Vice President of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Duong Ngoc Minh spoke with Dien dan Doanh nghiep (Business Forum) newspaper about the shortage of tra fish this quarter.
Have Vietnamese tra fish exporters had to turn down contracts recently because of a serious shortage of raw materials?
Tra fish importers in the EU and US are looking for suppliers for the Christmas season, and are willing to pay up to 20 per cent more than they were in the summer.
Last month, domestic export dealers pressed farmers to reduce the previously agreed price, despite increasing feed costs, so many decided to stop farming to avoid operating at a loss.
Now the dealers have accepted even the higher price, farmers do not have the stocks to supply them with the fish in time for Christmas. Tra fish grow quickly but it takes about six months for the fish to reach the standard 1.5kg.
To sum up, processors face a shortage of raw material and importers are reluctantly seeking alternatives.
What is the outlook for the year end?
Prices are changing daily, but there is no hiding that there is a shortage of fish, despite earlier forecasts of increased demand at the year end. It is estimated that in the fourth quarter, output will meet half of the demand even though the problem has emerged only since last month.
We must use inventory fish to find new export orders.
Enterprises that signed contracts to supply fish at a low price are likely to suffer heavy losses because the current input price is high.
A review of the issue is underway, but based on this year's productivity, there will certainly be a shortage next year too.
In your opinion, what measures should be taken to tackle the problem?
If we do not deal with the situation quickly, the shortage will not only affect next year but also continue into 2013.
The production of fish depends on both financial investment and quality of breeding.
Last year, the number of breeding fish halved, resulting in the shortage.
State agencies and institutes of aquaculture are in charge of supplying quality fish fry to farmers, but farmers should also have their own hatcheries.
If farmers and enterprises work together, it would go a long way to ensuring the stable consumption of the product.
What should enterprises do?
Enterprises must play an active role in ensuring enough stock for their own production.
Enterprises should base production plans on financial policies, but a lack of policies is making this difficult.
For example, An Giang Province set a goal of producing 200,000 tonnes of tra fish per year, but without investment, this is unrealistic.
So, production plans must go in line with financial solutions. — VNS