Moving towards responsible shrimp production in Vietnam: Processor and importer join hand with farmers in Soc Trang to achieve certification
Small-scale shrimp farmers account for approximately 80% of product volume in the Mekong Delta. But these producers are facing a number of challenges preventing them from entering high-value markets including lack of information on the markets’ requirements on quality, environmental and social standards, limited financial resources to achieving certifications requested by international buyers, etc. Though there are government policies to promote the shrimp sector in moving toward a sustainable path, there less attention and support geared toward the small-scale shrimp farmers.
Under the project titled, ”Introducing cost-sharing for ASC certification of Vietnamese small-scale shrimp farmers in the supply chain for farmed shrimps”, supported by WWF-Denmark, WWF-Vietnam, in cooperation with the Soc Trang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), has successfully engaged TAIKA and Northcoast Seafood to establish a cost-sharing model in which the buyer and processor share the cost of achieving ASC with small-scale shrimp farmers. This model helps reduce financial burden on small scale producers while receiving better benefits in addition to minimising market vulnerability. On the other hand, the processor and importer can get better products and are trusted product sources. This involvement also shows their corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the supply chain of the commodity.
The contract signing ceremony between TAIKA and Nong Ngu 14/10 Hoa Nho A Cooperative is an important step in the cost-sharing model, which aims to set up global shrimp value chains from farms to dining-tables, satisfying social-environmental responsibility and traceability of products. This contract is also promoted and joined by international buyers (Northcoast Seafood).
With efforts from WWF-Vietnam and other relevant stakeholders, currently, Soc Trang has four value chains in shrimp farming. Additionally, in 2017 WWF-Vietnam signed a project agreement between TAIKA and Northcoast Seafood with the objective of supporting small-scale shrimp farming households in Soc Trang province in adopting sustainable shrimp production practices.
The signing ceremony on 14th March attracted participants of national and international representatives, including members of Nong Ngu 14/10 Hoa Nho A Cooperative, TAIKA Seafood Processing Corporation, Directorate of Fishery, Soc Trang DARD, Sub-department of Aquaculture, Denti Food Company - an international buyer, and WWF-Vietnam.
Mr. Ngo Cong Luan, Director of Nong Ngu 14/10 Hoa Nho A Cooperative, said: “To get ASC certificate, we will have to change our current practice such as not using any antibiotics or forbidden chemicals, using high-quality seeds and recording farming activities such as seeding, feeding, monitoring water quality in compliance to ASC requirements, during shrimp cultivation. It will be difficult for us at the start but it's worth it because our shrimp will have higher quality and of course we will have more benefits return”.
“There were many small-scale shrimp producers who gathering cooperatives or groups in Soc Trang province. But with increased efforts, currently, we have many more cooperatives/farmer groups. We appreciate WWF-Vietnam in supporting these groups moving forward with the ASC standard. This is a great chance for not only improving the livelihood of these farmers but also promoting the sustainable development of shrimp farming in Soc Trang” said Mr. Tran Dinh Luan, the Deputy Director General of Directorate of Fishery.
In the closing session, relevant participants co-signed the contracts with members of Nong Ngu 14/10 Hoa Nho A Cooperative. These contracts will be monitored closely by Northcoast Seafood, TAIKA, local partners and WWF-Vietnam and in the future, this successful model could be shared and replicate in other sectors in Vietnam.