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Seafood sector invests in sustainable growth
The seafood sector will require additional investment totalling VND40 trillion (US$1.9 billion) between now and 2020 in order to sustain export growth in a highly competitive global market and continue meeting stricter international food safety standards, according to a new Government plan for the development of the industry.

Under the plan, seafood breeding and processing would be conducted in an industrialised chain from caged breeding to end market, said the deputy head of the Directorate of Fisheries, Chu Tien Vinh.
"Hygiene and safety of products will be standardised to better cater to the demand of foreign consumers, and the catch and scale of production will also be extended with clean technology and special attention to environmental protection," Vinh said.
The plan targets an annualy yearly output for the seafood industry of over 4.5 million tonnes, with export earnings of $5-5.5 billion by 2020. The industry would also meet growing domestic demand and generate around 3.5 million jobs.
Production of tra fish would account for about 1.5-2 million tonnes of output, with projected growth of 4.8 per cent per year, while freshwater shrimp production would rise to 700,000 tonnes and saltwater fish, 200,000 tonnes. Other products, including tilapia, shellfish and squid, would be further developed in the future to meet market demand.
Implementation of the plan would require a concerted effort by multiple stakeholders, including breeders, business and the State, said Vinh.
"What we need most now is funding," he added. "The Government should make the pioneering investment, while we keep rallying for other resources."
Investment from the State budget, ultimately expected to account for 10 per cent of investment under the plan, would be used to improve infrastructure and technology on a large scale, as well as complete monitoring and environmental warning systems.
Financing from both organisational and commercial sources would account for up to half of the needed investment.
Agricultural officials hoped the scheme would be put into effect this year, following assignment of tasks to different entities as needed to create a specific roadmap.
The plan would set six priorities for the seafood sector, including establishing concentrated seafood areas, developing breeding systems, conducting research on seafood cultivation, boosting technology transfer, preventing epidemics and improving environment. Under the plan, 100 per cent of seafood products would meet quality standards and be disease-free by 2020.
In approving the scheme, the Prime Minister also stressed the need to establish professional associations to protect legitimate rights of breeders and connect them with banks, experts, processors and traders.
Vinh said recent successes and failures involving tra fish and shrimp breeding had taught the industry to be more "choosy" in production and in seeking overseas business partnerships.
Emphasis would be shifted toward sustainable growth and long-term clients, with the application of clean technologies and increased added-value, he said.
Last year, the seafood sector set a record with more than $5 billion in export value. Viet Nam's seafood exports rank sixth in the world and fourth in Asia behind China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. There are currently 396 Vietnamese seafood processing enterprises qualified to export directly to the EU market.


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