Cat­fish skin a promis­ing ex­port for Viet­nam

The Myanmar Times - - International / Business -

CAT­FISH is one of ViӋtNam’s ma­jor seafood ex­ports with a turnover of US$1.8 bil­lion, and its skin, a waste prod­uct, is also be­ing ex­ported start­ing re­cently.

Re­search is in­creas­ingly in­di­cat­ing that cat­fish skin has many nu­tri­tious sub­stances that are good for health like col­la­gen and ge­latin.

While pro­cess­ing, a plant pro­duces five to eight tonnes of cat­fish skin daily. In the do­mes­tic mar­ket, it is sold at VNÐ10,000 (0.45 cent) per kilo­gramme for mak­ing an­i­mal feed, but since 2017 Cӓ May En­ter­prise in Mekong Delta prov­ince of Ðӗng Tháp has started ex­port­ing it to Sin­ga­pore for VNÐ22,000 – 24,000 (around $1).

In Sin­ga­pore it is made into a snack and sold at VNÐ136,000 ($6) for a small pack of 230g.

The com­pany ex­ports 50 -60 tonnes a month and plans to ex­pand both the pro­duc­tion of cat­fish and ex­port of skin.

It will also carry out re­search on de­mand in var­i­ous mar­kets like the EU, Sin­ga­pore and Malaysia, and build a plant to make the cat­fish skin snack.

Cat­fish pro­ces­sor Vƭnh Hoàn has al­ready built a plant for mak­ing 2,000 tonnes col­la­gen a year from the skin.

“Each kilo­gramme of col­la­gen fetches $25 on the global mar­ket while cat­fish skin only fetches $1,” a Vƭnh Hoàn spokesper­son said.

The com­pany earned $1 mil­lion from cat­fish skin ex­ports last year, and plans to in­crease this to $5 mil­lion this year.

With 2.6kg of cat­fish only yield­ing 1kg of fil­let, the rest of the fish is con­sid­ered waste and pro­cess­ing plants have the re­spon­si­bil­ity of dis­pos­ing of 700,000 tonnes of it ev­ery year.

The spokesper­son said: “If the waste is taken and pro­cessed, it can bring a huge in­come to en­ter­prises. Oth­er­wise, it would be­come a bur­den on the en­vi­ron­ment.”

The price of cat­fish fil­let in the EU and the US is very low at around $2.6 per kilo­gramme, while the cost of pro­cess­ing has dou­bled, mean­ing prof­its are very low for ex­porters.

Many are try­ing to di­ver­sify their prod­ucts mainly tar­get­ing the do­mes­tic mar­ket.

Be­sides the meat, the fat is pro­cessed for oil and the fish’s stom­ach is a pop­u­lar dish, while other parts are mostly sold for mak­ing an­i­mal feed.

Some of the other parts can be used to man­u­fac­ture col­la­gen and bio-fuel.

Pro­cess­ing com­pany Gò Ðàng has built a plant to process all cat­fish wastes and ex­ports them to South Korea, Sin­ga­pore and China.

But while there are 100 cat­fish pro­cess­ing plants in the Mekong Delta alone, there are still only a small num­ber of plants pro­cess­ing wastes.

“Rel­e­vant author­i­ties should [help] in­crease ex­ports of waste and deal with the en­vi­ron­men­tal as­pect,” the spokesper­son added.

Photo: Viet­nam News

Cat­fish is one of ViӋt Nam’s ma­jor seafood ex­ports with a turnover of US$1.8 bil­lion, and its skin, a waste prod­uct, is also be­ing ex­ported start­ing re­cently.

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