A project on the sustainable pangasius supply chain in Vietnam is expected to help boost the sector. Report by the Vietnam Economic News.

With total value of nearly 2.4 million EUR (3.1 million USD), a project aimed at establishing a sustainable pangasius supply chain in Vietnam (SUPA), presided over by the Vietnam Cleaner Production Centre (VNCPC), with the participation of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Vietnam and the WWF Austria, has begun.

The project is expected to boost the development of the Vietnamese pangasius sector in the direction of cleaner production and contribute to the establishment of a sustainable pangasius supply chain for the sector.

Pangasius is a major export product of Vietnam. For the last many years, however, due to strict quality and product origin requirements of importing countries, the Vietnamese pangasius sector has met numerous difficulties in seeking new markets to boost exports.

The SUPA project has been developed in such a context. Under this project, a supply chain involving all stages of pangasius production will be set up. Involved in the chain will be those who produce feed for pangasius, young fish and chemicals, those who breed pangasius and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which combine pangasius breeding and processing, pangasius processing companies, purchasers, international distributors and Vietnamese traders, big retailers and shops. The project will link all sides concerned into a chain consisting of farmers, businesses, importers, retailers and processing plants to create quality and competitive finished products.

According to Ngo Tien Chuong, WWF Vietnam’s Aquaculture Coordinator, the project proposes comprehensive solutions to deal with problems facing the pangasius sector. Specifically, the project will focus on improving production capability and promoting responsible production in order to improve the quality of products, minimize environmental impacts and reduce production costs through the effective utilization of natural resources and the application of cleaner production methods (RE-CP) as well as efforts to innovate products and develop the market. Chain links will be tightened to optimize the interests of all sides involved while standards set by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) will be applied to meet market requirements.

The project will help SMEs and household-sized producers exchange information and provide them with technical assistance so that they can apply ASC standards to promote sustainable production and enhance the competitiveness of the Vietnamese pangasius sector in the global market.

The project will provide farmers with training on fish breeding techniques and quality management to that they can create the best products. Pangasius processing companies will be assisted to apply the most advanced technologies so that they can efficiently use energy and material resources and launch products which meet the highest requirements of import markets.

The implementation of the project began in April 2013 and will finish in March 2017. Its goal is turning Vietnam into a sustainable, environmentally friendly pangasius producer and exporter by 2020, bringing it socioeconomic benefits. At least 70 percent of businesses in the Vietnamese pangasius sector will produce and process pangasius at a medium or large scale; 30 percent will produce feed for pangasius and have independent small-sized farms, taking the initiative in joining efficient natural resource utilization and cleaner production processes; at least 50 percent will be able to supply the market with sustainable, international-standard products.

Total expenditure on the SUPA project is nearly 2.4 million EUR or 64 billion VND, of which 1.9 million EUR (80 percent) is funded by the EU through the EU Switch-Asia Program and the remainder, 20 percent, is contributed by organisations which take part in implementing the project.-VNA