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Comparative and Competitive Advantage of the Shrimp Industry in Mekong River Delta, Vietnam

Given the growing prominence of Vietnam's fishery products in the world market, this study examines data on shrimp aquaculture in the country, as practiced through intensive and semi-intensive methods, in two provinces in the Mekong River Delta region. The study estimates the comparative and competitive advantage of the shrimp industry using various approaches, namely: 1) the RCA or revealed comparative advantage; 2). the Policy Analysis Method (PAM) method to calculate the resource cost ratio (RCR) and RCR* indices; and 3) the Net Social Profitability (NSP) and Net Private Profitability (NPP). To identify the effects of changes in key factors affecting competitive and comparative advantage, a sensitivity analysis is conducted.

The results show that Vietnam's shrimp products maintain a strong competitive position in the world market, as evidenced by an RCA greater than 1. The RCR and RCR* estimates bordering on zero also indicate the strong comparative and competitive advantage of the shrimp industry. These findings are bolstered as well by the resulting NSP and NPP estimates. Furthermore, in terms of farming methods, the lower RCR and RCR* estimates for the intensive farms confirm their higher comparative and competitive advantage, compared to the semi-intensive model. Finally, the sensitivity analysis shows that the comparative and competitive advantage of shrimp is strongly sensitive to the price of feed, exchange rate, shrimp yield, and export price. The wage rate also exhibits a slight effect on the industry's standing in the world market.

Improving the productivity and quality of shrimp is shown to be vital to the MRD shrimp industry because this would translate into a higher export price and higher yield of shrimp, which will further enhance the industry's comparative and competitive advantage.

Vol. 5 No. 1, June 2008

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