Localities in the Mekong Delta are striving to reach a total tra (pangasius) fish output of 1.6 million tonnes and a revenue of 2.5-3 billion USD from exporting this product by 2020.

Under a plan on tra fish production and consumption in the region, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development requires the localities to expand the total farming area to 7,260 hectares of the Vietnam Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP) standards by 2020.

Head of the Directorate of Fisheries Pham Anh Tuan said at a meeting in Can Tho city on July 10 that to introduce the plan by 2015, the region will farm 5,270 hectares of tra fish each year, striving for 1.2 million tonnes in total output and 650,000-700,000 tonnes of processed products, and 2-2.3 billion USD in export value.

According to Tuan, to achieve the targets, the localities have worked out plans to invest in infrastructure at farming areas, choose higher-quality strains, and improve the chain of farming, purchasing, processing and consuming.

The region is now home to 94 tra fish processing factories with a total capacity of nearly 1 million tonnes per year.

During the 2014-15 period, local factories will focus on renovating their production chains in order to improve the quality of products and, at the same time, reduce production cost.

Meanwhile, in the 2016-20 period, they will apply new technologies to the production of tra fish by-products to meet the demand of both domestic and foreign costumers.

To expand foreign markets for tra fish, ministries, authorities and Mekong Delta localities will work out trade protection measures adaptable to commercial disputes and international technical barriers, especially in the US and European Union markets, while promoting the image of tra fish in EU countries, China, Russia, Mexico, Middle East and India.

The localities will also change the mode of export by boosting direct export to distribution systems, and major shopping centres and supermarkets in order to reduce intermediary stages.-VNA