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Quoc Viet VP talks smuggling, prices and shrimp’s big challenges

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Quoc Viet VP talks smuggling, prices and shrimp’s big challenges

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The low shrimp prices being seen globally should begin to lift early next month, according to the commercial director of Quoc Viet, one of Vietnam’s largest producers.
Brought on by better-than-expected harvests across Asia, and compounded by slow demand resulting in a buildup of inventory, the current fall off in prices has not happened in a long time, Ngo Quoc Tuan told IntraFish.
Prices are down 15 percent over two months and 10 percent down from last year.
“This is unusual,” said Quoc, “but we expect prices to stabilize in early June, then to rise as people plan orders,” he said.
IntraFish caught up with Quoc Viet at the Brussels seafood show where the producer was promoting an increasingly value-added product line, including tempura frozen shrimp, sushi topping and marinated shrimp skewers.
Its target market is the EU, which is still its largest, followed by Japan and the United States, Australia and Korea.
China is also peaking the supplier’s interest because the Chinese government is further cracking down on seafood smuggling, which has, for so long, created an unpredictable and unfair playing field.
“Before, we were hesitant, but we hope now to develop the China market. It has opened opportunities for those doing business properly,” said Tuan.
And as long as production in Vietnam remains stable, Tuan is confident.
“Farmers have increased density because of recent success so there is a risk — I am not sure which way it will go,” he said, adding some farmers have doubled their densities in recent months.
As well as its own farms, Quoc Viet counts on strong relationships with the farmers from whom it buys product. “Success for us is to expand our farms but also increase their sustainabilty.”
To this end the company works with farmers, helping the Vietnamese government form cooperatives.
“With support from the government and NGOs, then eventually we can target a better harvest and a better price for the shrimp,” said Tuan.
Currently producing 20,000 metric tons of shrimp per year with a $180 million (€152 million) turnover, Quoc Viet’s business is steady.
There are more challenges every year in the shrimp business with the threat of antidumping duties in the United States, stricter regulations from Europe and increased testing to come from Australia and Korea, according to Tuan,
“You have to love this business to stay… but at the end of the day, consumers love to eat shrimp.”