Vietnam seeks investors in aquaculture

Vietnam aims to develop an advanced aquaculture sector over the next 25 years through investments.

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Over the next 25 years, the Southeast Asian state is aiming to develop an advanced aquaculture sector, supported by new investment.

Looking ahead to 2045, Vietnam sees great potential for the sustainable development of modern marine ecosystems. Currently, the country’s coastal aquaculture is nowhere near achieving its potential, reports Vietnam News.

What the country needs is the development of technical infrastructure, according to the deputy minister of agriculture and rural development (MARD). In particular, this infrastructure is needed to support the commercial farming of marine species, said Phung Duc Tien.

Since 2010, he said, Vietnam’s marine aquaculture have increased in area and output at an annual rate of around 20%, he said. These activities cover 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres), and production is 650,000 metric tons (mt).

Government’s ambitious targets for the sector

By 2025, MARD aims to achieve output of 850,000 mt from an aquaculture area of 280,000 hectares, and exports approaching US$1 billion. By 2045, its targets are total output of 3 million metric tons (mmt), and exports to the value of US$10 billion.

As a first step to achieving these ambitious goals, the government has recently approved a project to further develop the aquaculture sector to 2030. Key elements of this future development are safety, efficacy, sustainability and a low environmental impact. For domestic and export markets, the sector will need to produce quality branded products. Furthermore, it must offer new employment opportunities as well as strengthen security in the country’s coastal regions.

Climate change adaptation, production restructuring, and the building of value chains are among the government’s key focus areas with this project.

Plans are already in place to set this project in motion, reports Vietnam News.

Several coastal cities and provinces have already been identified for development, and incentives are on offer for investors in the development of offshore aquaculture in Vietnam. Authorities are hoping to attract multispecies production using modern methods. Meanwhile, the government is offering support for research projects, and promoting the use of technology, as well as international technology transfer.

Recent development of Vietnamese aquaculture

Data from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics provide evidence for the growth of aquaculture in Vietnam over the second decade of this century.

In 2010, the country’s total production of fish, crustaceans and mollusks amounted to around 2.68 mmt with a value of just under US$6 billion. By 2019 — the most recent year for which figures have been published — these figures were 4.44 mmt and US$12.0 billion.

According to the FAO, Vietnam produces a wide range of farmed fish, crustaceans, mollusks and aquatic plants.

Of the 2019 total, the leading fish species produced in Vietnam is the tra catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus), which accounted for 1.6 mmt. Also key species for the country in terms of output are the group of bony fishes (Osteichthyes) with 647,000 mt, as well as 440,000 mt of members of the carp family.

Among the nation’s most important crustaceans by tonnage were 577,000 mt of whiteleg shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) at 577,000mt and 261,000mt of giant tiger prawn (Penaeus monodon).

Latest figures from MARD indicate that total aquaculture production in 2021 was 8.73 mmt, a year-on-year rise of 1%.

As a sector, Vietnamese aquaculture generated US$8.9 billion in exports last year, said Tien. This was achieved despite a three-month suspension of export activity as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Fisheries and aquaculture accelerated sustainable development over the past year, he said. Shrimp were among the nation’s top six agricultural product categories in terms of turnover in 2021.

Meanwhile, market research organization Statista estimates Vietnamese aquaculture production in 2021 at 3.26 mmt of fish, 988,000 mt of shrimp, and 560,000 mt of other species. This total of just over 4.80 mmt is 80% higher than the FAO figure for the country’s output in 2010.

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