So far, Pangasius has been rather an exclusive product of Vietnam. However, the picture is being repainted while pangasius farming is a recent development in some countries.
VASEP’s General Secretary Trương Đình Hòe said that annual pangasius production of India reaches 650 thousand tons, Indonesia 110 thousand tons, China 10 thousand tons, and Vietnam 1.3 million tons in 2017 alone. “China has harvested 10 thousand tons of pangasius from Hải Nam island where the fish are farmed at low FCR, stocking density and sold at low price”, said Hòe.
Nhữ Văn Cẩn, Director General of Department of Aquaculture (D – Fisheries) emphasized “Vietnam will suffer from pressure of competition once other countries invest into pangasius production. We should have specific plans and orientation in the future”. Chairman of Vietnam Pangasius Association Dương Quốc Nghĩa said that pangasius of Indonesia and Bangladesh is getting small market share but invested advanced technology. Once they increase their pangasius production, Vietnamese firms will be directly competed.
Võ Đông Đức, Chairman of BOD of Can Tho Import – Export Seafood JSC (CASEMEX) said “Our pangasius is exclusive no more and we have to change positively for competition. We must define our position, strength and weakness so that we can improve our farming, processing, export, and organization”.
Challenges in production
“Quality of young pangasius is increasingly reducing, leaving low survival rate at commercial farming stage and production. Early 2018 young fish suffered from diseases in key farming ponds, which might affect the provision in the next months” warned Dương Quốc Nghĩa.
According to Agro-Processing and Market Development Authority, the organization of products is not reasonable. Frozen pangasius accounts for over 92% (included fillet, whole fish, portion), the rest 8% with no different forms. Few enterprises use additives so that the fish easily gain weight, besides they add too much glaze which reduces the quality of the product and credibility of Vietnam’s pangasius in the global markets.
According to Directorate of Fisheries, a decisive method to raise the pangasius quality is a chain of production, starting with ponds. Identification numbers have been granted to 4,860 ponds, 1,642 of which are in Đồng Tháp, 912 in Cần Thơ, 791 in An Giang, 680 in Vĩnh Long, 611 in Bến Tre, 143 in Tiền Giang and 81 in Sóc Trăng.
Improve quality of young fish
In his speech in a convention about pangasius, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường said there would be much potential development for pangasius industry. Value chain is not good at the moment while competitiveness is not high and linkage is weak. Minister required putting fish fries as the first priority as well as enhancing the linkage in the production and consumption.
An Giang is developing the project of improving An Giang Fish Fries Center to An Giang high quality pangasius fries Center and investing into infrastructure in three main fry production locations. Đồng Tháp is implementing “The project of high quality pangasius production upon linkage among the Government, enterprises and farmers, period 2018 – 2028”, and planning farming areas of 400 hectares. Some households are working together and becoming a community or cooperative.