Ho Chi Minh City, New Zealand boost trade
Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan has expressed his wishes that New Zealand (NZ) makes it easier for Vietnamese goods, including those from Ho Chi Minh City, to access its market.
During a reception in Ho Chi Minh City on August 28 for Damien O’Connor – the NZ Minister of Agriculture, Biosecurity, Food Safety, and Rural Communities as well as State Minister for Trade and Export Growth – Nhan expressed his delight at the development of the Vietnam-NZ comprehensive partnership across a diverse range of areas, especially in economy, trade, culture, and education.
Both sides have exchanged regular visits and high-level meetings. Of note, the recent Australian visit by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc created a driving force to further deepen bilateral links.
He said ties between Ho Chi Minh City and New Zealand are growing in a number of sectors, such as the NZ government’s assistance in training food safety personnel.
According to Nhan, HCM City is prioritising the development of high-tech agriculture, thus giving a chance to facilitate collaboration and technological transfer between the two sides.
The city leader hoped that NZ will offer assistance in farm produce processing, packaging, and trademark marketing to improve the value of products on the global supply chain.
O’Connor, for his part, said Vietnam, and Ho Chi Minh City in particular, hold great potential to develop high-tech agriculture and exports.
The guest believed that on the back of fine bilateral relations, the signing of free trade agreements and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will open up more markets for Vietnamese and NZ goods.
He hoped that Ho Chi Minh City will create favourable conditions for the two countries’ enterprises to reinforce joint work in education, tourism, and rural agriculture.
NZ is now Vietnam’s 31st biggest trade partner, while Vietnam is the 17th largest trade partner of NZ. Two-way trade surpassed 900 million USD last year, over 425 million USD of which was from Vietnam’s exports, including farm produce, seafood, coffee, cashew nuts, computers, mobile phones, electronics, apparel, footwear, and construction materials.
In Ho Chi Minh City alone, New Zealand has invested in 18 projects worth nearly 60 million USD. Imports-exports between the two sides have reached nearly 359 million USD.
RoK firm invests 1.2 billion USD in Ba Ria-Vung Tau
The Hyosung Chemical Corporation from the Republic of Korea (RoK) has received approval to build both a polypropylene-producing factory and a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) underground storage space in Cai Mep Industrial Zone in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
The project will cover an area of 61ha, with total investment worth more than 1.2 billion USD.
According to the management board of the Ba Ria-Vung Tau industrial zones, the project’s duration will be 34 years. The underground storage facility will be completed by late 2020 and become operational by the beginning of the following year.
It is the largest-scale project to have received operation approval amongst the province’s industrial zones.
To date, there are 362 investment projects operating in the Ba Ria-Vung Tau industrial zones, with total capital exceeding 18.2 billion USD. The province lured an additional 2.1 billion USD from 42 projects in the first eight months of the year.
Binh Thuan speeds up agricultural restructuring
Accelerating agricultural restructuring towards national-scale, high-tech production has become a key goal for the central coastal province of Binh Thuan as it aims to reach an average 3.3-3.8 percent annual growth for its agro-forestry-fishery sector during the 2018-2020 period.
During the three-year period, labour productivity is planned to increase 3.5-4 percent per year, while exports of farm produce and seafood products are expected to reach 195 million USD annually.
Due attention will be given to developing agricultural products which have huge competitive edges such as dragon fruit, rubber, breeding shrimp, and processed seafood.
According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the quality of local dragon fruit has been significantly improved in recent years. In the end of 2017, more than 9,500ha of dragon fruit were granted VietGAP certificates and thus qualified to enter markets in India, New Zealand, Chile, and Australia.
In the time to come, intensive farming will be applied to the cultivation of dragon fruit, meanwhile large-scale production systems will be formed and value chains will be branched out in the locality.
Besides mobilising resources to enhance off-shore fishing, the province will also invest heavily in requisite logistic services systems, such as preliminary processing, and search and rescue information systems; as well as reduce the number of fishing vessels which run high risk of violating foreign waters and damaging the environment.
Additionally, the province is also looking to form a dense high-tech aquatic breeding zone in Tuy Phong district, and will pay due attention to transferring technology to local farmers so as to improve the productivity and quality of key staples like prawns and white-leg shrimp in coastal areas and Phu Quy island.
It will accelerate the establishment of a 2,000ha hi-tech agricultural zone in Bac Binh district in companion with attracting investors who hold huge technological potential.
During the period, agricultural restructuring will be made in tandem with building new-style rural areas, with 60 percent of communes targeted to become new-style rural areas by 2020.
After five years of carrying out the “Restructuring Agriculture Towards Increasing Added Value and Sustainable Development” project, the province has enjoyed stable agricultural production. It is now home to 212 husbandry facilities and has attracted large-scale raising projects like its grass planting, dairy-cow farming, and milk processing projects in Bac Binh district, as well as a high-tech agricultural project in Tuy Phong district.
Last year, the total output of breeding shrimp were 24 billion, up 37 percent from the amount in 2013.
Taiwanese youths seek agricultural opportunities in Vietnam
Fifteen outstanding youths from Taiwan (China) are in Vietnam to take part in a Vietnam-Taiwan agricultural development exchange, which runs from August 27 to September 1.
The young people had surpassed 200 candidates at home to represent Taiwanese farmers with the aim of either establishing a business, transferring technologies, or distributing products in Vietnam. They are competent in agro-forestry-fishery practices with diverse knowledge on agribusiness, organic farming, and agricultural medicine.
While in Vietnam, the delegation is scheduled to visit the Vietnam National University of Agriculture, the Fruit and Vegetable Research Institute, the National Institute of Animal Sciences, and the Research Institute for Aquaculture No.1, among other agro-forestry-fishery research establishments. These trips aim to help them understand Vietnam’s agribusiness development, production and distribution of local farm produce, the operation of its market, as well as opportunities for bilateral cooperation.
They will also visit Taiwanese-invested plants and farms in the sector in Vietnam and meet Vietnamese researchers and businessmen.
On its first day in Vietnam, the delegation held a conference on Vietnam-Taiwan agricultural development. At the event, they introduced Taiwan’s achievements, development models, and production-distribution mechanisms in agriculture. Taiwan’s unique farm produce were also promoted.
Since 2017, Taiwan has organised international exchanges between its young agricultural ambassadors and those in countries named in its New Southbound Policy. The policy targets Taiwan’s increasing cooperation with countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia, and Australasia and New Zealand.
Hanoi launches website on safe farm produce
Consumers in Hanoi will find it easier to access information pertaining to the origin and quality of agricultural products as an exclusive website was launched on August 27 at http://nongsanantoan.gov.vn.
Nguyen Thi Mai Anh, Deputy Director of the Hanoi Investment, Trade, and Tourism Promotion Centre, said the website is expected to help producers and businesses promote their products both at home and abroad.
It has been seen as a useful tool that connects producers with distributors and consumers via e-commerce in order to develop production and distribution value chains in the locality, she said.
According to the official, the website aims to build a database on safe farm produce, adding that 21 safe food stores in Hanoi have been licensed by the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, and all 600 convenient stores in the city have met food safety regulations.
Hanoi has so far established 80 chains of safe farm produce, said the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Of the total, there are five collective brands, namely Ba Vi chicken, Soc Son chicken, Son Tay chicken, Van Dinh duck, and Lien Chau duck eggs.
Farm-to-fork chains with animal origins have attracted the participation of more than 3,000 family farms and 120 businesses and individuals operating in the sectors of animal feed, medicine, slaughtering, food processing, and distribution.
The department is examining 140 facilities to build a programme that helps trace product origins using QR codes.
Hanoi launches Promotion Month 2018
Hanoi’s Department of Industry and Trade has launched the Hanoi Promotion Month 2018 along with a programme to vote for the most liked Vietnamese brands.
This year, the Hanoi Promotion Month will mark its 10th anniversary by covering the entire Hanoi city with the theme “Strengthening Connectivity, Promoting Consumption”, aiming to foster links among enterprises across all economic sectors, create value chains, and connect traditional trade and e-commerce ventures, all working towards meeting the diverse demands of the market.
Tran Thi Phuong Lan, Vice Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, said that one of the new features of this year’s event is its target of reforming the quality, scale, and value of goods. After the Government’s Decree No.81/ND-CP took effect from July 15, 2018, the ceiling sale ratio at events held by central agencies and cities will reach 100 percent, rather than 50 percent at events held by enterprises, she noted.
Lan underscored that this is a good chance for both domestic and foreign enterprises to offer attractive promotions and get closer to customers.
Of the four highlights of the month, one consists of a tourism promotion programme spanning from November 9-11 near Hoan Kiem Lake with 100 booths. There is also the “Golden Week of Connectivity” from November 12-18 to link traditional trade activities and e-commerce to seek new and smarter business models. This year, 100 golden points will be organised, doubling the number in 2017.
A promotion fair will be held from November 20 to December 4 with 200 booths offering 20-50 percent promotion deals.
Meanwhile, “Golden Friday” is also a new feature of the Hanoi Promotion Month 2018 with the purpose of developing the city’s e-commerce activities in response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Business will offer their sale items on onlinefriday.vn (also linked to thangkhuyenmaihanoi.vn) with promotion deals of at least 50 percent.
Consumers will also vote for their most favoured brands both online through binhchonhangviet.com.vn and in public casting posts from September 21 to October 20. The elected goods must meet a set of 13 different criteria, and will be voted on by the jury and consumers.
Sixty-eight excellent young startup entrepreneurs honoured
Sixty-eight businesspeople were honoured as excellent young startup entrepreneurs of 2018 at an award ceremony held in Hanoi on August 27.
The top ten among those were also announced, including Do Thi Hoai, chairwoman of the executive board of Vietnam CHC Development JSC (Hanoi); Nguyen Thi Vu Hien, director of Thang Long gas trade & development JSC (Thai Nguyen); and Duong Long Thanh, director of Thang Loi real estate JSC (HCM City).
These 68 businesspeople were chosen from hundreds of nominees across the country through three rounds of selection.
In 2017, together they generated 2.865 trillion VND (123.19 million USD) in revenue and 147 billion VND (6.32 million USD) in profit, contributed 91 billion VND (3.91 million USD) to the State budget, and created 4,100 jobs. The figures for the top ten entrepreneurs were respectively 1.231 trillion VND (52.93 million USD), 75 billion VND (3.22 million USD), 55 billion VND (2.36 million USD), and 1.637 jobs.
Speaking at the award ceremony, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Le Quoc Phong said the Party, Government and State has paid significant attention to promoting business development and roles of businesspeople in national construction.
He noted the award aims at encouraging young Vietnamese people to launch their own startups, thus turning the country into a startup nation.
The programme to select and award excellent young startup entrepreneurs has been organised since 2015 by the Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs Association. To date, it has honoured 300 businesspersons from different sectors across the nation.
Young businesses create 3 million jobs in three years
Nearly 10,000 members of the Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs Association (VYEA) created 3 million jobs in 2015 – 2018, heard the association’s sixth national congress in Hanoi on August 27.
According to Ha Noi Moi Newspaper, the congress was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue and 700 VYEA members.
At the function, the association reported in the past four years, it held more than 200 trade promotion activities and generated some 25 billion USD in average annual revenue.
In the 2018 – 2021 tenure, the VYEA aims to improve its performance toward practical outcomes, make contributions to economic-related draft laws and develop business incubator programmes.
As part of the congress, 68 members were honoured as excellent young startup entrepreneurs of 2018.
The top 10 among those were also announced, including Do Thi Hoai, chairwoman of the executive board of Vietnam CHC Development JSC (Hanoi); Nguyen Thi Vu Hien, director of Thang Long gas trade & development JSC (Thai Nguyen); and Duong Long Thanh, director of Thang Loi real estate JSC (HCM City).
The 68 awardees were chosen from hundreds of nominees nationwide.
In 2017, together they generated 2.865 trillion VND (123.19 million USD) in revenue and 147 billion VND (6.32 million USD) in profit, contributed 91 billion VND (3.91 million USD) to the State budget and created 4,100 jobs. The figures for the top 10 entrepreneurs were respectively 1.231 trillion VND (52.93 million USD), 75 billion VND (3.22 million USD), 55 billion VND (2.36 million USD) and 1,637 jobs.
The VYEA has run a programme to recognise excellent young startup entrepreneurs since 2015. To date, it has honoured 300 businesspersons from across the nation.
Vietnam-India trade sees strong growth in 7 months
Bilateral trade between Vietnam and India experienced a significant yearly increase of 50 percent to 6.36 billion USD over the past seven months of 2018, statistics from the General Department of Customs showed.
The positive two-way trade was mainly due to Vietnamese exports at 3.92 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 96 percent, according to the data.
Among major staples, machinery, equipment and parts recorded the strongest turnover with 1.23 billion USD, up 590 percent year-on-year and contributing 32 percent of Vietnam’s total exports to India.
Handsets and components came next at 470 million USD, up 72 percent, followed by computers, electronics and parts at 380 million USD, up 26 percent, and metal and metal-made products at 353 million USD, up 40 percent.
Others recording impressive export growth were bamboo-made goods at 1,470 percent; iron and steel products at 270 percent; means of transport and components at 170 percent and products from plastic and rubber at 150 percent and 100 percent, respectively.
From January to June, Vietnam imported 2.44 billion USD worth of goods from India, surging 9.2 percent over the same period last year, with cotton taking the lead at 320 million USD, up 44 percent.
Vietnam resumed its import of maize from India, worth 23 million USD, a hike of 1,800 percent while spending 145 million USD on importing animal feed and raw materials from the market, an increase of 29 percent.
In the period, the Southeast Asian nation also upped its imports of several other goods from India such as metal (up 180 percent); automobile components (130 percent); plastic materials (up 110 percent) and ore and other minerals (75 percent).
Most notably, Vietnam posted a trade surplus of 1.48 billion USD with India in the seven-month period.
The two countries set a target of 15 billion USD in bilateral trade by 2020.
Forestry exports estimated to exceed 5.8 billion USD in 8 months
The export value of forestry products is projected to hit 5.858 billion USD between January and August this year, increasing 13 percent on year and accounting for 23 percent of Vietnam’s total agro-forestry-fishery export.
According to estimations of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, during the eight-month period, the trade surplus of forestry products will amount to 4.392 billion USD, of which 4.096 billion USD are contributed by the shipment of timber and wood products.
VNFOREST forecast forestry export to rise in the remaining months of the year, particularly to traditional markets like the US, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the EU.
Production forests are among major sources of materials for the export. The entire nation has to date planted 130,858 hectares of production forests. Most of the provinces in the northern mountainous region have completed their afforestation plan for 2018, some like Thai Nguyen and Bac Giang even surpassed their targets.
About 12.3 million cubic metres of wood were exploited from planted forests in the first eight month of 2018, meeting 66.5 percent of the yearly plan and up 4.8 percent against the same period last year.
Kien Giang: Over 1.1 trillion VND in ODA loans disbursed
More than 1.1 trillion VND (47.8 million USD) in official development assistance (ODA) was disbursed for socio-economic development in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang during the 2011-2016 period.
Of the total amount, 195.5 billion VND (8.45 million USD) was for transportation, 47.6 billion VND (2.05 million USD) for education, nearly 78 billion VND (3.35 million USD) for healthcare, and 247.86 billion VND (10.72 million USD) for agriculture-rural development.
The effective disbursement of ODA has created a face lift for the province, with a line-up of infrastructure facilities having been constructed or upgraded, and temporary houses along the river banks having been demolished.
Roads and bridges were heavily invested, facilitating travel of locals living in mountainous, remote and border areas.
Meanwhile, the province paid due attention to irrigational projects, making contributions to controlling saline intrusion, and responding to climate change to ensure sustainable agricultural production.
Regarding the healthcare sector, investment of modern equipment has helped reduce diagnosis errors, and served locals’ demands for treatment in many hospitals.
According to Nguyen Thi Kim Be, deputy head of Kien Giang province’s National Assembly delegation, the provincial People’s Committee has concretised and issued documents regulating ODA management and use. Accordingly, ODA capital has been disbursed in line with legal regulations.
The province is asking the Government for arranging capital to build additional 18 drains worth nearly 1.5 trillion VND (10.65 million USD) to response to climate change, and support local agriculture and aquaculture cultivation.
Chu Thi Binh fully repaid by Eximbank
Eximbank has paid client Chu Thi Binh the remaining VND152 billion ($6.7 million) out of a total of VND245 billion ($10.8 million) embezzled from her saving books.
Eximbank has just announced finishing the compensation of Chu Thi Binh, repaying her the VND245 billion ($10.8 million) that she previously deposited at the bank. Two months ago, the bank returned VND93 billion ($4.1 million) to Binh. In this last round of compensation last week, the bank paid VND152 billion ($6.7 million).
The representative of Eximbank said that the incident was very complicated and is beyond the capabilities of the bank to resolve on its own, especially while defendant Le Nguyen Hung is still wanted. Eximbank has been collaborating with the investigation agency to clarify responsibility behind this incident.
Additionally, Eximbank has proactively met and negotiated with the client to find a reasonable solution.
“I highly appreciate the efforts and goodwill of Eximbank during the negotiations. The two sides negotiated with the legitimate interests of each party at heart,” Binh said.
She also committed to continue using the financial services of Eximbank, saying all of the compensated money will be deposited at the bank, according to vnexpress.net.
Earlier in 2013, Binh deposited a total of VND301 billion ($13.3 million) in three saving books. In February 2017, she contacted the bank to withdraw the money when the books reached their maturity, but Eximbank said her deposits were no longer in the system.
She asked to check all saving books and realised that VND245 billion ($10.8 million) had been withdrawn while she was holding the books.
It is alleged that Le Nguyen Hung, former deputy director of Eximbank’s branch in Ho Chi Minh City falsified documents to withdraw money from her saving books.
In March 2018, Eximbank offered VND14.8 billion ($650,000) as advance compensation, but Binh declined, asking the bank to repay her in full. The two sides did not reach a consensus until two months ago, when the client agreed to receive the first payment of VND93 billion ($4.1 million) in compensation.
Viet-Pan Techno Park a model for FDI attraction: official
The Viet-Pan Techno Park in Ho Chi Minh City has served as a model for similar projects to lure foreign investors from Japan and other countries to the city, said Vice Standing Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem.
The official made the statement during a ceremony marking the fifth founding anniversary of the Viet-Pan Techno Park at the Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park in HCM City on August 28.
The event also marked the completion of infrastructure at the park.
The Viet-Pan Techno Park, which provides service packages for investors, has enabled Japanese investors to shorten their preparation time, save management costs, and promptly implement business activities to ensure efficiency, he added.
Liem also spoke highly of Japanese firms as they have introduced advanced technology in Vietnam and opened training courses for Vietnamese workers, which contributed greatly to the city’s industrialisation and modernisation process.
Currently, there are 118 Japanese businesses operating in HCM City’s processing and industrial zones, with investment capital totalling 1.4 billion USD mostly in mechanics and electronics.
Director of the Viet-Pan Techno Park Jinjiro Kimura said the park aims to draw Japan’s small- and medium-sized enterprises in supportive industries to the city, by offering them Japanese-standard infrastructure.
After five years, the techno park is now home to 15 Japanese firms in precise mechanics and high technology. It will work to enhance links between businesses of the two countries in the coming time, aiming to create a supply chain in supportive industries.
Government approves double taxation avoidance pact with Macau
The Government has approved an agreement between Vietnam and China’s Macau Special Administrative Region on the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of income tax evasion.
The Government assigned the Ministry of Finance to chair and coordinate the two sides’ relevant agencies to implement the pact.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is thereby responsible for completing external procedures, as well as making announcements of and keeping a legal copyright of the agreement as stipulated.
Science and tech researches promoted for new-style rural development
The science and technology program for new-style rural development was approved in 2012 with a total budget of more than US$9.5 million. After 5 years, the program has greatly contributed to the development of Vietnam’s agriculture.
The program has proposed many models in agricultural production, scientific and technological solutions to rural infrastructure development and mitigation of the impacts of climate change.
More than 5,000 farmer households in 100 communes in 40 provinces have benefited from the program, helping the localities and cooperatives restructure crops and farm animals.
Tran Kim Lien of the Vietnam National Seed Company under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said: “The program has applied mechanization and sustainable cultivation measures to turn out safe products and increase productivity, helping to change the division of labor and production thinking to serve agricultural production restructuring. The output of products has been ensured and brand building has been promoted.”
To implement the program from now until 2020, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong underscored the need to fine-tune legal documents.
He said “The Vietnamese agriculture will earn US$40 billion from exports soon. To this end, we need to focus on Vietnamese farm and program to build new-style rural areas after 2020 under which Vietnam plans to have 50% of communes meet new-style rural norms. We should clarify theory, mechanism, and policy issues to restructure agriculture and complete new-style rural development.”
According to Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, head of the steering committee of the National Target Programs on building new rural development said more attention should be made to promoting effective production models, preservation of regional cultures, new-style rural development in line with urbanization, and agricultural industrialization, and ensuring the security and safety of rural people.
Mr. Hue said, “New-style rural development is a process with a starting point but with no cut-off point. Following the new-style rural development program, we must have a role model program for rural development with certain criteria. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is piloting the program in 5 districts and several communes.”
Cao Duc Phat, Deputy Chief of the Party Central Committee Commission for Economics Commission, said “It’s necessary to pay more attention to developing cultural life in rural areas. In addition to researching financial mechanisms and technical models, rural society and new-style rural development issues should be more focused.”
Increased investment boosts Mekong Delta development
Most enterprises in the Mekong Delta performed effectively in the first half of this year, with a growth rate of about 9%. The result was attributed to joint efforts by the Mekong provinces to boost investment for regional development.
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, 4,600 new businesses with a total registered capital of more than US$1.9 billion were established in the Mekong Delta in the first half of this year, up 8.7% over last year.
Seven of 13 regional provinces and cities attracted 47 new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects with registered capital exceeding US$800 million, proving that the Mekong Delta is becoming more attractive to investors looking to invest in agriculture, manufacturing, processing, and tourism.
The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry branch in Can Tho reports that when the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) takes effect, it will create new business opportunities for Vietnamese enterprises to expand their export markets.
Phung Thi Lan Phuong of the VCCI branch in Can Tho said “In the future we should attract investment in hi-tech agriculture and increase the productivity of Vietnam’s agricultural sector to satisfy demanding import markets including the markets of CPTPP members, the EU, and the US. We hope the CPTPP will help Vietnam attract more investment in agriculture so we can develop sustainably with more qualified products.”
Can Tho city, at the center of the Mekong Delta, is focusing on logistics, high-tech agriculture, and IT and cooperating with other localities and institutions in the region to attract investment and train high quality human resources. The city is also working hard to improve its investment and business environment.
Vo Thanh Tong, Chairman of Can Tho City People’s Committee, said Can Tho is promoting trade, helping enterprises expand their markets, boosting exports, and increasing links for domestic consumption. It is also enhancing cooperation with other provinces to advertise rice, fishery products, and fruits to domestic and foreign buyers.
At a recent investment promotion conference in Can Tho, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc praised the city’s administrative reforms and improvement of its investment environment.
He said, “Investors, enterprises, and the business environment have all played important roles in the city’s achievements. Investors need to work closely with the local administration to achieve its vision for the next decade. Local authorities should streamline registration procedures.”
In the first half of this year, Tien Giang attracted 18 projects, 7 of them FDI were projects with a registered capital of more than US$300 million. Tien Giang is working out measures to attract investment in high-tech projects to produce competitive, high quality products.
Tran Thanh Duc, Deputy Chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee, said “In the third quarter, the provincial People’s Committee will promulgate a plan to improve the administrative reform index until 2020.
The plan will identify strengths and weaknesses and propose specific measures to ensure that administrative reform is completed on schedule. We will focus on simplifying administrative procedures, speeding up online public services, and delivering results via the postal system.”
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said he believes Tien Giang will be a primary driver of the region’s economy, adding “Tien Giang needs to concentrate on high-tech agriculture, safe fruits, farm produce processing, ecotourism, and building a logistics industrial zone at the Xoai Rap deep-water port.”
Seven-month industrial production up 9.81% in southern localities
Vietnam lacking good startup ecosystem to attract capital
Though Vietnam is considered to offer a strong potential for investments in startups, domestic investors are inexperienced in startup evaluation and foreign investors are discouraged by the complex legal environment, according to an expert.
On the sidelines of a recent workshop on financial support for startups, Jouko Ahvenainen, founder and executive chairman of Grow Vc Group, said that one of the problems concerning the attraction of capital for Vietnamese startups is that domestic investors have money, but are not experienced enough to identify good startups, to understand how they are operating and how to assist these businesses.
Ahvenainen added that only experienced investors are capable of seeking out startups.
Meanwhile, foreign investors view Vietnam as a potential market with high profitability.
To attract foreign investors, there needs to be a transparent environment and an open startup ecosystem, which is to facilitate investments, as well as capital withdrawals.
According to Ahvenainen, many investors are interested in the Vietnamese startup market, but shy away from complex regulations.
As a result, instead of directly investing in startups, the Government should build a complete startup ecosystem and clear regulations to attract private sources of capital.
Ahvenainen told The Saigon Times that Vietnam’s ecosystem is still in its infancy, but is heading in the right direction.
An ecosystem needs the involvement of many parties, including outstanding individuals who are capable and have the desire to build their businesses and expand globally.
Besides improving the legal framework and the startup ecosystem, according to Ahvenainen, it is essential to build a startup database, which foreign investors can depend upon to make investment decisions.
As of the end of last year, there were approximately 3,000 startups in Vietnam. While some 50 agreements were made in 2016, worth US$205 million, 92 deals which attracted US$291 million were recorded last year.
However, it is undeniable that the value of investments in Vietnamese startups is much lower than that in other countries in the region.
The number of Vietnamese startups acquired and merged remains modest, and there have been almost no firms involved in initial public offerings. Meanwhile, startups in ASEAN countries attracted US$7.86 billion last year.
A major difficulty faced by innovative startups is access to capital. Thus, startups have had to use their own money or borrow from relatives, as it is not easy to receive bank loans.
Connectivity helpful for cooperatives to create own strength
Vietnam must strive hard to achieve the target of 15,000 effective cooperatives by 2020, according to Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue.
Production connectivity and sales of farm produce play a significant role in developing agriculture, he said.
Connectivity will help increase interests of the involved parties, especially farmers, while limiting small-scale production and expanding goods production, he added.
As of June 2018, Vietnam had 47 cooperatives alliances, including nearly 20,000 cooperatives with charter capital of VND34 trillion (US$1.46 billion).
The country aims to have 15,000 effective cooperatives by 2020, but few cooperatives have built development plans and have enough capital to expand production.
Surveys conducted in Mekong Delta provinces showed that the number of cooperatives with access to loans is limited.
According to the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance (VCA), the country is home to 48 cooperative development funds with charter capital of more than VND800 billion (US$34.4 million).
Many cooperatives, even when they have capital to develop production, fail to build effective business plans. This is a big problem in the field, said Tran Minh Hai, director of the cooperative economy training and consulting centre at Institute of Management for Agriculture and Rural Development II.
To overcome capital difficulties, some cooperatives have connected with businesses to create revenue for their operation.
Among the more than 12,000 agricultural cooperatives, a mere 190 have applied high technology in production.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam suggested localities establish consulting groups to support agricultural cooperatives with technology.
He recommended strengthening links between businesses and cooperatives while encouraging organisations to transfer science-technology and provide capital assistance for cooperatives.
Over the years, to build a strong system of cooperatives, the VCA has proposed cooperatives join production value chains, which could help them address difficulties in production and supply of products.
This model will also help improve the quality of human resources and the management capacity of the cooperative managing boards.
Workshop talks goat, sheep farming amid climate change
Officials from the agriculture sector and some provinces gathered at a recent workshop in Ninh Thuan province to discuss ways to sustainably develop goat and sheep farming and adapt it to climate change.
Goat and sheep farming in Vietnam has developed strongly over the years, according to the Department of Livestock Husbandry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
About 2.7 million goats and sheep had been raised nationwide as of October 2017, up 28.6% year on year. In the coastal central region, the country’s goat and sheep farming hub, Ninh Thuan province is the biggest centre with 54%(more than 138,000) of total goats and 96% (some 160,000) of total sheep.
Nguyen Van Bac, an official from the National Agriculture Extension Centre, said in some provinces like Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Phu Yen and Dak Lak in the central region, and Tra Vinh, Tay Ninh and Dong Thap in the south, goat and sheep farming models have been generating high profits.
However, small-scale production using traditional methods, a shortage of production and consumption links, plus increasingly serious climate change impacts, have been affecting goat and sheep production.
Ha Thuy Hanh, Deputy Director of the centre, said climate change has had major impacts on animal husbandry development. Farming in many localities considered goat and sheep production centres has shown signs of becoming stagnant, even shrinking.
She added in some provinces, prolonged drought and natural food shortages over the years have killed many goats and sheep, causing big losses for farmers.
Echoing this view, Director of Ninh Thuan’s agriculture extension centre Nguyen Tin said climate change has greatly influenced local animal husbandry. The province has recorded animal deaths due to water and food shortages every year. Notably, more than 5,900 head of livestock died due to drought from early 2015 through the summer-autumn crop of 2016. Water scarcity has also killed about 120 head of livestock, including more than 100 goats and sheep, in Ninh Thuan since April.
At the workshop, many participants said the biggest problem is finding resilient breeds, asking the agriculture ministry to propose the Government allocate funding to import goat and sheep breeds from countries with climate conditions like Vietnam.
They called on the Department of Livestock Husbandry and the National Agriculture Extension Centre to select good breeds in each locality for cross-breeding.
They also urged building more support policies and production chains, controlling quality from breeds to final products and ensuring benefits for both farmers and businesses.
In the face of expanding industrial and energy projects, localities need to set aside areas for animal farming, find climate change-resistant plants to use as food for livestock and develop animal product processing factories, participants added.
Lam Dong exports Laba banana to Japan
The first batch of Laba banana – a specialty of Vietnam’s Central Highland province of Lam Dong – has been exported to Japan.
The 30 tonnes of banana were shipped by the Phu Son Laba trade service cooperative in Lam Ha district through a contract signed with Viet Banana Investment Joint Stock Company in 2017, chairman of the cooperative’s board of directors Nguyen Tan Choi said on August 27.
The banana must be grown according to Japanese technical procedures, he said, adding that the Japanese partner had sent its experts to inspect the quality, pesticide residues, and harvesting and packaging procedures for the fruit before allowing the shipment of fruit.
After the first batch, the Japanese side orders 3-4 containers of Laba banana each month, with 20 tonnes of fruit in each container. This is a good sign affirming the brand and quality of Lam Dong’s fruit specialty.
The cooperative is growing Laba bananas on nearly 200 hectares in Lam Ha district and Da K’Nang commune (Dam Rong district). Around 100 hectares have entered harvesting time.
With stable prices of VND8,000-9,000 per kg under the export contract to Japan, one hectare of Laba bananas is estimated to bring about VND500-600 million (US$21,527 – 25,832) in profit for farmers annually.
Laba banana is favoured by tourists thanks to its special taste and flavour. Previously, it was among local specialty offerings to King Bao Dai (1926-1945).
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