Vietnam’s pangasius exports in the first five months of 2020 amounted to $456 million, a 39% decrease from the previous year. This decline was primarily due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Vietnam’s seafood export volume to core markets, such as China, EU, and the US.
Full Recovery Expected in Quarter III of 2020
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the pangasius sector is forecasted to recover fully in quarter III of 2020. However, the swift slump has made pangasius exporting companies that depend on those markets face multiple difficulties, which have directly impacted pangasius material production.
Sales to Core Markets Decline
Sales to China, EU, and the US saw a double-digit decrease compared to the same period last year. The demand for pangasius material has also been quite low, as most large companies refuse to buy pangasius from outsiders but buy fish from contracted farmers.
Impact on Prices
The drop in demand has kept prices of pangasius material in the Mekong Delta low for the last few months. After the April 30-May 01 holidays, prices that companies offer and their purchases remained as before, ranging between 18,000 and 18,200 dong/kg (pangasius type I size 700-900g/pc).
Efforts to Improve Quality
To achieve the growth of the pangasius sector as soon as possible, the sector will pay strict attention to control aquaculture conditions and quality of materials. The Directorate of Fisheries plans to grant/re-grant identification codes to fish farms in accordance with the Fisheries Law.
Participation in a Production Chain
Farmers and processing companies need to participate in a production chain. An electronic traceability system is built in the export chain from processing companies to farming facilities and growing farms that are already granted identification codes for information transparency assurance.
Improving Quality of Broodstock
The General Director of the Directorate of Fisheries, Trần Đình Luân, said that pangasius, which is able to grow and develop in salty water, must be selected to enhance the quality of broodstock.
In summary, the pangasius sector in Vietnam has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 39% decline in exports in the first five months of 2020. However, the sector is expected to recover fully in quarter III of 2020. To achieve this, the sector needs to improve the quality of materials and control aquaculture conditions. An electronic traceability system has been put in place to ensure transparency, and farmers and processing companies need to participate in a production chain. The quality of broodstock also needs to be enhanced to improve the pangasius sector’s overall growth.