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FAO supports sustainable shrimp production

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Shrimp harvest_FAOSoc Trang, 19 August 2015 - While robust aquaculture growth has benefited numerous rural communities and transformed Viet Nam into the world's fourth largest sector producer, the sustainable growth of the country's valuable shrimp industry is being blighted by disease.

To address this threat, FAO is supporting the Government of Viet Nam to implement a one-year technical assistance project in two important shrimp farming provinces in the Mekong Delta's Bac Lieu and Soc Trang provinces. The two provinces have been badly hit by shrimp disease, which has caused 15-20 percent monetary losses to farmers and affected up to 40 percent of total farming areas. These losses are of particular concern as shrimp makes up half of Viet Nam's total seafood export revenue.

The project was formally launched on 19 August 2015 at Soc Trang city with an inception workshop to identify reasons for intensive shrimp farming failures and ways to increase farmers' resilience through piloting sustainable shrimp production by organic farming, with a focus on rehabilitating destroyed mangroves in the two provinces.

"This inception workshop is a very important project activity. It will help to raise public awareness on need for sustainable shrimp farming practices. It will also provide a good platform for different stakeholders to share their views on how to address the environmental and health problems as a result of intensive and semi-intensive shrimp farmers in the region," FAO Representative in Viet Nam Mr. Jong-Ha Bae told the workshop.

FAO will work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's departments of Agriculture and Fisheries to identify and demonstrate improved farming practices in the context of climate change challenges to protect farmer's livelihoods, the environment and the industry's sustainable development.

"Shrimp is one of the most important aquaculture commodities in Viet Nam and the shrimp farming industry is expected to see further significant growth in production. However, serious disease has become a great threat to the sustainable growth of shrimp industry in the country," said Mr. Jong-Ha Bae.

The project is part of a FAO regional initiative on sustainable intensification of aquaculture for "blue growth" in Asia-Pacific. Viet Nam - which has seen a 16-fold increase in aquaculture production in the past two decades - is one of the six focus countries, along with Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Timor Leste.

The regional initiative aims to achieve sustainable growth of aquaculture through addressing the priority issues along the intensification of aquaculture, an on-going trend of aquaculture development in the region for at least two decades and has contributed greatly to the rapid growth of aquaculture in the region.

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