of the economy has experienced a steady and significant contraction since 2012.

And he stressed the segment is likely to continue on this downward trajectory until effective remedial actions are taken to address inefficiencies in the production process.

Mr Tuan said the tuna harvest is and will remain weak until outdated technologies and issues related to the limited capability of fishers are addressed, as these are the root causes, leading to poor quality product and exports.

He emphasized that in order for the fisheries segment to achieve sustainability, it will need to reinvent itself and restructure from top to bottom, all aspects of processing, consumption and export.


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