The proposed restructure of the tra fish sector should focus on improving quality and diversifying products and on export markets and processors' finances and management, experts told a seminar held in Mekong Delta Dong Thap province on February 5.

Le Vinh Tan, deputy head of the Central Economic Committee, said the industry has been showing signs of decline in the past five years and faced with several challenges like decline in exports to major markets, trade barriers in some markets and unhealthy competition among processors and farmers.

Tra fish was a major national product, and so the restructuring and sustainable development of the industry must be done at every stage from zoning and farming to processing and consumption, he said.

The survival of the industry depended much on developing export markets, which account for most of the output, he said.

Vu Trong Binh, head of the Central Economic Committee's Local Economy Department, saying the industry is plagued by oversupply, called for precisely identifying the area needed for breeding tra and setting up a centre to research and improve the quality of tra fry and provide market information about the fish.

Duong Quoc Xuan, deputy head of the Southwest Region Steering Committee, said restructuring of the tra industry was one of the components of a regional linkage project covering the Mekong Delta's three major products – rice, shrimp and fish, and fruits.

Delta provinces should join hands to review the tra breeding area and trade promotion activities and study tra processors to properly restructure the sector, he said.

Participants told the seminar that the delta provinces should follow a Government decree zoning land for pangasius farming and regulating processing and export.

Truong Thi Le Khanh, chairwoman of Vinh Hoan Corporation, said the restructure of the industry should cover the quality of tra fry, use of advanced farming techniques and diversifying products.

Besides, processors would have to improve their financial capability and business strategies, she said.

The Government should offer tax breaks and have flexible policies, she said.

Tra is bred on 6,000ha of ponds, mostly in the Mekong Delta, according to the Vietnam Tra Fish Association (VTFA).

Statistics from VTFA show that Vietnam’s tra fish export was valued at 1.76 billion USD in 2014, up 0.4 percent against that of 2013.

The export saw an increase in such markets as China, Hong Kong (China) Colombia, and Mexico in 2014. However the sector faced a continuous decline in the two largest markets, namely the European Union and the US.

Vietnam accounts for the major share of the global tra fish market, with its products being sold to nearly 150 countries and territories.-VNA