VIET NAM - The Viet Nam Aquaculture Festival 2014 kicked off in central coastal Phu Yen province, about 950 km south from capital Hanoi, on Friday and is scheduled to last until 2 April, to highlight local aquaculture, according to organizers.
The festival, themed "Vietnam's aquaculture -- Integration and Development," and held on the occasion of the 55th founding anniversary of the Viet Nam's aquaculture sector, is believed to be an opportunity for insiders to review their business and to discuss ways for further development.
There will be many activities during the six-day festival, including trade promotion for aquaculture development, seminars and meetings for investors to introduce their products and seek partners, and artistic performances to highlight the culture of the coastal localities and fishermen, local Vietnam Investment Review reported.
Over the years, aquaculture has been ranked among Vietnam's top industries having the fastest growth rate. Vietnamese aquatic exports are among key agricultural exports that annually brings billions of US dollars to the country. To date, they are available in more than 150 countries and territories worldwide.
In 2013, Viet Nam earned $6.7 billion from aquatic exports, compared to $2.7 billion in 2005, and the figure is expected to reach $6.9 billion this year, according to the Viet Nam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
However, investment, both domestic and foreign, in aquaculture sector has not yet met demand for development. In 2013, the country attracted 70 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in aquaculture, aquatic processing, feed production, and little stocks breeding, with total registered capital of only $300 million. The figures are modest if compared with the country' s total 2,120 new and expanded FDI projects and over $22.35 billion recorded in the year.
Insiders attributed low FDI flows into aquaculture to lots of risks and unattractive preferences given to investors. That's why investment in aquaculture mostly comes from the state's budget but it is still small. During the 2006-2010 period, MARD spent only three per cent of its total investment into the entire agriculture, forestry and sea food sector. The figure would be increased to seven per cent during 2011-2015, and 10 per cent during 2016-2020, said the ministry.
In its strategy to boost the sea economy towards the year 2020, Viet Nam has defined the task of developing aquaculture, exploitation and processing sector into one of the spearhead economies so as by 2020 the sector will contribute 53-55 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), and 55-60 per cent of the country's total export value, MARD deputy Minister Vu Van Tam recently told local media.
To date, the ongoing project "Benefits from the coastal localities for sustainable development" worth more than $100 million from the World Bank's loans and under implementation in eight coastal provinces during 2012-2017 is the ever biggest investment project in aquaculture sector, according to MARD.
Nguyen Thi Hong, head of MARD's Planning Department said that in the time ahead, MARD plans to reduce the state's investment into aquaculture, instead it will provide more preferences to private investors, attract more FDI and encourage investment in the form of private-public partnership (PPP) with participation of multinational groups. This is aimed to fully exploit potential of the country's long coastline that runs through 28 cities and provinces whose population accounts for 45 per cent of the country' s total populace.
TheFishSite News Desk