According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), seafood exporters will face difficulties in the second half of this year and even into early next year. The following is an interview on the issue with MARD Deputy Minister Vu Van Tam.
Reporter: What is the biggest difficulty facing the fishery sector at present?
Mr Tam: Helping businesses and aquaculture farmers access bank loans and cope with epidemics are the major problems that need to be tackled quickly.
In addition, it is essential to step up communication and education to prevent illegal fishing in other countries' waters so that the fishing boats are not arrested.
Reporter: Tra fish breeders are running short of capital. What solutions have the MARD and the Directorate of Fisheries (D-Fish) worked out to deal with this issue?
Mr Tam: We are working together with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), as well as the Vietnam Fishing Association and banks to advise the Government on support packages.
The MARD has submitted support packages for tra fish breeders and businesses to PM Nguyen Tan Dung.
This year’s tra fish output is estimated at 1.3-1.5 million tonnes. In the first half of this year, approximately 500,000 tones were produced and 800,000 tones more are needed from now until the end of this year.
The support package will be implemented in three steps during the second half of the year. First, the MARD will ask the Government to build a mechanism for breeding households to gain access to bank loans at a preferential interest rates.
Second, the MARD will support businesses in borrowing capital from banks to purchase facilities for farming households with which they have signed purchasing contracts.
Third, the MARD and relevant agencies will consider appropriate measures to support seafood processors that deal directly with breeding areas.
Reporter: It is said that solutions for saving the fishery sector are related to market mechanisms, not capital. What is your opinion on this?
Mr Tam: In the current situation, both the market and capital are crucial factors in supporting the fishery sector. Despite falling imports in the European market due to its economic difficulties, the US market and a few others are bouncing back and promising brighter prospects.
In terms of capital, we should consolidate trust between banks and businesses, as well as between businesses and breeders, to make it possible for banks to consider lowering lending interest rates and restructuring debts.
Reporter: In the face of the plummeting price of tra fish, VASEP has proposed buying this product for temporary stockpile. Is the MARD favour of this solution?
Mr Tam: It is imperative to carefully consider the size of the tra fish inventory as the MARD has not yet given exact data on this and has not yet received specific proposals from the VASEP. The Ministry will make its final decision on this issue after it receives the proposal.
Reporter: Thank you very much.