Seafood exports to the EU have been slowing down due to the public debt crisis in the region. However, the US and South American markets have “rescued” Vietnam’s tra fish.
In Mekong Delta provinces, 20 tra processing factories which account for 90 percent of the export volume, and have been running at full capacity since early February. Workers there have to work on Saturdays and Sundays as well, so that the companies can deliver products on schedule.
Agifish An Giang, Nam Viet, Viet An, Hung Ca, Hung Vuong and Vinh Hoan all have raised the processing output to 170-250 tons of tra fish materials per day. Things were quite different on the days just before Tet. As the export markets were narrowed, the factories only ran at moderate level.
The EU market has fallen dramatically. In order to find the ways out, a lot of seafood companies sent staffs to foreign countries to open new markets. Deputy Chair of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers VASEP Duong Ngoc Minh said a lot of new, non-EU markets have been opened.
Tra fish export doesn’t depend on the EU
Nguyen Van Ky, Director of Agifish An Giang, said that his 3000 workers have been working continuously since the Tet holiday finished, because the company is gearing up to fulfill the order.
“Every year we process 170-200 tons of fish. Every day we have orders from the US, Mexico, Brazil or other markets,” Ky said.
Most of the seafood export companies have affirmed that the US and South America have become the potential markets. The two markets have rescued the Vietnamese companies which in the past relied on the exports to the EU.
In the first quarter of 2012, the tra fish exports to the US, Mexico, Brazil increased by 50 percent in comparison with the same period of the last year. In 2011, the tra fish exports to the US accounted for 18 percent instead of 11 percent as in 2010 with the export turnover of 331.6 million dollars out of the 1.8 billion dollars in total. The figures were seven percent and 11 percent for the South America market.
“We exported 150 containers of tra fish in the first quarter alone. The South America market alone consumed 70 containers, up by 40 over the previous year,” said the representative of Hung Ca.
Great opportunities for processors
As for shrimp and other valuable seafood products, the EU, US and Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea remain the main markets. It is not easy to find new markets in the context of the economic downturn. With the moderate income, the consumers in South America and the Middle East do not have money to eat black tiger shrimp, tuna or octopus.
Seafood companies have predicted that the export volume in the first quarter of 2012 would plunge seriously. Especially, the exports to the EU may decrease by 20-30 percent.
According to General Director Thuan Phuoc Seafood Company Tran Van Linh, not only Thuan Phuoc, but all the companies which specialize in making shrimp and high grade products have suffered heavily from the economic difficulties in the Europe.
Therefore, Linh said that he has decided to redesign the products to make them fit consumers’ pockets. In the past, European importers usually bought shrimp in a whole and then hired workers to process different products. However, in the current difficulties, they have to give the jobs to partners.
“We have received some orders on processing products transferred from the importers from Germany, Spain, the US and France. This is the opportunity to take more jobs which allow increasing the income,” Linh said.
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