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An economic and gender analysis in the Vietnamese tuna value chain-Policy implications for sustainable small-scale fisheries management


Author: Nguyen, Dang Hoang Thu
Under the direction of : Philippe Lebailly and Thi Minh Hang Le
University of Liège
English Language English text

Keywords: tuna, mapping value chain analysis, market structure, market performance, gender analysis, Vietnam


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Vietnam is one of the three leading exporting countries of fish and fishery products worldwide and has small-scale fisheries. Vietnamese small-scale fisheries play significant roles in the livelihoods, employment, and income of employees in coastal communities. However, there are many challenges that fisheries managers have to cope with in order to ensure the sustainable development of small-scale fisheries. The global commercialization of fish and fishery products does not benefit the most vulnerable, such as fishers and women. In addition, fisheries managers’capacity and management systems in Vietnam are still weak and inconsistent with the trend of developing fisheries management policies and practices, aiming at sustainable small- scale fisheries. Especially as Vietnamese fish and fishery products are introduced into the global market, they have to be subjected to the principles established by international agreements, which include provisions on appropriate safeguards for the rights of vulnerable actors along the fishery value chain.
In recent years, there has been increased interest in applying value chain analysis in small-scale fisheries in order to suggest policies that help support different actors, especially the most vulnerable ones on the chain. This thesis focuses on applying value chain analysis theory in the tuna sub-sector as a case study of Vietnamese small-scale fisheries’typical value chain. It analyses the economic and gender issues in the Vietnamese tuna value chain to propose policies toward improving the socio-economic life of fishers as well as women in the chain for developing sustainable tuna fisheries in particular and Vietnamese small-scale fisheries in general.
In the first study of this thesis, the map of the Vietnamese tuna value chain is established with core processes, key actors and activities, material flows, knowledge and flows of information, the volume of tuna materials, number of actors and jobs, values at different levels along the chain, and relationships between the actors on the tuna value chain. Fishers are the most disadvantaged actors as they are price takers, financially dependent on traders/middlemen, and do not have access to public and transparent market information. The low education level, a lack of mutual trust and strong linkage with other actors, outdated fishing vessels and traditional fishing methods, long sea trip duration, and unguaranteed logistics services harm fisher’s income.
In the second study of this thesis, an overview of the economic efficiency of the whole tuna value chain is shown through the analysis of the financial performance of three key economic actors, including shipowners, middle-persons, and processors. Within the entire chain, processing enterprises achieved the highest net income with 79% and 96% of total net income for one kilogram and total volume of tuna traded in a month, respectively. In contrast, fishers attained the lowest percentage explaining one percent of the total monthly net income of the chain. The Gini coefficient and Lorenz curve are used to measure the market concentration (market structure) of the actors on the chain. The results show that the shipowners’market structure tends to be perfectly competitive. Meanwhile, the market structures of the processors and the middle persons tend to be in monopolistic competition. Several factors that negatively impacted the fishers’financial performance are identified, such as monopolistic competition, small and scattered production scale, lack of access to market information, and business loans.
In the third study of this thesis, the gender difference between male and female purchasing actors in productive, reproductive, and community managing roles are analyzed. Despite being bound by traditional norms and values, middle-women and female traders still play a leading role in the tuna business in productivity, financial investment for tuna vessels, and business skills. The gender analysis shows that women are still more disadvantaged than men in the tuna purchasing stage. Women do not have enough time for recreation, sleep/rest, participation in fisheries organizations, community activities, and business skills training programs. Furthermore, women’s reproductive role is unpaid, and they do not receive any incentives/benefits during pregnancy and child-rearing. Moreover, women play a secondary role in community managing roles, consult their husbands in significant business decisions, and are not the final decision makers in the family.
In conclusion, this dissertation points out the vulnerabilities that fishers and women have to endure along the tuna value chain and proposes policies to improve the socio-economic life of these actors. Policies to support fishers should target four main areas : Technical training, infrastructure requirements, financing, and research and development. Meanwhile, policies to support women need to focus on improving gender equality and women’s empowerment.