Addressing the event, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said after more than 20 years of development, the tra fish sector has reaped encouraging outcomes with 6,000ha of farming areas generating US$2.5 billion in annual export value.
However, he noted, aside from expanding export markets, businesses also need to pay attention to the domestic market so as to boost production and ensure more stable prices for tra fish products.
Cuong explained that a strong domestic market will help ease the pressure on export, raise export prices, and stimulate production. Local consumers will also have more options to choose.
Vietnamese tra fish has been shipped to 119 markets around the world.
On November 1, 2019, the US Department of Agriculture officially recognised that Vietnam’s pangasius food safety control system is equivalent to the US one, which affirmed the quality of Vietnamese tra fish and helped facilitate the export to not only the US but also other demanding markets.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed production, business and export activities of many sectors, including the tra fish industry, into stagnation.
In the first five months of 2020, the tra fish output was estimated at 462,000 tonnes, down 6.3% year on year. Meanwhile, exports dropped 39% to US$456 million, with shipments to China down 48%, the EU down 47% and the US down nearly 20%.
The sudden nosedive in exports has exposed businesses to numerous difficulties when a large volume of tra fish remains in warehouses due to export disruption and orders were cancelled. Meanwhile, it is forecast that this industry will have to wait until the third quarter of this year to fully recover.
Given this, to address current hardships, it is necessary to concurrently develop the domestic market and boost overseas shipments, the event heard.
The tra fish sector targets 1.42 million tonnes in output and about US$2 billion in export revenue this year.