The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has approved a comprehensive seafood processing plan to be implemented over the next decade.

The plan seeks, among other things, to increase exports by 3.5 percent a year to 10 billion USD by 2020 when 2 million tonnes are sought to be shipped.

The domestic consumption of processed seafood is targeted to reach 950,000 tonnes a year after growing at an average annual rate of 3.3 percent.

The fisheries processing and cold storage capacity will be 2.1 million tonnes a year and 1.1 million tonnes a year.

To achieve the targets, the plan envisages upgrade and construction of industrialised seafood processing plants and equipping fishing boats and seafood-purchase vessels with storage facilities.

Also to be built are seafood processing industrial clusters, seafood cold storage facilities, and a centre for research in processing and preserving seafood.

There will be programmes to train workers in seafood processing and promote exports and local consumption.

Seafood processing activities will be spread across the country's four main regions, with processing capacity based on the availability of raw materials, infrastructure, and human resources in each place.

In the Red River Delta region, Hai Phong City will be the hub.

In the north-central and central-coastal region, Da Nang City and Khanh Hoa province will be the twin centres.

For the southeastern region, it will be HCM City and Ba Ria – Vung Tau province, while in the Mekong Delta region, it will be Can Tho.

The ministry will also focus on developing export markets and create brand names for the country's major fisheries exports like black tiger shrimp, tra fish, and tuna.

While major traditional markets like the EU, the US and Japan will continue to be served, new markets like China , Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and South America will be targeted.

Distributors and supermarkets will directly be targeted for exports and not importers, unlike now.

At home, modern sales networks will be developed in urban and industrial areas.

The plan will cost 24.6 trillion VND (1.17 billion USD) to implement, with the money coming from a variety of sources, including local and foreign loans and private investors./.