The value of tra fish ( pangasius ) exports is expect to fall slightly next year due to a lack of raw materials, difficulty in obtaining loans for investments and losses by farmers.

According to a representative of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), while summarising activities in the fisheries industry at a meeting held in Hanoi on December 24, the association expects 2014 exports of tra fish to decrease 5 percent, for a total value of 1.7 billion USD.

Nguyen Huy Dien, deputy head of the Fisheries Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said at the meeting that the industry would restructure production and exports of tra fish to continue developing the tra fish industry next year and in the future.

Last year, the department provided 110,000 tra fish for breeding to farmers and companies in Cuu Long Delta provinces, said Dien. These fish, however, will not be ready for harvesting and processing until 2015.

Also, the department has collected opinions on boosting the trade promotion of tra fish to increase its export value, as well as the added value of tra fish products and enlarging domestic consumption, he said.

Under the plan, the domestic consumption of tra fish would increase by 100 percent in 2015 and another 300 percent by 2020, while the export value of tra fish would reach 2.2 billion USD in 2015 and 3 billion USD in 2020.

Next year, it would also supply a proposal to the ministry on policies for loans, insurance and production cooperation for farmers and processors of tra fish for export.

According to the ministry, this year's output of tra fish fell by 7.6 percent to 1.15 million tonnes, compared to last year, and the export value of tra fish reached 1.8 billion USD this year, which was similar to last year.

The tra fish market is expected to recover by year's end due to the holidays, though farmers have already sold out their raw material of tra fish.

Dien said tra fish production this year faced many challenges, including a reduction in export prices and strict standards from two large export markets, the US and the EU.

Meanwhile, many farmers suffered losses while raising tra fish on a small scale due to a lack of capital, he said.

Vietnam has 236 tra fish exporters, and 94 of them have processing factories that account for 90 percent of total tra fish export value. Vietnamese tra fish has been exported to 149 countries.-VNA