Seafood businesses looking forward to restarting traditional trade promotion activities

VCN - Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said that by 2022, seafood enterprises would like to be able to restart operations to participate in traditional trade fairs. At the same time, strengthening B2B (business-to-business) online trade promotion, focusing on markets including Russia, the Middle East, China, Pakistan and other countries in Eastern Europe.
Mr. Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy General Secretary of Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.
Mr. Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy General Secretary of Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.

How do you evaluate seafood export results in 2021 as well as prospects in 2022?

Seafood exports in 2021 are expected to reach a turnover of $8.7 billion. The three main seafood export industries, including shrimp, pangasius, and tuna, still maintain their production and processing capacity, of which shrimp exports will continue to be the mainstay for export development in 2021. Despite the heavy impact of the pandemic, the export market in 2021 has entered a recovery phase when countries deploy vaccination on a large scale. Market demand increased to the highest level in the past two years, especially when entering the third quarter of 2021.

Despite achieving a higher-than-expected export turnover, the seafood industry has only recovered by 50-70% due to the disease outbreak in the Mekong Delta provinces, where more than 80% of seafood processing factories are located. Small and medium enterprises continue to face difficulties to maintain production and recovery.

In 2022, it is forecasted that the demand for food in general and for seafood, in particular, will continue to increase when the pandemic is expected to weaken, the group of hotels, restaurants, and tourism will recover.

How has the pandemic affected traditional trade promotion activities of the seafood industry, sir?

Seafood is an industry that needs to be tried, tasted, and the color and freshness of the product seen to have the fullest feeling. Enterprises assess that the traditional fair channel is still the most effective trade promotion channel, helping to find the most reliable customers. In recent years, representatives of retail chains have increased surveys of the fair to tighten the supply-demand relationship instead of entrusting all to authorized importers. This is an opportunity for small and medium enterprises to work together to help build long-term plans instead of just introducing and selling products that are unlikely to meet the needs and standards of the market.

However, in 2020-2021, Vasep's traditional activities are temporarily suspended due to the pandemic. As a food industry specializing in deep processing and freezing, Vasep clearly feels the need for these traditional activities after two years of hiatus.

How is the participation in international online sales channels as well as virtual fairs deployed by seafood enterprises?

Sales teams at businesses all join reputable sales platforms in the world to reach customers. The most used sales platform (80% of businesses have an account) is Alibaba. However, the specificity of the industry that each market has large importers, the customers found on these platforms is mostly small customers, buying in small quantities, or changing, suitable for small enterprises.

Larger businesses take advantage of this channel as a channel to promote their business image rather than find customers. In addition, businesses also participate in introducing and promoting via Facebook and Instagram, but the number is very limited.

With virtual fairs, according to Vasep's survey with businesses in the past two years, few seafood enterprises participate in major international food fairs such as FOODEX Japan, Anuga Germany, Sial, partly due to the specificity of the industry, but partly because seafood enterprises have not actively invested in the necessary software, information, images, for virtual fairs. Another reason is that the pandemic causes orders to be backlogged due to a lack of workers, so seafood enterprises have not paid enough attention to participating in online fairs.

Do you have any suggestions and recommendations about trade promotion activities to support the seafood industry to continue to develop and grow well in 2022 and the following years, contributing to the goal of seafood export reaching $16- 18 billion in 2030?

According to the most recent survey for traditional fair activities in 2022, 100% of businesses have the need to participate in three fairs in three main export markets including: North America, Europe, and Hong Kong (China).

Therefore, Vasep's first proposal is to restart the interrupted traditional fair participation activities. Specifically, Vasep suggested that the Trade Promotion Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade) continue to support seafood export enterprises to fully participate in the above events; consider increasing the support rate for traditional trade promotion programs as proposed by Vasep in the post-pandemic period because enterprises currently do not have enough resources to carry out promotional and advertising activities while the costs of participation these fairs increase every year.

In addition to the traditional trade promotion, Vasep also proposed to strengthen B2B (business to enterprise) online activities for the seafood sector through the channels of the Ministry of Industry and Trade in markets with good growth as well as other markets that Vietnam wants to reach.

Thank you Sir!

By ThanhNguyen/Quynhlan

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