Increasing the "power" for the seafood processing sector

Over the years, the Vietnamese seafood processing industry has quickly grasped the trend of integration, effectively exploited the advantages from free trade agreements (FTAs) and gradually asserted itself as one of the key export industries of the country.

Increasing the power for the seafood processing sector

In order to strengthen the seafood processing industry, recently Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh signed Decision No. 1408/QD-TTg approving the project of developing the seafood processing industry in the period of 2021-2030, with the goal of developing the seafood processing industry in a modern, efficient and sustainable direction, meeting the needs and regulations of the consumption market, improving competitiveness and continuing to integrate deeply into the global value chain.

According to data from the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), in recent years, despite the ups and downs, Vietnam's seafood exports are still in a growth trend.

Specifically, in the 2016-2020 period, Vietnam's seafood exports have grown by an average of 5%, reaching US$8.4 billion in 2020. It is estimated that in the period of 2021-2025, seafood exports will grow at an average average 7%/year and by 2025 will reach 12 billion USD. In which, shrimp reached 5.5 billion USD, pangasius reached 2.3 billion USD and marine products reached 4.2 billion USD.

The volume of seafood exported by 2025 is forecast to be equivalent to about 6 million tons. In which, 4.7-4.8 million tons are produced domestically, the source of raw materials imported from other countries for export production and processing for export is expected to be about 1.2-1.3 million tons (equivalent to 2.4-2.6 billion USD).

According to the Directorate of Fisheries, the seafood processing sector is currently providing direct and indirect jobs for more than 4 million workers in the seafood industry in general.

In integration, a series of FTAs have been implemented, bringing opportunities for Vietnamese seafood products to penetrate the world market. Thanks to more preferential tariffs, origin of goods, non-tariff barriers and benefits of fair and equal treatment, it has created favorable conditions for Vietnamese seafood products to be competitive in the world market.

However, Vietnamese seafood processing enterprises also face increasingly strict technical barriers in terms of food safety and hygiene, traceability, and sustainable development factors.

Although there have been some remarkable achievements in the world market, many export seafood products of Vietnam are still considered "weaker" when compared to products of many other major exporting countries. due to low competitiveness.

Although the proportion of value-added processed seafood products has increased, there are not many convenient items and simple designs and packaging. There is no market development strategy for key products and no strong brand name for processed seafood products. Deep processing technology has not been developed. In addition, domestic seafood processing mainly focuses on food processing, while the potential for development in the field of medicine and pharmaceuticals and a number of other fields has not been exploited.

Forming modern processing corporations and enterprises

The seafood processing industry development project in the 2021-2030 period strives to achieve the growth rate of processed seafood output of over 6%/year by 2030, contributing to bringing the value of seafood export turnover to about 14 -16 billion USD.

The proportion of export value of value-added processed seafood products reached an average of over 40%. In which, processed shrimp reached 60%, products from pangasius reached 10%, tuna reached 70%, squid and octopus reached 30%, other seafood reached 30%. Over 70% of aquatic products processing establishments for export reach the level and capacity of production technology of medium advanced or higher.

To form a number of modern seafood processing corporations and enterprises, with economic potential and management level on a world-class level.

To achieve the above objectives, the Project sets out necessary tasks, such as organizing the control and development of raw materials for seafood processing from farming, catching and importing to meet the demand of processing enterprises, suitable for domestic consumption and export demand; comply with the conditions and regulations of Vietnam and international practices; ensure the requirements of traceability, avoid origin fraud, trade fraud.

Attract investment to form large seafood processing corporations and companies with economic potential and world-class management level; upgrade seafood processing facilities for export to the level and capacity of advanced production technology; improve processing capacity and technological level of domestic seafood processing and consumption establishments, ensure food hygiene and safety conditions, diversify types of seafood processing products.

The scheme also offers solutions, promoting processing of high value-added products, focusing on key product groups (shrimp, pangasius, tuna); diversify processed products, focus on research and development of products from tuna, seaweed and by-products; Extraction of biologically active compounds of high value for the food, chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Vietnam currently has 620 industrial-scale seafood processing establishments, of which 415 factories and facilities meet export standards to Japan, the US, the EU and other fastidious markets. Along with that, there are 3,000 small-scale processing facilities in traditional fishing villages.

In the plan of restructuring and reorganizing production, linkage is one of the proposed solutions. Over the past time, many chains have been formed from input materials to processing plants and product traceability, for example shrimp chains in 3 provinces of Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau.

For the pangasius industry, there are links from the hatchery area, to the farming area and to the processing plant. Similar to fishing, there is a connection from the fishing vessel to the service logistics vessel and the processing plant, ensuring that losses are reduced and product quality is improved.

Currently, taking advantage of seafood processing by-products to create many profitable products is and will be the direction to increase value for seafood processing.

Some businesses have invested in technology to extract collagen and gelatin from fish skin. Utilizing by-products can add 15-25% value to the entire pangasius farming and processing chain.

According to statistics, the total seafood production of Vietnam is about 7 million tons/year. In which by-products account for about 15-20% (about more than 1 million tons). This is a valuable source of raw materials for using and processing value-added products, bringing great economic efficiency.

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