Vietnam - Israel Intensifying Cooperation in Aquaculture, Water Treatment

10:13:24 AM | 11/24/2022

"With many complementary advantages, Israel and Vietnam have a lot of potential for more consolidated business ties in the coming time," confirmed VCCI Vice President Nguyen Quang Vinh at the seminar "the Israel-Vietnam business matching on aquaculture and water solutions for agriculture" held by Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Israeli Embassy in Hanoi.

VCCI Vice President Nguyen Quang Vinh (3rd from right) at the meeting with the Israeli business delegation

Application of technology in aquaculture

According to Ms. Truong Thi Bich Ngoc, Deputy Director of the International Relations Department - VCCI, with continuous growth for nearly four decades, Vietnam's seafood industry has reached impressive outcomes. In 2021, the total seafood export value was estimated at nearly US$9 billion. Up to now, Vietnam has exported seafood to more than 160 markets around the world. Its top 10 markets include the U.S., EU, Japan, China, Korea, ASEAN, Australia, the UK, Canada, and Russia, accounting for about 92-93% of Vietnam's total seafood exports. Fisheries are identified as the key industry of the country, accounting for 4-5% of GDP, 9-10% of the total national export turnover and ranking 5th in export value.

However, according to Ms. Ngoc, Vietnam still faces some difficulties, including the application of technological and technical advances to the fishing industry, especially to product preservation. Post-harvest loss reduction has been gradually improved but is still slow, unable to meet development needs. The management of seed sources, feed, and farming areas still has many shortcomings. In particular, aquaculture households always face many risks and challenges such as natural disasters, epidemics, and the polluted farming environment.

Moreover, at present, all of the major seafood import markets in the world, especially the EU, the United States, Japan, and South Korea, have strict requirements for quality control and traceability. This has made it difficult for Vietnam's fishing activities to meet the increasing requirements of importers. Therefore, it is extremely urgent to learn modern technologies and consult the experiences of the world's leading countries in the field of agricultural production and aquaculture.

“For a long time, Israel has been known as the 'Silicon Valley’ of the world in agriculture and aquaculture. Although only 1.7% of Israel's people are engaged in agriculture, with most of the land in the desert, the country exports about US$3.5 billion worth of agricultural and fishery products annually. That must include the miracles of the application of science and technology in agriculture in Israel. The Israeli government always pays special attention to agricultural and aquaculture projects when more than 20% of the total financial support from the government is for these projects," said Ms. Ngoc.

Therefore, Ms. Ngoc said that the advanced technologies that Israeli businesses brought to the seminar such as water solutions for ponds, circulating fish farming technology, seeds and microbial feed are the ones that Vietnamese enterprises in this industry hope to acquire to improve quality in aquaculture to have low infection rate and clean living environment for fish and shrimp species.

Strengthening business connectivity

According to VCCI Vice President Nguyen Quang Vinh, the trade turnover between Vietnam and Israel in the first half of this year reached US$1.14 billion, up 55% over the same period in 2021, so the two sides need to further strengthen cooperation in this area. In addition, Vietnam wants Israel to share experience in formulating policies to support start-ups, promoting innovation development, science and technology, especially in smart agriculture and high-technology aquaculture.

Toward the 30th anniversary of Vietnam-Israel diplomatic relations (1993-2023), the two sides discussed and agreed on many specific measures to promote cooperation between the two countries, including strengthening the exchange of delegations and direct connections between the business communities of the two countries, promoting investment and science-technology cooperation; promoting the negotiation of important cooperation agreements such as the Vietnam-Israel Free Trade Agreement and the Labor Cooperation Agreement. In particular, Vietnam and Israel should study and open direct flights to enhance exchanges between the two peoples; increase Israel's support for Vietnamese businesses and innovative start-ups.

According to Israeli Ambassador to Vietnam Yaron Mayer, throughout history, the two countries have faced many challenges, but have overcome them and developed stably, which is the foundation for the two sides to strengthen cooperation and exchange.

“The Vietnam-Israel Free Trade Agreement can be considered a typical symbol to expand cooperative relations between the two countries. Any collaboration, whether small or large, is a starting point and this seminar is just that. I hope in the future to meet again the businesses attending today's seminar with effective and successful cooperation results," said Ambassador Yaron Mayer.

According to the ambassador, Israel only develops the seafood industry on a small scale, but many Israeli enterprises use advanced and very effective technology in aquaculture. Therefore, the ambassador wished that these small-scale, experienced and innovative initiatives could be applied to large-scale Vietnamese seafood enterprises, and Vietnamese enterprises could find new technologies suitable for practical application.

Quynh Chi (Vietnam Business Forum)