In the first 7 months of 2021, seafood exports reached 4.88 billion USD, up 11% over the same period last year. According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), this is a great effort of seafood enterprises in the context of the lack of labor force and difficulty in purchasing raw materials due to strict social distancing measures.
Data from Vasep shows that while in the first half of July seafood exports maintained a growth rate of 16%, in the second half of July, there was a 20% decrease. This has caused the export turnover of fishery products to reach only 763 million USD, down about 4% compared to the same period in 2020.
Regarding product group, shrimp exports in July reached only 374 million USD, down 4% over the same period last year. For the first 7 months, shrimp exports still kept growing 10% with 2.1 billion USD, accounting for 43% of export turnover of the seafood industry.
Exports of pangasius and tuna in July decreased by about 5%, reaching 117 million USD and 60.5 million USD, respectively. By the end of July 2021, pangasius exports reached 898 million USD, up 13% while tuna exports reached 416 million USD, up 17% over the same period in 2020. Exports of squid and octopus reached 47 million USD in July 2021, down 9% compared to July 2020. For 7 months, exports of squid and octopus reached 314 million USD, up 8% over the same period last year. Exports of other items decreased. In particular, that of crabs fell by 3% and other fish by 2% in July.
However, thanks to high growth in the first half of the year, in the first 7 months of 2021, seafood exports still increased by 11%, reaching 4.88 billion USD. Previously, in the first half of 2021, Vietnam's seafood export still achieved a growth rate of 15% over the same period last year, bringing in a value of 4.1 billion USD.
According to Vasep, Vietnam's seafood export was expected to experience good growth in 2021, however, it has been stalled since mid-July when the fourth wave of Covid-19 broke out violently in key areas of seafood production, processing and export.
Provinces simultaneously implemented social distancing in accordance with Directive 16, requiring businesses to only maintain operations when ensuring that their employees work and stay at the factories – 3 on-site - to prevent epidemics from spreading to other factories and industrial zones.
Seafood enterprises have joined hands with the Government to strictly implement regulations to both fight the epidemic and maintain production. However, in practice, many difficulties and inadequacies have arisen, which greatly affect production and export. Currently, only about 30% of seafood enterprises in the southern provinces can ensure the "3 on-site" condition and the number of workers that can be mobilized is only 30-50%. The average production capacity has decreased to only 40-50% compared to before.
Due to social distancing, it is difficult to purchase raw shrimp and fish, therefore, aquatic materials for processing and export only reached about 40-50% compared to before. Other materials, accessories, packaging for seafood processing also shrunk, reducing supply capacity by 50%.
Not only has production decreased, but many orders have also had to be shelved or lost while the costs for businesses to ensure "3 on-site" have also skyrocketed and are putting great pressure on businesses.