Export-oriented tilapia production in Vietnam is driven by large companies that have been active in either pangasius or shrimp farming for many years. Most of the tilapia operations targeting the export market are partly or fully integrated. Examples of such companies include Hoang Long and Vinh Hoan. The large majority of these operations are eco-certified and therefore have a high level of integrity. They are all located in the Mekong Delta. Operations targeting domestic markets are, on the contrary, very diversified with disintegrated value chains. These farms can be found at many places throughout Vietnam, also in the north. Most of these farms are small-scale and produce for local markets, restaurants or to traders that sell the tilapia in markets further away, for example in bigger cities.
Tilapia is farmed either in cages or in earthen ponds. Some farmers operating ponds use polyculture systems where tilapia is raised together with shrimp. These farms are rather small, operated by individual households and direct their sales to the domestic market. Similar, cage farming is common for individual households. Cage farming is only practised where currents are strong and water quality is high. This is the case in the upstream provinces of the Mekong Delta close to the Cambodian border, An Giang and Dong Thap.
Export-oriented farming almost exclusively takes place in ponds in the provinces Kien Giang, Ben Tre, and Can Tho, and also Vung Tau province near Ho Chi Minh City. The majority of tilapia farms targeting export markets are either GlobalGAP or ASC certified. Three operations are already certified according to ASC and two others are in assessment. All farms use pelleted feeds.