VietGAP chosen for Tra fish export certification
By Ngoc Hung - The Saigon
HCMC – Vietnam’s
General Directorate of Fisheries has decided to use VietGAP (Good Agricultural
Practice) standards for certification of Tra fish for export, paving the way
for exporters to later acquire certification from international agencies.
|Farmers with a bumper Tra fish harvest in the Mekong Delta in a file photo. The General Directorate of Fisheries has adopted VietGAP (Good Agricultural Practice) standards to certify Tra fish for export, paving the way for exporters to later acquire certification from international agencies
- Photo: Le Toan
Representatives in the aquaculture industry also agreed with
the decision. As the directorate provides free support and certification in
line with VietGAP standards for local farmers, they can save more costs
compared to GlobalGAP, ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) for minimizing key
environmental and social impacts, or SQF (Safe Quality Food) 1000.
Speaking at a seminar on Vietnam’s
sustainable aquaculture certification systems in HCMC early this week, General
Directorate of Fisheries vice head Pham Anh Tuan said consumers in different
markets give priority to various certificates, such as GlobalGAP in Western
Europe and the U.S. and ASC
in Northern Europe. Meanwhile, consumers in
Eastern Europe and Africa have no requirements
for such certification.
The certificates are only concerned with the main issues of
environment protection, food hygiene and safety, social responsibility and
product origin. “The VietGAP certificate includes all of these issues and it
will help exporters upgrade to other certificates easily,” Tuan said.
Nguyen Viet Thang, chairman of the Vietnam Fisheries
Society, said all the standards of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are
actually based on clean aquaculture criteria of the Food and Agriculture
Organization but NGOs attach importance to different criteria.
“Vietnamese Tra fish exporters having applied the VietGAP
only have to improve environmental criteria to get an ASC certification.
Therefore, certification fees will be lower,” Thang explained.
Nguyen Huu Dung, vice chairman of the Vietnam Association of
Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said Vietnam last year had around 6,000
hectares under Tra fish farming with total output of 1.35 million tons. The
farming areas are mostly in Ben Tre, Tien Giang, Dong Thap and An Giang, which
makes the VietGAP application simple.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2006
issued a decision requiring at least 50% of seafood farming area in Vietnam
meeting GAP or other international standards by 2010.
However, the nation has yet to apply VietGAP standards so
far while local businesses are facing pressure of achieving international