Quang Tri seafood industry The opportunity to export to Laos and Northeast Thailand

Thursday - 07/04/2016 22:30
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            Located in the central coastal region, Quang Tri has great potential in the exploitation of fisheries resources. Total aquaculture production was estimated at 33 200 tons, an increase of 4% compared to the year 2014 in which fish productivity is estimated at 24.500 tons, shrimp productivity is estimated at 5.280 tons.
              The total number of ships, fishing boats is up to 2280 in which offshore fishing vessels accounts for only 7% (161 vessels) so there are many things to be done  for the Quang Tri fishing industry to improve exploitation efficiency of marine resources. Quang Tri for the first time has built a steel fishing vessel with its capacity of 1200 CV and it is expected to put into operation in 2015. This is a good signal, a strong step expressing the desire of pushing off for fishing of Quang Tri fishermen.
However, the province's seafood industry is still facing to many difficulties in finding sustainable and effective development. Some of the reasons may be mentioned as the small scale of fishing of the households; fishing means are outdated and not in adequate investment, the fishermen feel passive in accessing to the information about consumption market. Finding the output market for the product is not only the endless concern of the seafood sector but also of the whole agricultural sector in Vietnam. These difficulties made Quang Tri seafood industry fall into a vicious circle of small scale, lack of investment leading to low business efficiency. To escape from that situation, the seafood industry needs to be more active in looking for the export markets towards the neighboring countries.
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In context, the seafood export industry of Vietnam has faced to many obstacles when it joins the world's major markets such as Europe and America, it can be seen that exporting to the small markets being more suitable for exploitation capacity of Vietnam fishermen in general and Quang Tri fishermen in particular.
In many respects of the market analysis, the seafood export of all kinds especially fresh goods in a closer and more accessible market such as Laos and Northeast of Thailand is very promising and prospective. Despite the fact that these two markets belong to two different countries (Laos and Thailand) but they have many similar characteristics in race, language, culture and consumption of seafood products is relatively high.
            Laos, the only country in The Greater Mekong Sub-region is not adjacent to the sea and the Northeast of Thailand is also a landlocked region. So seafood supply to meet domestic demand in the landlocked region depends entirely on the import or transport from the other provinces. This is a great opportunity for seafood enterprises in the central coast.
In terms of scale, this is a relatively large market with a total population of about 30 million people (Lao: 6.7 million; Northeast of Thailand: 23 million). The market of fresh seafood products and processing technology here have not really developed so both importers and consumers are very easygoing in selecting and purchasing products. Moreover, the exporters will be less likely to face non-tariff barriers when they join these markets. In terms of supply capacity, fishing scale of the fishermen in Quang Tri is quite in line with the market with a moderate scale in Laos and Northeast of Thailand. It is more important that it takes only 6 hours in nearly 300 km distance along the East-West Economic Corridor export products of Quang Tri have reached Savannakhet and Mukdahan markets. This is a great comparative advantage of Quang Tri provinces than other provinces in surrounding areas. The advantages of market access in Savannakhet (Laos), Mukdahan (Thailand) will bring the potential of exploiting the markets in the other provinces in the Northeastern region of Thailand.
                Agencies and Departments in the province should strengthen propaganda and encourage local enterprises to invest in the seafood exports to Laos and Thailand. On the one hand it is necessary to connect the enterprises with banks to solve the problem of lack of funds and on the other hand it is necessary to held meetings between local governments and Thai enterprises to build relationships of the business cooperation  between our province with the neighboring countries. Besides, we must mobilize local resources in conjunction with the foreign projects to improve the fishermen’s capacity in the organization, establishment and operation of exploitation groups which will play a very important role in the sustainable success of this model.
               When ASEAN Community (AEC 2015) is officially formed, investment, trading, exchanging goods across borders will become more convenient. Hopefully, this article will be a new suggestion for a provincial seafood industry in general and for the import and export enterprises in the province in particular. We should do research to build appropriate investment plans, taking advantages of the pioneers in the great seafood markets in Laos and Northeast region of Thailand.
 

Source: Nguyen Duc Thien – Department of Foreign Affairs

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