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Project to lift Pangasius sector sustainability

Pangasius is harvested at the Binh An Seafood Co in the southern province of Can Tho. The EU will support the entire pangasius supply chain, from hatcheries, feed producers and processors in Viet Nam to traders and end-use customers, including those in the EU, the largest export market for pangasius. — VNA/VNS Photo An Dang

Viet Nam plans to develop a sustainable supply chain for the Pangasius industry by 2020, experts said at a conference held in HCM City yesterday.

The Viet Nam Cleaner Production Centre and Viet Nam Association ofSeafood
Exporters and Producers (V ASEP) together with other partners yesterday
launched the Establishing a Sustainable Pangasius Supply Chain project (SUPA).

The project, worth 2.4 million euros (US$3.2 million), ofwhich the EU has funded
1.9 million euros ($2.5 million), will be implemented by the Viet Nam Cleaner
Production Centre, V ASEP , World Wildlife Fund (WWF-Viet Nam) and WWFAustria.

Speaking at the project-launch ceremony , Berenice Muraille, development
counselor ofthe delegation ofthe EU to Viet Nam, said SUPA would improve the
competitiveness ofViet Nam’s pangasius industry in the global market.

Under the project, the EU will support the entire pangasius supply chain, from
hatcheries, feed producers and processors in Viet Nam to traders and end-use
customers, including those in the EU, the largest export market for pangasius.

The four-year project, which ends in 2017, will focus on capacity-building;
promotion ofresponsible production to increase product quality; mitigation of
environmental impact and reduction ofproduction costs, by applying Resources
Efficiency and Cleaner Production methodologies; product innovation; and market
development and promotion.

The project also supports information exchange and techniques for households and
small- and medium-sized enterprises in applying the standards for sustainable
production as outlined under the Aquaculture Stewardship Council and Global
GAP (General Agricultural Practices) requirements.

Speaking at the ceremony , Nguyen Hoai Nam, V ASEP deputy secretary general,
said pangasius, which is used as a daily food for residents in the Cuu Long
(Mekong) Delta, has become a leading processing and export product ofthe
aquaculture sector.

Last year, the sector harvested about 1.2 million tonnes with export value ofmore
than $1.7 billion, up from $40 million in 2000, Nam said.

Besides its advantages, the pangasius sector is also facing a number ofchallenges
such as a lack oflong-term planning for the material production.

In addition, the exported products are not diverse, and prices are not stable.

The industry has not built a brand for the product, which allows it to be affected
by negative information about its quality from rivals, he told Viet Nam News.

According to Nam, the most critical issue in the industry is the lack ofa valuechain and a balance between production and consumption, which has caused
instability in profits and supply capacity.

Cleaner production

Tran Van Nhan, director ofthe Viet Nam Cleaner Production Centre, said SUPA
was one ofthe support projects for Viet Nam’s pangasius industry that uses
effective methods for sustainable production and market promotion.

The project also includes the application ofresearch results into practice, Nhan
said.

Le Xuan Thinh, coordinator ofthe project, said the target groups ofthe project
include 200 aquatic feed producers, 1,000 pangasius hatcheries, 100 pangasius
processing companies, 750 small pangasius farms and 150 middle to large
pangasius farms.

It is expected that by the completion ofthe project at least 70 per cent ofthe
targeted mid – to large pangasius producing and processing enterprises, and 30 per
cent ofthe feed producers and small independent producers, will be actively
engaged in resource efficiency and cleaner production.

In addition, by 2017, at least 50 per cent oftargeted small- and medium-sized
processing enterprises will provide sustainable products compliant with ASC
standards to the EU as well as other markets, according to Thinh.

Vietnamese pangasius is well-liked by local and international consumers for its
high nutritious value, white meat, few bones and lack ofsmell or sediment. It is
also considered a safe product for all age groups.

Viet Nam has nearly 70 pangasius export and processing companies, all ofwhich
have advanced equipment.

Pangasius farming areas are strictly managed according to national regulations on
food safety and environmental protection.

As ofJune 2012, more than halfoffish farming areas nationwide had been audited
and certified by internationally sustainable standards, such as Global GAP ,
AquaGAP , BAP/GAA and ASC.

The fish is exported to 145 countries and territories worldwide, particularly to the
EU, the US, ASEAN member countries, Canada, the Middle East, China and
Japan. — VNS

From VN News 3rd of August 2013

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