VietNamNet Bridge – The agriculture ministry has said the quality of tra fish for export is being checked after Brazilian authorities said they had found quality problems with tra imports from Vietnam and imposed a temporary ban.
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Farmers in the Mekong Delta harvest tra fish. (Photo: SGT) Luong Le Phuong, deputy minister of agriculture and rural development, told the Daily on the phone on Wednesday that he was “really worried about the situation” and that he had told quality control officials to check the tra shipments to Brazil.
The ministry has also urged coordination between Vietnam’s commercial counselor and the Brazilian embassy in Vietnam to look into the matter so as to bring the export of tra fish back to normal.
Phuong said each and every fishery shipment had been put under supervision in line with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points standards and other screening processes by the quality assurance department.
“Therefore, I think, the claimed problem is groundless for Vietnamese tra fish,” he stressed.
Phuong and many enterprises have expressed concern that the negative information would impact on other markets for the fish. Tra export to Egypt has witnessed a steady fall over the last three years due to a groundless rumor about contamination reported by a local paper. Though the rumor was later denied as baseless by the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture, it has still affected Vietnam’s shipments.
In mid-August, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (Vasep) sent a request to the agriculture ministry proposing a verification of news that the safety of tra fish shipments had been reviewed by the Brazilian authorities.
According to the Brazilian authorities, tra was farmed in an unsafe environment and since it was cheaper than the white-meat fish provided by Brazilian farmers, tra was a fish of choice among Brazilian consumers, so this reportedly threatened farmers and processors there.
According to Vasep, the Brazilian agriculture ministry would lift the ban after the fish from Vietnam went through the Importation Threat Analysis program.
Brazil is a potentially large market for Vietnamese tra fish and also seen as a gateway to many other South American markets.
In the first half of the year, three Vietnamese enterprises exported nearly 6,000 tons of tra fish to Brazil with total turnover of US$12 million.
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