Vietnamese tra (Pangasius) fish may no longer be a leading staple in the global market in the near future as it has to compete with other rivals for the lion’s share of the market.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnamese tra fish is increasingly losing its global competitiveness due to unhealthy competition among domestic businesses, anti-dumping lawsuits and poor quality.

Vietnam is struggling to gain the lion’s share of the market as it faces fierce competition from other regional tra fish producers and processors such as Thailand , Cambodia , Laos , the Philippines and Indonesia . These rivals are expanding their aquaculture acreage to take advantage of the industry’s obvious economic prospects.

The Filipino Department of Trade and Industry recently approved a 15.8 million USD Pangasius farming project, aiming to earn 23 million USD in export revenue by 2016.

The Philippines also plans to reserve 270ha of water for Pangasius farming, employ 2,700 workers, and produce 614 tonnes of fillets per month.

Indonesia does not want to lose out to its neighbours and its General Director in charge of aquaculture under the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), Slamet Soebjakto, said that like the Mekong River , the Batanghari River that runs across the central Indonesian province of Jambi holds great potential for Pangasius farming. He said his country wants to turn the river into one of its largest aquaculture centres.

Slamet even disclosed Indonesia ’s ambitious plan to exploit Indonesia ’s rivers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds and artificial lakes so it will become the world’s largest fish producer in the future. He said the MMAF has chosen Pangasius as one of the key staple products for industrialising Indonesia ’s aquaculture industry.

Experts say Indonesia ’s potential and fish resources can be compared to those of Vietnam , and if Indonesia takes full advantage of its transferred technology and local labour, it will not be long before the country surpasses Vietnam in Pangasius production.

Over the past decade, naturally farmed tra fish from the Mekong River Delta has emerged as one of Vietnam ’s key export products.

The volume of farmed tra fish has increased by 50 times, surpassing 1 million tonnes annually. It has been exported to 142 countries and territories across the globe, with its export value increasing 65 folds and generating 2 percent of Vietnam ’s GDP.

The product is part and parcel of Vietnam ’s national fisheries development strategy because great amounts can be produced using only 6,000 ha of water, which is only 1 percent of that required for shrimp farming. It is highly competitive on the global market, creates tens of thousands of jobs, and contributes to the country’s economic restructuring, especially in the rural Mekong Delta.-VNA