Illustrative photo (Photo:VNA)

Can Tho (VNA) – Shrimp breeders as well as small and medium processors in Mekong Delta provinces will benefit from a European Union-funded project launched by Oxfarm Vietnam and the International Collaborating Centre for Aquaculture and Fisheries Sustainability in Can Tho city on May 25.

The project “Sustainable and equitable shrimp production and value chain development”, worth 2.5 million EUR, aims to promote sustainable economic prosperity and poverty reduction in Vietnam, through easing social and environmental impacts of shrimp value chain development.

It has been implemented in Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau provinces from March 2016 to February 2020, benefiting 20,000 shrimp producers, 25,000 workers in small- and medium-sized processing factories, and 20,000 residents.

Alejandro Montalban, Minister Counselor of the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam, noted that the project will contribute to resulting in efficient use of resources, responsible production supply chains and practices, improved social and environmental conditions and reduced waste.

More specifically, besides the technical support, the project will seek solutions to help small-scale shrimp breeders and small and medium processors access financial sources while empowering them to have a stronger voice in negotiation with other actors in the value chain, he added.

According to Oxfarm Vietnam, the aquaculture sector contributes more than 3 percent to the national GDP. Shrimp production, which accounted for over 44 percent of the sector’s total output in 2015, creates jobs and incomes for about 700,000 households.

Nguyen Le Hoa, Oxfarm Vietnam Deputy Country Director, said that the shrimp sector experienced a tough year of 2015 with a sharp fall in export revenue due to unfavourable weather conditions and slashing prices in consumer markets.

Although satisfactory signs for shrimp exports are forecast in 2016, the sector is still affected by drops in shrimp prices and competitiveness pressure, she highlighted.

Experts recommended that the domestic shrimp sector will face a line-up of challenges such as diseases, environmental pollution and trade barriers.

Shrimp production provides livelihoods for over a million of Vietnamese people and improves incomes for small scale farmers who are accounting for more than 80 percent of Vietnam shrimp production.

However, the booming development of the shrimp industry, which relies on saline water ecology, has caused serious environmental and social problems. In addition, limited access to capital sources is also a barrier for producers who want to enlarge their production and comply with stipulated standards.-VNA