There is a very large demand for items processed from seaweed to domestic and international markets, but the source of high-quality raw materials suitable to the requirements of enterprises is lacking.

Fisheries resources are running out. The number of coastal boats is too large to be reduced, to meet the European Commission’s requirement for a fishery yellow card. The development of aquaculture is becoming an inevitable trend. In particular, the exploitation and cultivation of seaweed is considered to have many potentials. However, the development of the seaweed industry in Central provinces is inadequate.

In the Central region, from Quang Ngai to Binh Thuan, there is a large potential for seaweed development. However, this area has not developed yet to match its potential as in Phu Yen. The seaweed growing area is now only 3.7 ha, of which mainly is grape seaweed.

There is a very large demand for items processed from seaweed to domestic and international markets, but the source of high-quality raw materials suitable to the requirements of enterprises is lacking.

While many other fishermen choose to raise lobster or fish, from 2020 up to now, Mr. Nhuan (Owner of Phuc Khang Grape Seaweed Facility, Phu Yen) decided to grow grape seaweed. On 1.2 ha of water surface, he collects 15 tons each year, besides, he associates to buy 15 more tons from two other households in the region. With this output, Mr. Nhuan sells part of it fresh, and part of it is dehydrated and packaged for sale to the market. Each year, after deducting expenses, the profit is about 200 million VND.

In the Central region from Quang Ngai to Binh Thuan, the area of seaweed cultivation is now about 1,400 ha with three main objects: Gracilaria, Cottonii, and grape seaweed. The current problem is that the area to develop types of seaweed is quite large but many enterprises import up to 90% of raw materials from abroad.

For example, Son Hai Carrageenan Joint Stock Company only purchased more than 60 tons of Gracilaria in the region in the whole of 2021 and more than 120 tons in 2022.

It can be seen that the domestic and export market demand for products processed from seaweed is very large, but the source of high-quality raw materials suitable to the requirements of enterprises is lacking.

IT IS NECESSARY TO EXPAND THE SEAWEED GROWING AREA

Currently, Vietnam has only exploited and grown more than 1.1% of the area for seaweed although this is a high-value aquatic resource. This figure was given by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development at the Vietnam Seaweed Industry Development Conference.

It is necessary to expand the seaweed growing area.

There are 88 species of seaweed with economic value that can be grown on an area of 900,000 ha now. However, in the period 2005 – 2019, only more than 10,000 ha were used with an output of about 120,000 tons of fresh. The profit of grape seaweed is about 150 million/ha and Cottonii is about 60 million/ha.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development sets a target that by 2025, Vietnam’s seaweed production will reach 180,000 tons and by 2030, 500,000 tons.

DEVELOP SEAWEED INTO A COMMODITY INDUSTRY

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, it is now considered to be a golden time to develop the seaweed industry better and the development must be linked. Currently, there are models aimed at members of the chain to have better lives, higher economic efficiency, and sustainable development in terms of both economy and environment.

At a closed seaweed production chain from production to consumption in Khanh Hoa, farmers participate in growing seaweed with enterprises without worrying about capital and output. After being harvest cycle, seaweed will be sold by the enterprises to domestic processing plants and exporters. Now, the enterprises are expanding other chains in the South Central provinces.

In the Central region from Quang Ngai to Binh Thuan, the area of seaweed cultivation is about 1,400 ha with three main objects: Gracilaria, Cottonii, and grape seaweed.

The development of the seaweed industry is still quite new to farmers and experts believe that a seaweed industry cannot develop sustainably if fishermen swim on their own.

With the advantage of a more than 3,200 km coastline, the potential area for seaweed cultivation in Vietnam is about 900,000 ha. Along with the development of appropriate plans and effective production organization, the target that the export turnover of this industry can reach 14 – 16 billion USD by 2023 is feasible./.

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Factory 1: Van Thai commune, Cam Giang district, Haiduong province, Vietnam
Factory 2: QL 13, Hiep An commune, Thu Dau Mot district, Binh Duong province, Vietnam