Upgrading small-holders in the Vietnamese Pangasius value chain
Organization Faculty of Economics, An Giang University, Long Xuyen, Vietnam
Vietnamese grown Pangasianodon hypopthalmus (pangasius or striped catfish) has emerged as one of the most successful globally traded aquaculture products. The diversification of
international markets has led to the rapid growth of the industry in the Mekong Delta, which
has in turn led to concerns over what remains largely unplanned, uncoordinated, and
unregulated development. Internationally, the question of unplanned growth has also led to a series of claims that question the sustainability of the pangasius industry as a whole. Maintaining the position of pangasius in international markets, while also improving
sustainable environmental performance of production, has become a clear challenge for the Vietnamese government and private sector alike.
Concerns have also been raised over the importance of maintaining the position of small
holders in the global value chain because of their large number and relative importance in
transferring benefits to rural communities in the most densely populated region of the country. Since 2008 the industry’s growth has declined leaving small holders, with a total area of ponds less than 0.1 ha, vulnerable to a range of regulatory, economic and environmental changes.
The impact to this group of farmers is clearly evident with a 37% decline in participation from 2006 to 2008. Although making up 89% majority in An Giang province, the farms with an area greater than 10 ha increased by 123% over the same period.
This study addresses how small-holders are able to maintain access and reduce their
vulnerability in the global pangasius value-chain, while at the same time improving the
environmental performance of production. The three action oriented research sub-objectives
of the study are to:
1. Analyse the structure and function of pangasius value-chain identifying the distribution of value and the net share of vulnerable producers.
2. Identify and implement upgrading strategies that assist farmers to adapt to changing production conditions, reduce their socio-economic vulnerability and improve their
3. Identify what support key facilitators in the value chain can provide to family scale
producers to enable them to reduce their vulnerability.
Keywords Value chain, contracting, acquaculture, Vietnam