Minh Phu Seafood Joint Stock Company is leading a charge to bring some 20,000 small scale Vietnamese shrimp farms into a sustainability and traceability alliance, according to Maisie Ganzler, writing for Forbes.
Ganzler oversees $1.5 billion foodservice firm Bon Appétit Management Company’s culinary development and purchasing efforts; she also leads its marketing and communications initiatives.
Minh Phu is looking to ensure that farmed shrimp from Ca Mau province is always a safe choice for buyers, she said, by launching a scalable plan called The Partnership Assurance Model.
She traveled to Ca Mau for an event which gathered shrimp exporters, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, private sector leaders and government officials, including Ca Mau Provincial People’s Committee, the Department of Fisheries, and the Private Sector Development Committee. “The driver of this change is the large seafood company Minh Phu, which is aiming to help 20,000 small-scale Vietnamese shrimp farms adopt practices that will qualify them for Seafood Watch’s Best Choice (aka green) rating.”
The premise is for farmers, processors, buyers, local and national government, NGOs, and other stakeholders to work together on the development of the process so that all participants along the value chain have a stake in the success of the improvements. As trust builds, the responsibility for verification gets pushed further and further down the chain, avoiding the cost of frequent outside audits. Ultimately, the locally developed tools and verification processes can be administered by a region — rather than farm by farm — reducing the cost and time associated with traditional verification models.
In the case of Minh Phu, Seafood Watch and inspection company SGS have developed a platform — a tablet that leads the auditor through questions designed to elicit the relevant data — that has reduced on-farm audit time from two to four days to 1.5 hours.
Minh Phu’s farms will be grouped by region, and any farms that don’t already hold a recognized eco-certification will go through a three-step verification process. First, after extensive training, the company does a set of audits/assessments, then a second group (independent, trained program collaborators) does a set, and finally SGS does a number of full audits. Results are compared to see if the first party’s audits — those done by Minh Phu — were as thorough and accurate as the third-party ones done by SGS. The third-party auditors will remain involved, but the hope is that, with practice, Minh Phu can perform a higher percentage of the audits in the future, creating a more scalable process.
Source: Undercurrent News
July 01, 2019, 05:16 PM
In the early July 2019, farmers in Hiep Thanh commune (Duyen Hai district, Tra Vinh province – one province in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam) are busying harvesting shrimp. They are very happy because this shrimp crop fetchs high yield.
At 11:00 pm, the shrimp pond of Mr. To Hung Vi (in Hiep Thanh commune) gathered more than 20 workers to harvest shrimp. This shrimp pond has the water surface of the 1,600m2 with the output of 6 tons of shrimp.
Mr. Hai Dau, harvesting worker, said that the shrimp in the pond has the size of 38 pcs/kg. All of the shrimp in the pond will be harvested at noon so that they are sold to the factory in time.
Mr Pham Thanh Hien, a local farmer said that thanks to favourable weather, in recent years, shrimp farming fetches high yield and high profit for farmers. So almost local people in the district farm shrimp.
According to Mrs.Nguyen Thi Dan, owner of Hong Dan shrimp purchasing agent, she buys 25 tons of white shrimp every day. The amount of shrimp is bought directly from farmers and then delivered to the primary shrimp purchasing agent (agent I).
Operating since 2010, there are now more than 2,000 households in Tra Vinh supplying raw shrimp to Hong Dan agent, many farmers have been supplying shrimp to her agent for 9 years. Each farming household has the farming area of about 4 hectares, the yearly amount of shrimp that I bought is 10,000 tons,” Mrs. Dan said.
Mr. Phan Van Be checks shrimp quality before selling to Minh Phu
According to Mrs Dan, the primary agent (agent I) pay money for farmers right after they receive shrimp. Being the owner of secondary agent (agent II), Mrs Dan has to spend VND2-3 billion a day to pay farmers.
Mr. Phan Van Be, Director of Thanh Tan Company (in Tra Vinh province) – a primary agent, said that daily, there are 15-20 secondary agents supplying raw shrimp to him. With a large supply of raw shrimp in the provinces of Tra Vinh, Soc Trang and Ben Tre, his agent buys 2,000 to 2,500 tons of shrimp every month.
The amount of shrimp purchased by Mr. Be are sold to Minh Phu Seafood Corp. He said, selling shrimp to Minh Phu Seafood Corp has many advantages and avoids risks.
Mr. Vi’s pond has area of 1,600 m2 with an output of 6 tons.
Specifically, before deciding to buy shrimp from farming ponds, secondary agent will announce to Minh Phu’s representative. Receiving the agent’s notice, Minh Phu sends technical staff to go to the shrimp pond to take samples to check the antibiotic residue. It takes about 5-6 hours to have the test results of antibiotic residues in shrimp. If the test result meets or fails, Minh Phu will immediately notify the agent and suggest the price level that Minh Phu can buy. With this working method, the owner of shrimp pond can avoid risks.
Besides, Minh Phu completes payment in a very short time. The payment takes only one day since the shrimp is harvested from the pond. Minh Phu pay agent, then agents pay to farmers quickly.
This working method of Minh Phu makes the purchasing agents and shrimp farmers very confident. In fact, more than 90% of farmers in Tra Vinh supply shrimp to Minh Phu, Mr. Phan Van Be said.
Mrs. Le Thi Cam Loan (Vinh Loan agent, Ward 1, Duyen Hai town, Tra Vinh province), the owner of secondary agent, said that currently her agent supplies more than 20 tons of shrimp per day to Minh Phu and she only supplies to Minh Phu.
98% of local shrimp farming households sell shrimp to Minh Phu because Minh Phu’s processing capacity is very large, the working method of Minh Phu is prestigious, scientific and the company shares with the difficulty of agents and farmers and respect the rights and interests of farmers and purchasing agents – Mrs. Cam Loan said.
According to Ms. Loan, it takes about 5 hours to harvest and deliver shrimp to the factory of Minh Phu-Hau Giang. All processes (harvesting and freezing) are completed quickly to ensure the quality and freshness of shrimp. All processes are monitored directly by the staff of Minh Phu.
Ms. Le Thi Thuy – Deputy Director of raw materials of Minh Phu, said that currently about 80% of farmers in Tra Vinh, Ben Tre and Soc Trang provinces supply raw shrimp to Minh Phu.
Minh Phu’s way of working is regardless of day or night, taking samples for antibiotic residue testing right at ponds, closely monitoring, giving quick results, quick payment, balancing the interests of the business, farmers and agents.
“Minh Phu has 02 factories with a daily capacity of 300,000 tons. Minh Phu – Hau Giang has the raw shrimp supply from the provinces of Tra Vinh, Ben Tre and Soc Trang. Minh Phu – Ca Mau has the raw shrimp supply from the provinces of Bac Lieu and Ca Mau. Minh Phu can transfer raw shrimp from Tra Vinh to Ca Mau and vice versa. We have the advantage of raw shrimp for large foreign orders and always ensure to meet orders in the best quantity and quality ”- Mrs. Thuy continued.
In Duyen Hai, Tra Vinh, there are 30 secondary agents supplying shrimp to Minh Phu. In shrimp farming areas of Tra Vinh, Soc Trang, Ben Tre; Minh Phu can purchase 30-40 shrimp ponds per day. To fully meet the raw shrimp for 2 factories (Minh Phu Hau Giang, Minh Phu Ca Mau), Minh Phu has about 40 primary agents and 600 secondary agents.
The representative of Tra Vinh Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said that up to now, the province has stocked nearly 20,000 hectares of tiger shrimp and white leg shrimp. In the first six months of 2019, shrimp production reached 6,395 tons, up 5.06%.