Making news

Shrimp exporters in Mekong Delta face challenges amid Covid-19

 Shrimp is a key export item of many provinces in the Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta, but the Covid-19 epidemic has caused challenges for exporters.

In the delta region, Ca Mau and Bac Lieu are the top two provinces in shrimp export volume.

According to Bac Lieu province's Department of Industry and Trade, the province’s shrimp export revenue in January reached 62 million USD, a year-on-year increase of 9 percent.

Ca Mau province earned 58 million USD in shrimp exports in January, an increase of 8 percent over the same period last year, the Ca Mau Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (CASEP) has said.

Tran Hoang Em, general secretary of CASEP, said the province had over 1.15 billion USD last year in shrimp exports. Of the figure, exports to China were worth 102 million USD last year, accounting for 6-7 percent of total exports, and nearly 7 million USD in January.

But due to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, many Chinese importers have told Vietnamese seafood exporters to suspend deliveries, he said.

The Ca Mau Department of Industry and Trade recently visited six seafood export companies in the province and discovered that seafood exports to China via border trade had faced problems, but exporting by waterway had not been affected much.

The buying volume from Chinese importers has also decreased due to transport restrictions, causing difficulties for enterprises in distributing the products.

According to the departments of Industry and Trade of localities in the region, if the epidemic continues for a prolonged period, it will cause adverse impacts on local exporters, including a high risk of cancellation of orders from importers.

If exporters face difficulties, they will reduce purchases of shrimp materials from farmers, resulting in a lower shrimp price and affecting farmers’ income, they said.

Nguyen Viet Trung, head of commercial management division under the Ca Mau Department of Industry and Trade, said the department would keep a close eye on the epidemic situation and inform enterprises in a timely manner so they can come up with appropriate business plans.

They will also coordinate with relevant agencies to untie difficulties faced by exporters, especially in terms of capital.

Bac Lieu province will also have measures to support enterprises in production and export, and will strive to ensure sufficient material shrimp output for processing as well as the quality and traceability of the shrimp.

"Businesses need to boost exports to other markets rather than focus on the Chinese market amid the Covid-19 epidemic," Trung said. “In addition, local firms should take advantage of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, which will come into effect this year, to promote shrimp exports to the market.”

The Bac Lieu Department of Industry and Trade said it expected that the export of frozen shrimp to Australia and other markets would increase in the coming time.
The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers said that EU shrimp imports accounts for 31 percent of the world’s total shrimp imports.

When the FTA comes into effect, local exporters will have a great opportunity to boost exports thanks to lower tariff duties. But to benefit from the FTA, Vietnamese shrimp products must meet requirements prescribed under the trade agreement, the association said./