Compliance with quality standards – a must to bolster fruit exports: insiders

Farmers and businesses must improve product quality, and strictly follow the rules of origin and ensure food safety to boost fruit exports, experts said.

They made the affirmation at a recent conference jointly held by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), and the Vietnam Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Post-harvest Technology and the National Authority for Agro-Forestry-Fishery Quality, Processing and Market Development under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in Ho Chi Minh City.

Describing fruit as a key agricultural export product, Deputy Director of the MARD’s Plant Protection Department Le Van Thiet said that fruit shipments in recent five years grow 10-15% annually, most of which are destined for China, the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the EU.

Negotiations to diversify export markets have made Vietnam one of the largest fruit exporters in Southeast Asia, while encouraging farmers and exporters to make more investment in their processing, packaging and transport facilities to ensure that Vietnamese fruit products meet foreign market standards, he said.

Pointing out several challenges that hamper fruit exports, including technical barriers, strict sanitary and phytosanitary measures and fierce competition, Thiet said farmers and businesses must comply with quality standards of importers, while promoting sustainable value chains for their products.

Additionally, as digital transformation still lags behind the industry’s development, he suggested competent sides complete and upgrade their database, e-training platforms and websites, making them more friendly with users.

Besides, the completion of guidelines to set up and manage packaging facilities and planting areas of key fruit, as well as sound plant quarantine measures in accordance with importer requirements will help boost fruit exports, Thiet added.

Manager of UNIDO’s project on quality and standard Bahramalian Nima said that total fruit export batches rejected to enter Australia, China, the EU, Japan and the US increased 42% in ten years, from 24 in 2010 to 34 in 2020.

The rejections were due to disease infection, poor hygienic control, and veterinary drug and pesticide residues, he said, stressing that Vietnam should improve its technical assessment capacity, improve food safety surveillance system, and work to better farmer and company capacity to control quality.

Regarding origin tracing, experts said Vietnam should focus on improving transparency through food supply chains to detect unsafe food, and find ways to identify whether farmers are planting their trees under good practice standards or not.

Most recently, the Plant Protection Department sent a document to several localities, asking them to temporarily halt planting areas and packaging facilities with codes that fail to meet requirements from the Chinese market.

The suspension was also applied for the batches related to violating growing areas and packaging facilities.

According to Deputy Director of the Plant Protection Department Nguyen Thi Thu Huong, the move aims to reduce risks for Vietnamese exporters as it could take them a long time to recover from the consequences when the codes are revoked by the Chinese authorities.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Latin America among most important markets for Vietnam: official

Latin America is always one of the most important markets for Vietnam, an official of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) told the recent Vietnam International Sourcing 2023.

Over the past years, trade and investment relations between Vietnam and Latin America have continually developed and expanded, said Ta Hoang Linh, Director of the MoIT’s European – American Market Department, at the event, held in Ho Chi Minh City from September 13 to 15.

He cited statistics showing that bilateral trade doubled to 23 billion USD in 2022 from 14.2 billion USD in 2018. It stood at 13.4 billion USD in the first eight months of 2023, down 14% from a year earlier.

Despite the fall during January – August, it is encouraging that the decline has recently slowed down compared to the first months of the year. Particularly, the eight-month trade with some markets has posted year-on-year increases, signalling the recovery of Vietnam – Latin America trade, he went on.

Notably, aside from the biggest Latin American markets like Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile, many others in the region such as Panama, Colombia, and Peru have also recorded impressive growth in trade with the Southeast Asian nation in recent years.

Considering Vietnam’s trade relations, Latin America is always one of the most important markets, Linh said. He added that it is not only a potential importer of Vietnam’s strong products such as textiles-garments, leather-footwear, farm produce and fisheries products, but also a supplier of important materials like corn, soya bean, and animal feed for the country’s manufacturing industries.

A representative of the Vietnamese Trade Counsellor in Chile said the Vietnam – Chile Free Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), have provided mechanisms for Vietnam to step up exporting goods, including many entitled to zero tariffs, to Chile.

Chile is currently the third largest destination of Vietnamese goods in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico, the representative said.

Meanwhile, Tatiana Prazeres, Secretary of Foreign Trade at the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry, Trade and Services, noted her country is the biggest trading partner of Vietnam in Latin America.

In 2022, bilateral trade rose 6.5% year on year to 6.78 billion USD. That consisted of 2.24 billion USD in Vietnam’s exports to Brazil, down 1.3%, and 4.55 billion USD in imports, up 10.8%.

The trade turnover reached 3.86 billion USD during the first seven months of 2023, down 7.5% from a year earlier, comprising 1.47 billion USD in Vietnam’s exports (up 14%) and 2.39 billion USD in imports (down 17.1%), data show.

Vietnam’s main exports to Brazil include mobile phones and components, computers, electronic devices and components, machinery and spare parts, vehicles, steel, and footwear. Meanwhile, the Southeast Asian nations mainly imports ores and minerals, cotton, animal feed and materials, soya bean, corn, timber and wood products, and garment and footwear materials from the Latin American country, according to Prazeres.

Linh said there remains much room for Vietnamese enterprises to boost cooperation with Latin America, but they need to take methodological and professional steps.

They should identify potential products for each market, work to meet quality standards, and distribute goods via retail networks of Latin American countries, he recommended.

Nguyen Manh Cuong, a representative of the Vietnam Organic Agriculture Association, noted that since 2024, some Latin American countries will begin enforcing regulations on imports of genetically modified products. This is a chance for producers and suppliers of clean farm produce to grow shipments to Latin America.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

NA Chairman begins official visit to Bulgaria

Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and a high-ranking delegation from the Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) arrived in Sofia on September 23 afternoon, starting an official visit to Bulgaria at the invitation of his counterpart Rosen Zhelyazkov.

Welcoming NA Chairman Hue and the delegation at the Sofia International Airport were Vice President of the Bulgarian National Assembly Rositsa Kirova, head of the Office of the Bulgarian National Assembly President Nikola Nikolov, Vietnamese Ambassador to Bulgaria Do Hoang Long, and representatives from the Vietnamese community in the country.

As planned, the top Vietnamese legislator will hold talks and meet with senior Bulgarian leaders; and hold meetings, exchanges, and working sessions with Bulgaria’s political community and relevant agencies on bilateral cooperation between the two countries and their legislatures.

In 1950, Bulgaria was one of the first countries in the world to officially establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam. Hue’s official visit is made 15 years after the visit to the European country by then NA Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong in 2008.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Vietnamese PM starts official visit to Brazil

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and the high-ranking delegation of Vietnam arrived at Sao Paulo International Airport around the noon of September 23 (local time), starting an official visit to Brazil from September 23 to 26 at the invitation of the country’s President Lula da Silva.

During the trip, PM Chinh and President Lula da Silva are scheduled to have talks, hold a joint press conference, and witness the signing and handover of cooperation documents between the two countries. The Vietnamese leader will also have meetings with leaders of the National Congress of Brazil, the parliamentary friendship group of the South American country, some local political parties and friendship organisations, and the state of Sao Paulo.

He will also visit the Vietnamese Embassy in Brazil, meet with the Vietnamese community here, open a photo exhibition on late President Ho Chi Minh and Vietnam, attend a business forum between the two countries, and receive executives of some leading Brazilian enterprises.

The visit is expected to set up new orientations for promoting the Vietnam – Brazil comprehensive partnership and identify concrete cooperation projects and areas, thereby developing bilateral relations, especially in economy, trade and investment, in a substantive and effective manner.

Later the same day, PM Chinh visited the Embraer aerospace company in Sao Jose dos Campos city of Sao Paulo.

Embraer President and CEO Francisco Gomes Neto gave the Vietnamese leader an introduction of his firm, which is the world’s third largest producer of commercial aircraft, after Boeing and Airbus, and strong at manufacturing under-130-seat planes. In Vietnam, it has handed over five E190 aircraft to Bamboo Airways.

He highly valued the potential of the Vietnamese market, which is suitable for existing aircraft models of Embraer.

Neto expressed his hope for the Vietnamese Government’s continued support for Embraer to seek cooperation opportunities and expand its market in the country, adding that the group is ready to implement aircraft maintenance and repair services in and provide aerospace technological solutions for Vietnam.

Highlighting the fast development and potential of Vietnam’s aviation sector, PM Chinh held that the new-generation aircraft models of Embraer could be a solution helping Vietnamese airlines concurrently expand their fleets and ensure flight efficiency and safety.

He said he believes in a bright future of aviation cooperation between the two countries, asking Embraer to expand collaboration and investment to develop its business ecosystem in Vietnam.

The Government leader suggested the group discuss cooperation and business chances with Vietnamese airlines, consider providing aircraft maintenance and repair services, participate in the training of aviation manpower in Vietnam, provide technological solutions for the Southeast Asian country to improve the aviation governance capacity, increase automation, and help with the forecasting and prevention of aviation-related risks.

On September 23 evening, PM Chinh had a meeting with representatives of the Vietnamese communities in Brazil and nearby South American countries.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Vietnam’s aquaculture top position on world map

The growth in Vietnam’s seafood export turnover in recent years has been created from the foundation of the aquatic farming, exploitation and processing industry.

Vietnam’s aquaculture industry has not only served the sizable domestic market with a population of about 100 million but also gradually conquered the world market, said Truong Dinh Hoe, General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

Hoe said that along with the growth of global seafood consumption demand, Vietnam’s aquaculture product export turnover has maintained growth for many years and reached 11 billion USD in 2022, 12 times higher than that of 1998.

Not only growing in output, Vietnamese aquacultural products are also considered a source of protein with stable quality and increasingly high nutritional value, contributing to ensuring food supply for people arround the world. Currently, Vietnam is the third largest seafood exporter in the world, after China and Norway.

Vietnam’s fisheries industry now has advantages. First, seafood consumption is increasing globally while natural aquatic resources are limited and seafood supply must rely on aquaculture activities. Vietnam has the advantage of a long coastline and sufficient water surface area for developing both brackish and freshwater aquaculture. Of the total world shrimp production of about 6 million tonnes per year, Vietnam contributes about 1 million tonnes.

The second advantage is that Vietnamese businesses can catch up with the world in processing technology, particularly deep processing to make value-added products.

Thirdly, Vietnam has integrated widely and deeply into the global economy through signing and implementing new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries and regions that are large consumption markets.

However, Vietnam’s fisheries sector faces disadvantages such as small-scale production, mostly household farming, and negative impacts of climate change that result in the shrinking of freshwater aquaculture areas, Hoe said.

He added that Vietnam has strengths in processing technology and consumption markets.

The issue that its aquaculture sector needs to address now is how to optimize production costs through minimizing input costs.

Long-term solutions are also needed such as gradually increasing the rate of large-scale production, applying high technology to improve productivity, and attracting investment in local animal feed and breed production to reduce its reliance on imported sources.

Hoe said that Vietnamese aquacultural products are present in over 170 countries and territories all over the world, so finding new markets is no longer a priority.

In the context of a decline in purchasing power in major markets, businesses and associations need to step up trade promotion to effectively exploit the potential of each market.

Regarding the increasing trend of green production and green consumption, the VASEP representative said that Vietnam’s fisheries industry is “going green” quite well.

Up to 70% of raw materials used to make products for export are raised at farms. Vietnam has more and more farms and farming areas that have received international certifications for responsibly farmed aquatic products, minimized negative impacts on the environment, ecosystem, and community, and meeting labour regulations.

Out of 847 industrial-scale factories with food safety certificates, over 690 factories received codes for exporting products to the EU. For the US market, Vietnamese products also meet Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP).

As Vietnam committed to net zero emissions by 2050, it’s time for every industry and business to make moves including the use of energy-efficient equipment, renewable energy, and low-carbon packaging.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Taguig finally rules 7s Kampeon Cup

Taguig finally won the AIA Vitality 7s Kampeon Cup after settling two runner-up finishes by beating Iloilo, 4-2, in the championship match at Dynamic Herb Borromeo Sports Complex here on Sunday. Taguig, coached by 7’s Football League founder Anton Del Rosario, put on a dominant stand in the first 20 minutes, but it took an MJ Libre goal in the comeback period to finally hold off Iloilo. Iloilo struck first in the eighth minute when James Tuazon found an opening off Taguig’s defensive lapse. However, Tyler John answered quickly to force a 1-all tie. James Pachejo put Taguig in the lead in the 13th minute, while John completed his brace just before halftime. Iloilo intensified its defense in the second period and it bore fruit in the 34th minute as Kenneth Lecoto scored the lone goal of the frame to cut Taguig’s lead to 3-2. Needing to score twice in succession in the comeback period to steal the win, Iloilo had a lot of chances to score in the extra session, especially when players got taken out gradually. However, in the 18th minute of the comeback period and the match was down to a 3-on-3, Libre picked an Iloilo back-pass on their end and slotted the needed goal to ice Taguig’s win. “Sobrang saya dahil pinagkatiwalaan kami ng coach namin na ipasok ako uli noong time na 3v3 na, and nakuha ‘yung goal na ‘yun dahil nagtulung-tulong ‘yung team (I’m so happy because we were entrusted by our coach to bring me into the match when it was already a 3-on-3, and we got the goal because the team worked together),” Libre told the Philippine News Agency after the match. It was a “curse reversal” for Taguig as it lost its first two finals against Cebu, including the inaugural staging at its homecourt, McKinley Hill Stadium. Taguig ousted Cebu, 3-2, in the semifinals on Saturday night after scoring twice in the comeback period to cancel Cebu’s 2-1 lead at the end of regulation. “It’s a long time coming. We’ve been working hard to be able to get to this point. We’ve been in the finals three times in a row. It’s finally due for us. Our curse is gone, and I’m proud of the boys. They stepped up. They played until the end,” Del Rosario said. Wearing his league executive hat, Del Rosario said that plans are now set for the fourth edition, which will take place simultaneously with the second edition of the women’s division. The venue will be revealed in the coming days

Source: Philippines News Agency