Although the results of catfish exports in the first half of 2022 are positive, the price of inputs for catfish farming is not stable, gradually increasing along with every cycle of increasing petrol prices.

With the growth of the catfish industry in the first half of 2022, raw materials are the factors invested by enterprises to continue to meet orders for the last months of the year.

In addition, catfish processing and exporting enterprises also actively boosted exports to major markets in the last months of the year when it is forecast that there will be a decrease in exports.

Solving raw material issues

Although the results of catfish exports in the first half of 2022 are positive, the enterprises have all been speeding up after returning to new normal production, but the price of inputs for catfish farming is not stable, gradually increasing along with every cycle of increasing petrol prices.

Therefore, the demand for raw catfish increased, but it was difficult for farmers to gain profits as desired.

According to Mr. Duong Nghia Quoc, Chairman of the Vietnam Catfish Association, currently, the price of catfish of 0.8-1 kg/piece can be exported to the US and the EU is at 28,000-29,000 VND/kg. For catfish of 1.1-1.3 kg/piece, the price is only 27,000 VND/kg. Therefore, many farmers are reluctant to release the breed.

Mr. Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said that the global demand for seafood products increased again after a long period of suppression by COVID-19. The price of seafood products also increased following the inflation trend in the global market.

Inflation and tensions between Russia and Ukraine also boosted the growth of Vietnam’s seafood exports. After imposing sanctions on Russia, countries with the leading suppliers of white meat fish such as Europe, the US, and the UK fell into a shortage of white meat fish and had to find other supplies. This is the reason why catfish exports increased 83% in the first 6 months of the year…

This result shows a positive signal for the sector, but there are still many risks threatening the seafood sector in the second half of the year. In particular, enterprises have to answer the question of whether there are enough processed materials for the year-end orders.

The shortage of raw materials is still the biggest challenge for seafood exports in general and catfish in particular in the last months of the year. However, many experts said that, perhaps, supply shortages are much better than excesses.

This can be a problem in the short term for enterprises but also the reason for each enterprise to put more effort into developing its value chain in a sustainable way.

According to the Vietnam Catfish Association, in the Mekong Delta region, there is still a small number of commercial catfish farmers who do not participate in the chain.

In the context of a sharp increase in the price of fish feed as well as other input materials, experts recommend that farmers should re-organize into a catfish farming cooperative to “buy together and sell together”. This will be very beneficial in terms of economics when buying input materials and selling catfish to processing enterprises.

 Maintain major markets

The catfish industry is forecast to slow down in the last months of 2022. However, catfish processing and exporting enterprises are still working very hard to improve their consumption and achieve their goals.

Farmers are harvesting catfish in O Mon district, Can Tho. (Photo: Thu Hien)

Keeping the major markets will have the opportunity to help the catfish industry overcome difficulties.

One of the most imported markets of Vietnamese catfish is China, which is estimated to import more than 490 million USD in 7 months, up 107% compared to the same period in 2021.

Earlier, this market applied a zero COVID policy that has made Vietnam’s seafood products difficult, but now, China has gradually removed and loosened COVID-19 control on product packaging.

This is a positive signal for the Vietnam seafood industry in general, catfish in particular in the last months of this year.

In the US market, in the last two months, catfish exports to this market have shown signs of slowing. High inflation caused food prices to increase by more than 10%, of which catfish prices increased by about 22%.

Utility chains, supermarkets, and businesses selling frozen seafood are negatively affected by inflation. This causes consumption to slow down, there is still a lot of inventory.

However, catfish processing and exporting enterprises said that by the third quarter of 2022, enterprises and importers in the US will have to prepare goods for the end-of-year festivals.

This is an opportunity to boost catfish exports in the coming time despite economic fluctuations.

Particularly in the markets of the CPTPP countries (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-pacific Partnership Agreement) in 7 months, the export of catfish to these markets increased by 66%; in which, the Mexican market grew the most stable despite the world political and economic fluctuations.

According to VASEP, the Mexican market has become a potential market, surpassing both Thailand and Brazil in the coming time, because the demand for frozen food lines is increasingly popular in the country.

Because of the priority factor of food selection in large markets, this is an opportunity for catfish processing and exporting enterprises to have more hope of keeping the market as well as output and export value in the last months of 2022.

Ms. Truong Thi Le Khanh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Vinh Hoan Joint Stock Company, shared that in 2022, Vinh Hoan announced plans to expand the raw material catfish farming area, expansion area of about 100-150 ha, aiming to meet 70% of the company’s raw materials.

Vinh Hoan will also continue to grow strongly in its core industry of catfish farming and processing, surpassing the 1,000 tonnes of raw materials/day through investment, renovation, and expansion of existing plants and possibly moving towards the construction of new plants.

Thus, it can be seen that, for the catfish processing and exporting industry to develop smoothly, the leading catfish enterprises also have specific strategies for raw materials and markets to develop steadily in the last months of 2022./.