Vietnam whiteleg shrimp exports to go on the rise in 2018

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By Milthon Lujan

From 2013 until now, whiteleg shrimp always accounted for over 50% in the total export turnover of shrimp and increasingly express its key position. This item expected to continue to be a key export item in the coming time, contributing significantly to the total export turnover of shrimp in particular and seafood in general. Vietnam’s whiteleg shrimp exports are projected to continue the increase in 2018.

According to the Directorate of Fisheries, in 2017, the farming area of whiteleg shrimp hit 98.7 thousand hectares; increasing by 4.7% compared to 2016; whiteleg shrimp production reached 427 thousand MT, up 8.5% compared with 2016. In the year, whiteleg shrimp export turnover totaled US$2.5 billion; accounting for 65.6% of total shrimp exports and up 29.2% over 2016.

In the period from 2012 to 2017, except for 2015, the area and output of whiteleg shrimp reduced due to unfavorable weather, large shrimp mortality; in the remaining years, the area and output of whiteleg shrimp continued to increase. From 38,169 hectares in 2012, the farming area of ​​whiteleg shrimp increased to 98,700 hectares in 2017. From a yield of 177,817 MT in 2012, whiteleg shrimp production steadily rose to reach 427,000 MT in 2017. In 2013, the area and production of whiteleg shrimp increased remarkably by 50% thanks to a recovery in brackish water shrimp industry with good prices and good control of EMS disease.

Regarding the export turnover, in 2012, the value of whiteleg shrimp exports touched US$741.3 million; the figure in 2017 reached a record of US$2.5 billion. From 2012 to 2017, except for 2015 with a fall in the export turnover, exports of whiteleg shrimp in the remaining years always achieved the double-digit growth. In particular, in 2013, exports of this item grew by 113%.

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In 2013, this was the first time that whiteleg shrimp exports overcame black tiger shrimp exports in value. Before 2012, whiteleg shrimp exports always accounted for the smaller proportion than black tiger shrimp exports in the total structure of shrimp exports. From 2013, the proportion of whiteleg shrimp tended to be higher than that of black tiger shrimp. In 2017, the proportion of whiteleg shrimp was 65.6% of Vietnam’s total shrimp exports.

With short time of raising, high productivity and stable prices, whiteleg shrimp is considered as one of the main aquaculture species. In 2018, whiteleg shrimp production expected to reach 430 thousand MT, up 0.7% compared with 2017.

Consumption markets

Before 2013, black tiger shrimp exports took up large share in the major markets such as the U.S, Japan, EU … After 2013, economic recession in many big countries in the world changed the trend and consumers’ habits, from black tiger shrimp to whiteleg shrimp. This trend was clear in Japan and the U.S. At that time, a series of reports on the Japanese shrimp market showed that consumers had shifted to whiteleg shrimp to replace the black tiger shrimp in the traditional dishes.

In 2017, Vietnam’s four biggest whiteleg shrimp importers included the U.S, Japan, South Korea and China. In 2018, the demand for whiteleg shrimp in these markets expected to increase.

Japan is considered as the market with the most stable demand among shrimp buyers of Vietnam. In Japan, the late marriage rate and the number of single people increased so the processed products, value-added products from shrimp will strongly attract consumers. Whiteleg shrimp exports to South Korea also expected to “take off” thanks to the advantages of the Free Trade Agreement between Vietnam and South Korea. China was the most active market in 2017 and is forecasted to remain a key market for many shrimp companies in 2018 as the demand continues to rise. The demand for shrimp in family meals and parties in China is increasing. The Yuan is stable and the Chinese government’s reduction of import duty on frozen shrimp from 1st Dec 2017 will benefit Vietnam’s shrimp suppliers.

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In addition, single markets in the EU such as the Netherlands, the UK, Belgium and Germany are also familiar destinations for Vietnam whiteleg shrimp. These markets prefer whiteleg shrimp products thanks to reasonable prices. The FTA between Vietnam and the EU is in preparation phase to take effect. Whiteleg shrimp exports to these markets expected to rise.

The lessons learned with whiteleg shrimp in Thailand, India, Indonesia … have been applied effectively in Vietnam. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has many orientations to help localities carry out some tasks to manage whiteleg shrimp farming in the improved extensive farming model in the Mekong Delta and implement measures to manage whiteleg shrimp culture in the ecological black tiger shrimp farming area of Ca Mau. Whiteleg shrimp production expected to go on the increase to meet the great demand of processing plants in the country.

With high productivity, profit and expected output, in 2018, Vietnam’s whiteleg shrimp exports forecasted to be higher than the growth of 29% in 2017.

Source: VASEP

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