In the first quarter of 2024, total seafood export turnover was nearly 2 billion USD, up 8% over the same period last year. However, the catfish product did not regain positive growth when it decreased by 0.05%. Since it is difficult to recover in key markets, the industry has made efforts to open new markets such as South America or the Middle East.

Catfish exports have not yet regained positive growth.

The reason for the decline of catfish products in the first quarter of 2024 is that major markets such as the EU, China, and South Korea sharply reduced their imports. The VASEP said that in the first three months of this year, catfish exports only reached 423 million USD, down 0.05% over the same period in 2023.

In terms of export markets, China and Hong Kong (China) remained the largest markets for Vietnam’s catfish, but the export volume decreased sharply. Particularly in March 2024, catfish exports to China decreased by 22%. The average export price was 1.94 USD/kg, down 1.5% compared to the end of 2023.

The second-largest export market of Vietnam’s catfish, the US, also recorded a decline. 

For the EU, this used to be Vietnam’s largest catfish import market with sales peaking at 511 million USD in 2010, accounting for 36% of Vietnam’s total catfish export turnover at that time. However, in the following years, catfish exports to this market decreased sharply. In the first two months of 2024, catfish exports to the EU reached only 21 million USD, down 28% over the same period in 2023.

According to General Customs, in March 2024, Vietnam exported more than 2 million USD of catfish to the UAE, which was an increase of 62% compared to March 2024. Accumulated in the first three months this year, exports to this market reached more than 7 million USD, up 67% over the same period last year.

Catfish prices have been low since 2023, while most other input costs are much higher than in previous years, so farmers do not make any profit./.