Vietnamese to Track Shrimp with RFID


Linda Salim, for SeafoodSource from Surabaya, Indonesia

Published on
September 1, 2008

Vietnamese and Thai Ministries of Science and Technology have signed an agreement to develop a radio frequency tracking system for Vietnamese frozen shrimp. Under the agreement, Vietnam's Technology Application and Development Agency will work with the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center of Thailand (NECTEC) to develop a suitable version of Thailand's Trade Core technology.

In 2005, Thailand invented Trade Core technology, using microchips to track product from the processing level to market. The technology is used to ensure the quality of seafood.

Vietnam is the world's seventh largest seafood exporter; frozen shrimp represents 40 percent of the country's total seafood exports, with annual earnings averaging $3 billion.

However, Vietnam sometimes struggles to comply with regulations in its major markets, such as Japan, South Korea, the United States and the European Union. It is hoped that implementation of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) will increase confidence in Vietnamese shrimp.

According to NECTEC, the cost of implementing Trade Core technology is minimal. Each RFID unit costs $3. An early investment of $10,000 would buy enough chips for as much as 20 metric tons of shrimp. Once the technology is implemented, the cost will go down, as the chips are reusable.

At the moment, the agency is establishing a set of parameters that would be suitable for both Vietnam and its shrimp trading partners. Once it's ready, the agency will nominate big exporters to participate in the implementation.

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