Tra fish exports drop dramatically due to social distancing from Covid-19 | Business
A representative of the Directorate of Fisheries made this statement during the virtual conference chaired by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan on September 25 with the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Vietnam Association Pangasius, from the Vietnamese Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), leaders of the region’s provinces and exporters.
Due to strict social distancing mandates, tra fish processing facilities in the Mekong Delta have reduced their processing capacity, leading to a long-term drop in fish prices to 21,000 VND – 22,000 VND per kilogram, again lower than production costs.
About 119 fish processing plants with 190,000 employees in the region are eligible for export. About 49 percent of factories ceased operations in early September and 70 percent of facility workers were unemployed.
A representative from VASEP said that since mid-July, the Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected the sector due to social distancing. Tra fish processing factories in the city of Can Tho in the Mekong Delta have been temporarily closed.
It is expected that many businesses will not resume operations in October due to a shortage of employees and finances.
Due to these difficulties mentioned above, the pangasius export turnover in August 2021 decreased by 28.5% during the same period, and is expected to continue to decline by 30% year-on-year in September. However, pangasius export turnover alone in the first eight months of 2021 increased by 8.8% compared to the same period in 2020 thanks to steady growth in new markets such as Russia. , Brazil, Egypt, Colombia and the United States. The demand for pangasius in many countries is expected to increase, especially at the end of the year.
However, companies are unable to restart production quickly or increase production, resulting in lost orders at the end of the year; worse, companies have been reluctant to accept new orders.
Duong Nghia Quoc, president of the Vietnam Pangasius Association, said that from 2019 to now, the price of pangasius has fluctuated at a low level for a long time, so that farmers are no longer interested in raising fish. Meanwhile, dozens of companies are also facing difficulties due to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, some factories have maintained their operations in accordance with the Covid-19 prevention and control regulations with high costs and many risks.
Therefore, seafood companies in the Mekong Delta are hopeful that the health ministry will allocate more vaccines to speed up vaccination coverage in order to restart production and processing into the new normal. In addition, companies have asked banks to cut interest rates and extend debt for the recovery of the pangasius industry, especially in the latter months of the year.
Many companies have suggested that the Mekong Delta provinces should eliminate the hardship for their drivers who should be allowed to travel from province to province to collect raw materials. Currently, due to epidemic prevention, workers cannot travel to another province to harvest the fish.
Vice Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son expressed sympathy for companies in the pangasius industry. At the same time, he proposed that the localities simply apply the distance in the red zone and expand the green zone to facilitate the expansion of the production of fishing companies. At this point, the health ministry plans to provide more vaccines to pangasius companies in the region.
Dong Thap Provincial Party Committee secretary Le Quoc Phong said that during production expansion, fish processing facilities should have an appropriate response when a worker tests positive for SARS-CoV- 2, without applying a locking measure. Therefore, companies should build a reasonable production line with the most optimal production plan to deal with the problem.
Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Le Minh Hoan suggested that Mekong Delta provinces should strengthen regional ties to develop the pangasius industry.