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Ca Mau seafood processors still thrive   2009-04-01 - VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

Many seafood processing enterprises in the southernmost Ca Mau Province have managed to survive and retain workers by cutting other costs and importing raw materials, despite the global economic meltdown.

Some even plan to hire more workers.

Seafood enterprises in Ca Mau Province have said they are planning to step up export of small-sized shrimps this year and need a large number of workers.

With several shrimp farmers going bankrupt after the last harvest, seafood processors face a severe shortage of fish, shrimp, and other creatures.

To overcome the situation, Minh Phu Seafood Joint Stock Company, for instance, is expanding industrial-scale shrimp breeding in Kien Giang and Ninh Thuan provinces and producing breeding shrimps, according to deputy general director Chu Van An.

It has also entered into agreements with shrimp farmers in Ca Mau as well as in other nearby provinces like Kien Giang, Ben Tre, Soc Trang, and Binh Thuan.

It will provide them with breeding shrimps, feed, drugs, and technical guidelines and buy back mature shrimp from them at market prices.

The company has implemented several other measures like cutting production costs and importing raw seafood to continue operations and keep its 4,000 workers, most of whom are skilled and have been with the company for dozens of years, An added.

It operates three frozen-shrimp plants in Ca Mau and plans to recruit an additional 1,500 employees and provide additional training for existing workers.

Nguyen Viet Cuong, General director of Phu Cuong Seafood Processing and Import - Export Company, said last year the company planned to lay off 2,000 of its 10,000 workers after being unable to get adequate volumes of raw shrimp.

But nobody was laid off after the company began to import shrimp from other countries and stepped up processing of other items like catfish and cuttlefish.

It has been focusing on exporting a large mix of products, improving quality, intensifying promotion, and finding new export markets.

Its efforts have paid off and the company has several export contracts on hand, including a US$60 million contract from Russia.

The company planned to hire an additional 4,000 workers to meet its needs, Cuong said.

Seafood enterprises in the province have said they are planning to step up export of small-sized shrimps this year and need a large number of workers. Processing small crustaceans is a labour-intensive job.

Most are offering salaries ranging from VND1-1.4 million for the first three months of apprenticeship, VND7,000-10,000 for lunch, and VND300,000 for the accommodation.

They have called on provincial authorities to provide land to build housing for workers.



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