Seafood export is expectedly subject to a rapid increase in the next few months. To ensure a quick recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, all seafood companies need to adjust supplies and boost the manufacturing process to meet future demand, as well as penetrate into new potential markets.
According to the Agency of Foreign Trade (the Ministry of Industry and Trade), seafood exports of Vietnam reached 629 million USD in March 2020 – a 25.5% increase compared to figures for February 2020, yet a 7.7% decrease against the same period in 2019.
Exports anticipate a strong growth rate
Thanks to the gradual market recovery in China, seafood exports in March witnessed positive signals. Specifically, in the first quarter, the quantities of exported seafood to traditional markets namely China, Korea, and the EU have decreased, while a low growth rate has been recorded in the numbers for Japan and America’s markets. Seafood trade with Canada and Russia has seen the most impressive growth rate when compared with the first quarter of 2019, with 10.1% and 22% respectively.
It is predicted that global import demand for sutchi catfish (Pangasius hypophthalmus) and other types of seafood will return stable as in previous years. As stated by VASEP (Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers), 500 containers of catfish will soon be shipped to China every month. Especially, there are increasingly more demands for canned tuna and striped tuna – annual produce of 200,000 tonnes – in high-value markets such as America, EU, Japan, etc.
After the Covid-19 pandemic, since the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement will possibly come into effect this July, seafood into European markets will have more competitive advantages against products from India or Thailand.
Moreover, Vietnam may have opportunities to promote shrimp products when many strong competitors like India and Ecuador are being strongly hit by Covid-19.
In VASEP’s report for the next quarter, sutchi catfish is predicted to have a dynamic recovery with a possible increase of 30% or 40% against the same period last year. A high growth rate is also anticipated for export turnover of sutchi catfish to the US.
Boost manufacture and diversify consumption markets
As per the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s leaders, after the nationwide social lockdown in Vietnam is eased, the Ministry will organize a conference with all provincial leaders with an initial plan to focus on key seafood products: shrimps, sutchi catfish, etc.
According to Mr. Tran Dinh Luan – Head of Directorate of Fisheries: “It is necessary to build up the best solutions for all fishermen and seafood enterprises to recover their business and expand to more potential markets.”
In the context of the epidemic, consumers tend to prioritize seafood segments like frozen, canned and dry products suitable for long-term storage. Processed food, semi-processed food and low-price products are favorable, while fresh seafood’s demand will suffer a dramatic decrease. This trend will be widespread throughout the globe, even after the pandemic is totally controlled. All Vietnam seafood enterprises must update the market trend to adjust the production process and implement appropriate measures.
One previous news has emphasized the need to “devise” new markets for Vietnam fruits, and similarly, it is also advisable that seafood export companies need to seek more high-value markets to reduce risks and enhance export turnover. Norway is cited as a potential market for Vietnam seafood export. As stated in the reports of the International Trade Center (ITC), Norway’s seafood import turnover has increased from 535 million USD to 619 million USD between 2015 and 2019. Vietnam’s share in all quantities of seafood shipped to Norway has steadily increased in the last 5 years, but still maintained at a low level of 5.5% in 2019. In the first 02 months of 2020, Vietnam’s seafood export value to Norway gained 5.6 million USD, increasing by 1% against the same period last year.
Translated and Edited by: Dandelion