Recovering demand for aquatic products comes with challenges: conference

The demand for aquatic products is expected to pick up from the third quarter of 2024, with many associated challenges requiring advertisements and the diversification of business products and markets, insiders have said at a conference held by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) in Ho Chi Minh City on June 10.
Processing cat fish for export (Photo: VNA)
Processing cat fish for export (Photo: VNA)

VASEP General Secretary Truong Dinh Hoe said Vietnam’s seafood exports were valued at about 3.6 billion USD in the first five months, up 6% year-on-year and forecast to hit 4.4 billion USD in the first half.

According to the association, the sector has strength in deep processing. To busy consumers with limited time for cooking, deep-processed seafood products are gaining popularity. They also promise higher profits for businesses.

However, the slow and cautious recovery of markets, competitive pressure on export prices, and challenges in domestic processing, among many other factors, are expected to continue to impact the sector’s exports this year.

Do Ngoc Tai, Director of Tai Kim Anh Seafood Joint Stock Company, analysed that in the first months of the year, the overseas shipments of shrimp saw a slight increase compared to the same period in 2023. However, in major markets such as the US and the EU, high inflation has forced consumers to tighten their belts, while conflicts in various regions have caused a surge in sea freight rates, adding pressure to the costs.

Cao Thi Kim Lan, Director of Binh Dinh Fishery Joint Stock Company, said processing and exporting seafood products have been extremely challenging due to the scarcity of material sources. This year, the risk of the shortage is even greater, as hot weather conditions might lead to decreased exploitation yields.

Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, Chairwoman of VASEP, noted despite numerous global challenges, Vietnam still aims for 10 billion USD from aquatic product exports this year. To achieve this goal, she recommended businesses adapt and adjust their operations to the market context, with a focus on diversifying export markets and promoting domestic market development. It is also essential to develop appropriate development strategies, step up branding activities, and stay updated with market information.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien, meanwhile, highlighted the significant role of aquaculture as well as aquatic exploitation, processing, and export in the country’s overall agricultural development. It is estimated that the seafood sector contributes 28% to the total agricultural production value, with its export turnover surpassing 10 billion USD at some points.

Given the domestic and global challenges, he suggested the industry work on important tasks such as addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, enhancing trade promotion, and regularly updating market information to enable farmers and fishermen to organise production and exploitation rationally and efficiently.