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Shrimp farms suffer from poor plans

   5/29/2008

Poor management and low funds are hampering aquaculture projects Lack of funding and poor management is being blamed for the failure of shrimp farms in Hai Phong City and Thai Binh and Thanh Hoa provinces. Four out of six aquaculture projects in Hai Phong, occupying a total area of 2,000ha and carrying an investment of VND400bil (US$25mil), this year either failed or are on the brink of closing. A Hai Phong official said the projects were large employers in the city and that their failure was a major blow to the local economy. The 80ha industrial shrimp farm run by Hai Phong Seafood Export Company is desperately seeking funds after the city’s People’s Committee decided not to back the project, citing the firm’s inefficiency and poor management. Total investment earmarked for the project was VND46bil (more than US$2.8mil), but so far just VND7bil ($437) has been raised. While the company is looking for further investment, it has suspended its shrimp farming operations, and instead raises freshwater fish. The failure of Viet My Technology Company’s project to build an aquaculture farm was also attributed to poor management. Company director Dinh Van Hong said the VND76bil ($4.75mil) project was meant to occupy an area of 988ha. However, Viet My has spent VND100bil ($6.2mil) building a 330ha area that includes a 100ha industrial shrimp farm and a 200ha fish farm. In the northern province of Thai Binh, a VND33.5bil (US$2mil) project to build a frozen seafood processing plant on a 30,000sq.m site, approved by the provincial People’s Committee in July 2001, has yet to be completed. The project, which was financed by Thai Thuy District’s People Committee and Thai Binh Seafood Company and meant to process around 3,000 tonnes of seafood a year, was scheduled to open in 2004. So far, just the first phase of construction has been completed. The Thai Binh Seafood Company has refused to continue with the second phase, arguing that it would have to come up with a further VND20bil ($1.25mil) to buy a high-tech production line. The project has since been sold to the Taiwanese firm Rich Beauty Viet Nam for just VND2.4bil ($150,000). Meanwhile, in the central province of Thanh Hoa, six industrial shrimp farm projects worth VND89bil ($5.56mil) and occupying a total area of 450ha, which started in 2001, are on the brink of failing due to a severe shortage of funds. Nguyen Chu Hoi, director of the Viet Nam Institute of Fisheries Economics and Planning, under the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, blamed a lack of supervision for the failure of a number of seafood projects. Deputy director of Thanh Hoa Province’s Fisheries Department Dang Van Thong said aquaculture projects made good economic sense, but many had been implemented too hastily, without adequate planning. He said there was no generally accepted blueprint for an aquaculture farm. "We do not even know what the model should be," said Thong. We now realise that conditions are not ideal for the setting up of industrial shrimp farms in the province." Hoi said the failure of the frozen seafood processing factory in Thai Binh was due to a lack of sufficient planning. He said firms should realise that money needs to be invested in high technology when building aquaculture farms.

VNA
5/29/2008

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