Shrimp exports post encouraging results amid COVID-19 pandemic

Friday, 2020-04-24 17:48:51
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Vietnamese shrimp exports posted a turnover of US$628.6 million in the first three months of this year, a slight increase of 1.8% over the same period in 2019. (Illustrative image)
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NDO – Most export activities has been interrupted due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Vietnamese shrimp exports posted a turnover of US$628.6 million in the first three months of this year, a slight increase of 1.8% over the same period in 2019, an encouraging result for the sector.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), Vietnamese shrimp exported to the US market reached US$41.3 million in March, up 11.5% over the same period last year. The US ranked second among Vietnamese shrimp importers.

During the January-March period, Vietnamese shrimp shipped to the US hit US$115.5 million, a year-on-year increase of 18.2% ,the highest growth among the top five importers of Vietnamese shrimp.

According to the Import and Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the US normally orders shrimp imports about two months in advance. Therefore, shrimp imports in the first two months of 2020 were not affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The increasing shrimp import to the US in the first two months of 2020 was mainly due to strong demand at the end of 2019 and preparations for the Easter holidays.

The coronavirus has spread widely in the US since March 2020 causing disruption to the import of goods including shrimp. The import demand has also decreased due to a sharp decline in catering services because of the US’s disease control measures. However, the demand for shrimp consumption in the retail segment went up to meet the essential needs of people.

Meanwhile, India, the largest shrimp provider for the US and also the main competitor of Vietnam in the US market, has faced numerous difficulties due to the pandemic. Because of India’s blockade order, a number of Indian processing plants have had to lay off 50% of its workers while suffering declining shrimp prices and interrupted exports. Thus, Indian shrimp exports to the US in March were affected.

According to the VASEP, as the pandemic has not been controlled and has not showed many positive signs on a global scale, both shrimp farmers and enterprises are struggling to overcome difficulties.

Shrimp farmers are also in need of support to promptly control diseases in shrimp farming, particularly white spot disease and acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease; otherwise, there will have a shortage of shrimp materials when the market recovers.

However, shrimp is in the essential food group with affordable prices, so shrimp demand will still be healthy both on the world and domestic markets in the near future.

In addition, the prevention and control of the pandemic in China and the Republic of Korea has improved, raising more hope for shrimp farmers and processing plants.

As major shrimp producers like India and Ecuador are facing difficulties due to diseases and weather, Vietnam should ensure the supply of raw materials and production to meet the expected increase in demand.

Due to the coronavirus, European countries, Australia, the Republic of Korea, and others have all applied measures to restrict travel which affects deliveries, resulting in a decrease in the price of shrimp materials in the first quarter of this year. Farmers should choose appropriate shrimp harvest plans to avoid losses while exporters should focus on deep-processing shrimp products to increase the value of exports.