|Processing shrimp for export (Photo: VNA)
The Ministry held a meeting in Soc Trang province on May 8 to launch development tasks for the sector in 2020, attended by officials from eight coastal provinces in the Mekong Delta - the largest agricultural hub in Vietnam - and a number of business associations.
Minister Cuong pointed out that the brackish-water shrimp industry has faced numerous challenges this year as the COVID-19 pandemic has not only threatened people’s health and lives around the world but also seriously affected global supply chains, including in Vietnam. Drought, saltwater intrusion, and shrimp disease count among other problems facing shrimp farmers.
He highlighted, however, certain opportunities for the industry, noting that the National Assembly is set to ratify the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) soon, under which tariffs on agricultural products, including shrimp, will be reduced sharply.
Other participants at the meeting said that State agencies, the agriculture ministry, and localities with large aquaculture areas need to take drastic action to cope with saltwater intrusion and shrimp disease, strictly deal with production facilities that violate quality regulations, and apply advanced farming technologies and sustainably production models.
It is also necessary to explore new export markets given the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak, they said.
The industry plans to farm shrimp on 730,000 ha of brackish water this year, harvest 830,000 tonnes, and earn US$3.5 billion from exports, up 2-3% against 2019.
As of the end of April, the shrimp farming area in coastal localities was just over 480,000 ha, down some 15% against last April and equal to 71% of the annual plan. Output was estimated at more than 168,000 tonnes.
Shrimp exports approximated US$600 million in the first quarter.