Vietnam is located on the Indochinese Peninsula in the Southeast Asia. This country plays an important economic, political, cultural — social, security and national defense position of Asia in general and Southeast Asia in particular. With advantages in geographical position, maritime resources and human resources, aquaculture possesses a strong point which makes positive contribution to the country’s socioeconomic development. These advantages have exerted positive impacts, thereby contributing to accelerating growth rate of socioeconomic targets of Vietnam. In this research, we put forth analyses on special roles of aquaculture in Vietnam economy.
Food supply as a source of nutrition for all Vietnamese people
According to statistics, up to 50 % of seafood catching output in the Northern waters and the Central waters and 40 % of seafood catching output in the Southeastern waters and Southwestern waters serve food demand of Vietnamese people. Aquaculture is widely developed to remote areas, contributing to shifting food structure in the meal of Vietnamese people, supplying abundant nutrition source. From lowlands to midlands and mountainous areas, all small ponds are used for aquaculture purposes. In the coming time, seafood products will play an increasingly high position in food consumption by all Vietnamese people.
Food security assurance
Aquaculture is one of the sectors that create food and foodstuff and supply direct consumables. At macro level, in the angle of national economy, Aquaculture has contributed to assuring food security, meeting specific requirements, i.e. increasing proteins and vitamins for food. It can be said that Aquaculture plays an important role in food supply for the people. Moreover, it also creates jobs for many residential communities, especially in rural and coastal areas. In recent years, especially from 2001 to 2004, fishery extension focused on performing aquaculture models and guiding poor people through doing business. At present, family household economic model is considered to have solved jobs basically for coastal fishers. Besides, smallholder economic model and private capital economic model have contributed to creating jobs for many labors in regions, especially idle labors in the Southern and the Central provinces. Aquaculture in Mekong River is maintained, thereby creating jobs for 48,000 labors in 249 riverside communes.
Aquaculture sector has prepared many poverty reduction programs by developing aquaculture models to remote areas, which not only supplies nutrition source and assures food security but also contributes to poverty reduction. In coastal areas, from 2000, brackish water aquaculture has shifted sharply from extensive farming to advanced extensive farming, semi-intensive farming and intensive farming, even many places have adopted intensive farming model under industrial breeding technology. Large shrimp breeding areas that operate under mass goods production model have been formed. Part of the residents in coastal areas becomes rich quickly. Many families escape from poverty thanks to aquaculture. Aquaculture in large waters such as breeding fish in reservoirs has also developed. This activity is always associated with mountainous midland development programs, poverty reduction policies in remote areas.
Rural agricultural structure shift
Vietnam possesses sufficient conditions to develop a maritime economy comprehensively. In the past, sea encroachment and prevention of sea influences for farming land expansion are orientation for a wet rice agricultural economy. At present, sea encroachment will be a wise orientation for an industrialized and modernized economy. Over the past decades, many hydropower reservoirs have been built, which makes sea salt water penetrate into river gate and coastal areas. For wet rice agricultural farming, salt water is a disaster but for brackish water and salt water aquaculture, salt water is perceived as a new potential because aquaculture can produce farming efficiency ten times higher than wet rice farming. Substantial part of ineffective agricultural farming area has been used for aquaculture. The reason for this phenomenon is that seafood price in the world market over the past years has increased sharply whereas other export agricultural products of Vietnam are impaired, which makes the demand for shifting area structure between aquaculture and agriculture more urgent. The Government promulgated the resolution No. 09 NQ/CP on 15/6/2000 on shifting economic structure in agriculture and agricultural product consumption, which helps aquaculture area shift occur more quickly, more vigorously and more widely. Area shift, mainly from ineffective rice, into aquaculture occurred most strongly in 2000 through 2002: over 200,000 ha was shifted into aquaculture or combined aquaculture. However, since 2003, many areas have still shifted strongly. In 2003, it reached 49,000 ha and in 2004, it reached 65,400 ha. It can be said that aquaculture has developed quickly, thereby gaining remarkable socioeconomic efficiency, gradually contributing to changing economic shift in coastal areas, rural areas as well as reducing poverty and enriching farmers.
In many rural areas, low-lying field fish breeding movement develops strongly. This breeding form gives high productivity and efficiency, which is regarded as one of structural shift directions in agriculture, contributing to increasing income for labors and reducing poverty in rural areas. Up to now, total low-lying field area that can be used for breeding fish under fish — rice model is 446,151 ha. In 2001, breeding area was 239,379 ha and this figure still continued to increase in the subsequent years.
Creation of new jobs and increasing of land use efficiency
Small pond and lake are a strong point of aquaculture in Vietnamese rural areas. Farmers use small ponds and lakes as a way of making full use of land and labor. They hardly spend much money because of extensive breeding. However, more and more farmers take advantage of small ponds and lakes in freshwater aquaculture with semi-intensive and intensive breeding systems with object selection for high productivity such as hypophthalmichthys, grass carp, carp and major carp and unisexual tilapia.
An important source of export
Over the past years, Aquaculture has always ranked 3rd or 4th in the list of sectors with highest export turnover in the country. Aquaculture is also one of 10 sectors with export turnover reaching over one billion USD. In 2005, seafood export turnover reached nearly 2.7 billion USD.
In 2018, seafood production (price compared with 2010) is estimated to reach about 228,140 billion VND, increasing by 7.7 % compared with that in 2017; total output achieved about 7.74 million tons, increasing by 7.2 %, specifically exploitation output achieved 3.59 million tons (increasing by 6 %), aquaculture reached 4.15 million tons, increasing by 8.3 %. In 2019, Aquaculture sets the target: Seafood production growth rate would increase by 4.69 % compared with that in 2018. Total seafood output would achieve 8,081 thousand tons, increasing by 4.2 % compared with that in 2018, specifically: seafood exploitation output would reach 3,603 thousand tons, increasing by 2.6 %, aquaculture output would reach 4,386 thousand tons, increasing by 5.6 % (catfish would achieve 1,512 thousand tons, increasing by 6.6 %, shrimp would achieve 864 thousand tons, increasing by 7.4 %). Seafood export turnover would achieve 10.5 billion USD.
Assurance of national sovereignty, assurance of security and national defense in remote areas, especially in coastal areas and islands
Aquaculture always plays an important role in maritime security and sovereignty protection, social stabilization and economic development for coastal areas and islands, thereby contributing to realizing national defense and security strategy.
In 1997, the Government signed the Decision No. 393/TTg on approving the Program for providing credit facility for building offshore seafood exploitation ships. Under the decision, from 1997 to 1999, the General Department of Investment and Development lent 867,871 million VND, equivalent to 802 ships. In 2000, the Government signed the Decision No.64/2000/QD-TTg on amending the regulations on management and use of the State development investment credit facility for building and renovating fishing ships into offshore service and seafood catching ships. Total approved loan from 2000 to 2005 is 187,372 million VND to build new 166 ships. Increasing the number of offshore catching ships is not only aimed at exploiting new potentials and supplying materials for processing but also contributing to protecting security and national defense on coastal areas of Vietnam. Up to now, many important fish ports have been built under the East Sea and island program, namely Co To (Quang Ninh), Bach Long Vi and Cat Ba (Hai Phong), Hon Me (Thanh Hoa), Con Co (Quang Tri), Li Son (Quang Nam), Phu Qui (Binh Thuan), Con Dao (Ba Ria-Vung Tau), Hon Khoai (Ca Mau), Nam Du, Tho Chu and Phu Quoc (Kien Giang).
Fish port system of this land will be completed uniformly to serve fishery production and contribute to protecting maritime sovereignty and security of the country.
Conclusion. From the above analyses, it can be seen that Vietnam aquaculture plays an important role in the national economy, especially the role of seafood export. However, the fact shows that there are many pending difficulties in aquaculture development such as source of export materials, type of export, production technology and technique as well as competition with many other countries. To ensure sustainable development of aquaculture, there must be investment from the State. Financial investment for aquaculture development will be done in next researches.
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