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BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES DECEMBER 19

HCM City seeks to boost ornamental fish exports

 

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HCM City’s ornamental fish breeding industry is seeking to expand its overseas markets.

It earned US$21 million from exports in the first 11 months of the year, a rise of 5 per cent year-on-year, according to the city Fisheries Sub-department.

The city, the country’s largest producer of ornamental fish, has 89ha of ponds devoted to raising ornamental fish in outlying districts, mostly in districts 9, 12, Binh Chanh, and Cu Chi, with more than 290 households involved in the business.

They raise more than 60 species of fish. Of the figure, more than 40 are bred while the rest are caught from rivers and springs.
They export to 43 countries and territories, with the EU being the biggest market, buying slightly more than half of all exports.

To develop the industry, the city has undertaken many programmes, including setting up a model under which participating companies have to properly manage their business.

They have to comply with requirements related to controlling risks, preventing the fish from contracting diseases, reducing the impacts of climatic conditions, and improving their fish-raising skills.

Thanks to this, breeders have been able to improve quality, thus raising the profile of the Vietnamese ornamental fish industry.

A key promotional event for them is the annual Ornamental Fish Festival in November. Companies raising ornamental fish promote their brands and introduce their breeding models here, Pham Thiet Hoa, director of the city Investment and Trade Promotion Centre, said.

Exports have risen sharply since 2015 when they were worth only $12 million.

However, exports remain far short of potential since fish breeding remains small-scale and scattered, which makes it difficult to fulfil large orders, Nguyen Trong Phu, owner of an ornamental fish farm in District 12, said.

To address the problem, a specialised area should be zoned off for raising various ornamental fishes, he suggested.

A lack of research means there are no unique products in the market.

To expand the domestic market and increase exports, the city plans to upgrade breeding infrastructure and boost promotion of ornamental-fish brands.

It also plans to set up a website to boost online transactions for businesses and help them with advertising.

The city is a major centre for breeding ornamental fish, accounting for 50 per cent of the country’s total exports, according to its Centre for Agricultural Consultancy and Support.

It breeds many species, both imported and local, and has many fish feed production plants.

Tra Vinh province seeks to lure more foreign investment

The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh has made great efforts in completing mechanisms and management policies to lure more foreign investors and improve the quality of foreign direct investment in the locality.

The province is striving to attract some US$1.1 billion in foreign direct investment during 2021-25 and $1.7 billion for the 2026-30 period.

Along with renewing investment promotion methods and enhancing the efficiency of State management over foreign investment, the province has outlined special investment attraction plans to draw strategic investors.

The province has paid due attention to improving administrative procedures as well as creating favourable conditions for foreign firms to study the local business climate. Furthermore, land clearance and infrastructure development have been also put in focus.

Boasting a coastline of 65km, Tra Vinh Province has huge potential to develop its marine economy.

Currently, the province has 350 valid projects, including 41 foreign-invested projects valued $3.1 billion, and 309 domestic projects with total registered capital of over VND106 trillion ($4.57 billion).

Phu Tho prioritises investment projects using modern technology

The northern province of Phu Tho will prioritise investment projects using advanced technology and high-quality labour to improve production value, Phan Trong Tan, Vice Chairman of Phu Tho Provincial People's Committee told Vietnam News Agency.

The province resolutely eliminates projects that are likely to cause environmental pollution and waste large amounts of land and labour.

Phu Tho will continue to restructure agricultural production towards increasing added value, applying scientific advances and developing hi-tech agriculture. The agricultural sector will have large-scale production and value chains and strengthen linkage of production, processing and consumption.

It will also expand agricultural production regions and develop brands of agricultural products.

Nguyen Minh Xuyen, Director of Phu Tho Department of Planning and Investment, said the province will accelerate the construction of infrastructure of industrial parks and key industrial clusters such as Phu Ha, Trung Ha and Cam Khe, to create clean regions available to receive investment. The province will also start construction of Tam Nong, Ha Hoa and Phu Ninh industrial zones soon.

It will diversify and improve quality and competitiveness of traditional industrial products that have advantages in terms of raw material and market.

The province will also attract high technology projects into industrial parks and industrial clusters, support the development of small and medium enterprises, enhance industrial promotion activities and develop handicrafts and trade villages.

This year, the province expects to gain 7.83 per cent in economic growth, 0.23 per cent compared the yearly plan, and US$1.95 billion in total export value, up 29 per cent.

Viet Nam-EU dialogue discusses challenges to doing business in Viet Nam

Government officials and business leaders from Viet Nam and the EU discussed the challenges of doing business in Viet Nam and solutions which can help streamline procedures for international companies in a high-level dialogue on Thursday in Ha Noi.

The 4th discussion, held by the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform (ACAPR) and the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham), follows Eurocham’s recent mission to Brussels to advocate for ratification of the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

It gathered hundreds of representatives from European enterprises and the Office of the Government (OOG) to discuss improvements to Viet Nam’s trade and investment environment

“Today’s dialogue shows that the Government is serious about making Viet Nam an even more attractive trade and investment environment and open to the ideas and insights of the European business community,” said Nicolas Audier, chairman of EuroCham.

Eurocham’s chairman appreciated the introduction of the National Public Service Portal – a new electronic platform to better connect the Government with both people and enterprises after nine months of construction.

“This is just one of the many recent positive developments in reforming Viet Nam’s administrative procedures, and we hope events like this will help to support the Government along this positive path of reform in the future,” Audier said.

According to him, this dialogue sends a positive signal at a crucial time in the ratification process of the EVFTA. With a vote in the European Parliament scheduled for the New Year, it has never been more important to show that Viet Nam is open for business and addressing the challenges faced by European enterprises in Viet Nam.

Delegates shared their challenges of market access for goods and investment into Viet Nam, discussing issues including product registration, import-export procedures, and customs processes.

The challenges of circulating products in the market, with issues such as packaging, labelling and advertisement were also raised, along with concerns of European enterprises about challenges in their daily business operations, with questions around tax, customs and licensing.

ACAPR’s Chairman and Minister of the OOG Mai Tien Dung said Vietnamese Government and the Prime Minister paid high attention to administrative reforms, trying to create favourable conditions for businesses to invest in production and business in Viet Nam.

Cutting red tape for doing business is a very important goal of the Government, Dung said, noting that in the course of implementation, the ministries have reduced 3,451 out of 6,926 business conditions, helping businesses save VND894 billion (US$38.5 million).

Specialised inspection and tax and customs reform also saw positive results with the removal of 6,776 of total 9,961 specialised administrative procedures, helping save VND5.44 trillion.

The Prime Minister is urging to hasten reforms on tax and customs issues, he said.

Reform on customs clearance has saved $19/shipment. Dung said with 12 million sets of import and export dossiers, this reform saved $200 million. At the same time, customs clearance time has been reduced from 58 hours to 55 hours for export documents; from 62 hours to 56 hours with the import documents.

Admitting that some difficulties need time, Dung emphasised: “It is important that the Government always listens to the opinions of the business community."

He said that ACAPR would collect all opinions of Eurocham’s businesses at the dialogue and would report to the Prime Minister, proposing the Prime Minister to direct ministries to handle the recommendations.

Viet Nam’s fruit and vegetable export value falls in 11 months

Viet Nam's fruit and vegetable exports dropped 0.6 per cent year-on-year to US$3.5 billion in the first 11 months this year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The drop was attributed to falling earnings from dragon fruit, which accounted for 31 per cent of total fruit exports, (down 9 per cent), durian (down 17.4 per cent), coconut (down 35 per cent), longan (down 56 per cent) and watermelon (down 26.4 per cent).

MARD’s Agricultural Products Processing and Market Development Department said the strong decrease in exports to China, which accounted for 66.8 per cent of all fruit and vegetable exports, was also a reason behind the fall.

The rise in exports to the US, the European Union, Japan and the Republic of Korea was not enough to compensate for the reduction in the Chinese market.

In the same period, $1.63 billion was spent on importing fruit and vegetables, up 3.4 per cent from the same period last year. Imports from Thailand, still the biggest import market of Viet Nam, went down 24.5 per cent, while those from China picked up 10 per cent and from the US up 54 per cent.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s report on exports in the first 11 months of this year, many other key products had dropped in export value due to difficulties.

Total export revenue of agricultural, forestry and fishery products was estimated at $23.1 billion, down 5.2 per cent over the same period of last year, including seafood (down 2.3 per cent), coffee (down 22.2 per cent), and cassava (down 5.3 per cent).

Other commodities increased in export volume but decreased in export value due to the decrease in prices such as cashew nuts, pepper and rice.

Improvements are needed for sustainable development, including quality control, traceability, processing capacity, preservation of agricultural products and supporting industries for the agriculture sector.

To remove these difficulties, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said it would study solutions and measures to develop exports and imports for important markets, seek new potential export markets and consolidate as well as expand the market share of Vietnamese goods in traditional markets and FTA partners.

Le Thanh Hoa, deputy director of the Agricultural Product Processing and Market Development Department, said to seize the opportunity, Viet Nam needed to accelerate registration of planting zone codes and packaging codes, helping local businesses export more fruit and vegetables to the Chinese market.

In addition, Viet Nam's fruit and vegetable businesses needed to put investment in technology and modernisation of processing and production equipment, and also strengthen co-operation and connectivity with partners in the supply chain to improve export capacity.

Hoa was quoted by the Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Vneconomy) newspaper as saying the State should promote farming products in potential markets. Thailand exported 22 kinds of fruit and vegetables to China while Viet Nam only had nine. The nation needed three years or longer to gain export certificates for its tropical fruit to be shipped to China.

Europe and many other countries had also set up technical barriers for imported goods. In the EU, besides the advantages from the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), the market had standards that asked Vietnamese businesses to improve production and product quality and to apply high technology in production, processing, preservation, packaging and transport.

To achieve these standards, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had asked the Government to offer incentives to the agricultural sector to develop production and business monitoring programmes avoid trade and technical barriers, Hoa said.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau selective about investments, prioritises high-tech

Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, one of eight provinces and cities in the Southern Key Economic Zone, has for many years been an ideal destination for foreign investors thanks to its natural advantages and comprehensively developed infrastructure in addition to attractive incentives.

Investors flocking to the province often invest in preferential sectors such as industry, ports and logistics, supporting industries, tourism and high-tech agriculture.

To attract more local and foreign investors, province authorities have kept improving the investment climate by adopting policies and solutions to strengthen administration and competitiveness.

The year 2019 is a clear example of these efforts with many resolutions and programmes being put in place.

The province announced an action plan to deploy the Government’s resolution No02/NQ-CP dated January 1 on solutions to improve the investment environment and competitiveness.

An action plan was also announced to deploy the Government’s resolution No139/NQ-CP dated September 11 on cutting enterprises’ expense.

Also in 2019 the province has promulgated a number of regulations to identify investors who want to invest in high-tech and organic agriculture.

A document to guide their selection where land use is involved was also issued.

Besides, Ba Ria-Vung Tau has focused on solutions to improve its position in the provincial competitiveness index.

The People’s Committee has assigned departments to organise programmes to support local companies investing in the province.

The province’s efforts to improve the investment climate has been welcomed by investors.

“Authorities in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, such as the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Industrial Zones Authority, and others, are active in attracting foreign capital and offering one-stop services,” Kazama Toshio, deputy general director of the Phu My 3 Industrial Zone, said.

“This has helped speed up the investment licence application and approval process, which is a great back-up for attracting foreign capital.”

In addition to promulgating new regulations and action plans, local authorities also routinely meet with business executives to help solve difficulties faced by their companies while doing business in the province.

Vo Trinh Trieu, director of the provincial Investment, Trade, Tourism Promotion Centre, said: “Recently we have been paying attention to providing information to investors, connecting investors by organising conferences and meeting with investors.”

The province has been stepping up investment promotion activities by strengthening co-operation with international organisations like Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), American Chamber of Commerce in Viet Nam (AmCham), and European Chamber of Commerce in Viet Nam (EuroCham) so that they could apprise investors about key investment projects in Ba Ria-Vung Tau as well as sectors it is focusing on, according to the official.

Thanks to these efforts, the province had a fruitful 2019 in terms of attracting investment.

This year the province has issued investment certificates for 38 new projects and permitted 27 others to increase their investment.

The total investment this year has been worth US$2.35 billion, $500 million in new projects.

The Southern Oil Refinery Complex has increased its capital by $1.4 billion.

Domestic investment was worth VND13.037 trillion ($579 million) in 58 new projects. Eight others increased their capital by VND1.63 trillion ($71.5 million).

2020 strategy

Next year Ba Ria-Vung Tau will selectively choose projects based on criteria such as prioritised sectors and nations to ensure things go smoothly.

It will focus on promoting major projects that use advanced technology and are environment-friendly, with sectors including logistics, supporting industries, high-tech agriculture, and tourism being prioritised.

It will identify major global corporations for soliciting investment.

Activities to promote investment, trade and tourism will be undertaken together with partners such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, North America, Russia, and ASEAN.

Efforts will be made to further improve the business climate.

Provincial authorities have assured they would provide comprehensive information about legal amendments and policies to attract investment in 2020.

To improve its competitiveness, the province will strongly boost integration into the international market.

Regular reviews will be done to handle overdue projects.

Next year the province will also undertake programmes to assess the efficiency of sectors and wards to improve their transparency and management.

Information technology will also be used to improve their management. — VNS

Investment capital disbursement

Ba Ria-Vung Tau has attracted foreign direct investment of nearly US$28 billion in 384 projects so far. Of them 215 are in industrial zones.

The amount actually invested so far is estimated at $15.8 billion.

Vietnamese investors have invested VND290 trillion ($12.7 billion) in 569 projects, 198 in industrial zones.

They have disbursed VND145 trillion ($6.4 billion) so far.

‘Customer experiences’ key to survival in digital age

Marketing strategies that include personalised customer experiences are essential to help companies survive in the highly competitive digital age, speakers said at an international summit in HCM City early this month.

Nguyen Duong, founder of Cempartner, a customer experience professional, said: “In the digital era, customers expect to experience personalised and interactive experiences in which the first impression and feelings will decide their brand loyalty.”

“Offering customer experiences has become the prominent trend in the sales and marketing industry this year,” he said.

More than 40 local and international representatives from leading companies and start-ups around the world are taking part in the two-day VSMCamp & CSMOSummit 2019.

Tran Ngọc Anh, chairman of Anh Group and head of the Sales & Marketing Officer Club (CSMO), said: “Besides the knowledge delivered, real-life and personal experiences shared from speakers with a solid background in the field is the most crucial element.

“The summit will hear diverse perspectives from agencies, companies and brands, and many fields including technology, telecommunications, consumer goods, fashion and F&B, as well as business practices like e-commerce, retail, B2B and B2C,” he said.

Le Quoc Vinh, president and CEO of the Le Group of Companies, said customer experience has been the “hottest keyword” this year because it represents the core of the relationship between the brand and the public.

The two-in-one VSMCamp & CSMOSummit event is one of the biggest sales and marketing events held annually in HCM City.

The VSMCamp featured speakers from business and marketing companies, including Viettel, Tiki, Nielsen, Insider, FPT Software, PNJ, Cempartner, ADT Group, Equest Group, interstellar, PouchNATION, and AdColony.

They addressed a number of issues, including brand-building in the digital era; secrets of hunting for big clients; creation of customer experiences in the Japanese manner; customer-centric approaches in the 4.0 era; and designing great customer experiences to solve serious problems.

Meanwhile, the CSMOSummit, which opens on December 5, will discuss the role of brand positioning as it relates to customer experience; challenges for Chief Marketing Officers in the digital era; modern marketing strategies; and designing customer-experience ecosystems.

The event will feature speeches, panel discussions, and tech demos with solutions using loyalty marketing, artificial intelligence (AI) Tech, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) in real-life situations to create better customer experiences and brands.

In addition, speakers from Japan will share lessons about the sustainable development of Japanese enterprises, the leading nation in customer experience via its Omotenashi (hospitality) philosophy, which is being considered or used by Vietnamese enterprises.

As part of the summit, the CSMO Innovation Awards, with eight award categories, will honour individuals and teams who have contributed solutions and ideas in sales, marketing, and creative communication.

Since the first meeting in 2016, the event has included more than 170 local and foreign speakers, and more than 5,000 participants.

The summit was co-organised by Vietnam CSMO under Vietnam Association of Corporate Directors and Le & Brothers Limited./.

Hanoi’s export revenue hits 15 billion USD in 11 months

Hanoi’s export turnover exceeded 15 billion USD in the first 11 months of 2019, a year-on-year surge of 18.4 percent.

Foreign shipments of computers and peripheral devices contributed 2.28 billion USD to the capital city’s exports, increasing 4.4 percent against the same period last year.

Garment-textile raked in nearly 2 billion USD, up 16.8 percent, while around 1.64 billion USD came from machinery, equipment and spare parts, up 2.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the export turnover of farm produce and wooden products recorded declines of 22.3 percent and 6.8 percent to 887 million USD and 449 million USD in the period, respectively.

In November alone, the city earned 1.57 billion USD from exports, a month-on-month rise of 6 percent and rising 33 percent against the previous year./.

Novaland Expo kicks off in HCM City

The Novaland Expo, an impressive real estate exhibition, is taking place at the Novaland showhouse centre on Mai Chi Tho street, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City from December 4-8.

Following the success of its previous expo in June this year, the company seeks to provide updates on the trends and changes in the city property market.

The expo introduces a number of projects in segments ranging from housing to hospitality that Novaland is developing, like NovaWorld Phan Thiet, NovaWorld Ho Tram, NovaBeach Cam Ranh Resort & Villas, The Grand Manhattan and Aqua City in Dong Nai province.

Through the event, the company wants to inform strategic partners, domestic and foreign investors and customers about its development strategy for 2019-2023 with a vision of becoming a leading economic group in the fields of real estate, finance, hospitality, and transport infrastructure development.

Several conferences to discuss hot trends in the market like eco-living and the second home market will be held with experts from research and consultancy companies like Savills and SSI taking part.

Over 50 partners from various sectors like accommodation, interior decoration, sports and entertainment, banking, and construction materials are participating in the event.

Novaland said many promotions would be offered to customers during the five days of the expo.

People buying products at the expo will receive a discount of 5 percent plus a voucher of 100 million VND for the next purchase.

There will be a lucky draw with the winner’s prize being an apartment at the NovaBeach Cam Ranh Resort & Villas project.

The event will also feature interesting entertainment activities such as a street festival, golf practice and balloon performances.

Twenty-seven years after it was founded, Novaland is now one of the leading property developers in the country. It has developed around 40 housing projects in HCM City and now hospitality projects in several tourism destinations./.

Experts talk ways to add value to Vietnamese coffee

Vietnam’s coffee sector needs to have strategies to improve material quality and step up intensive processing to increase export value and incomes for farmers as well as develop Vietnamese coffee brand, said experts at the recent Vietnam Coffee Week in HCM City.

Vietnam has set itself a target of increasing the ratio of processed coffee from the current 10 percent to 30-40 percent by 2030 to add value.

Dr Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, director general of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s international cooperation department, said Vietnam is the world’s second largest coffee exporter and tops in robusta production and export, with about 1.5 million tonnes of coffee exported each year, fetching 3.5 billion USD.

But the exports remain in the form of unprocessed beans with little value addition, he said.

To improve this situation and develop the industry in a sustainable manner, the sector plans comprehensive measures such as expanding processing, building brands for its products and strengthening linkages in the value chain, he said.

Luong Van Tu, chairman of the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association, said coffee exports in the 2018/19 crop were 1.7 million tonnes worth 3 billion USD, a year-on-year decrease of 2.9 percent in volume and 14.4 percent in value.

Exports of roasted, soluble and mixed coffee accounted for 8 percent, he said.

“More and more local and foreign firms are investing in roasted and ground coffee and soluble coffee,” he said.

There are over 620 roasted coffee factories with a capacity of over 73,000 tonnes a year, he said.

Soluble coffee factories have a capacity of over 47,000 tonnes a year, with some new ones being set up by companies like TATA Group (India), Tin Nghia Corp and Intimex, he said.

Foreign investors are increasingly investing in processing to take advantage of the plentiful availability of premium coffee, a large domestic market with a population of 97 million, and tax breaks through 40 free trade agreements the country has signed.

“Processed coffee enjoys preferential tariffs of from 0 to 5 percent when exported to markets that have FTAs with Vietnam,” he said.

Coffee consumption has increased significantly in the domestic market though per capita consumption remains low compared to the world’s average, he added.

Do Ha Nam, chairman and general director of Intimex Group, said: “Local and foreign firms continue to invest in soluble coffee plants and coffee shop chains.”

Local coffee shops and chains continue to gain its popularity and expand, he said.

“Domestic coffee consumption is expected to increase by 5-10 percent a year. Exports of instant coffee will continue to grow rapidly.”

Nam said around 200,000 metric tonnes of green bean robusta and arabica are sold in the domestic market, mostly to soluble coffee plants for processing.

Nam said Vietnam’s robusta production in the 2019-20 crop is expected to be unchanged or increase by 5 percent.

The harvest would be delayed due to the weather and lack of labour and high labour cost, but the coffee would be of good quality, he added./.

Vietjet Air to increase flights during Tet holiday

Budget carrier Vietjet Air said on December 5 that it plans to add nearly 1,200 flights to meet the high demand for travel during the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.

Between January 11 and February 9, 2020, the carrier will offer nearly 2.5 million tickets for all domestic and foreign flights. Besides, it will operate an additional 1,120 flights from December 28, 2019 to January 5, 2020 on the occasion of New Year.

Vietjet is the first airline in Vietnam to operate as a new-age airline offering flexible, cost-saving ticket fares and diversified services to meet customers’ demands. It is a fully-fledged member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) with the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate.

Vietjet was named “Best Ultra Low-Cost Airline 2018 - 2019” and awarded the highest ranking for safety with 7 stars in 2018 by the world’s only safety and product rating website AirlineRatings.com. The airline has also been listed as one of the world's 50 best airlines for healthy financing and operations by Airfinance Journal in 2018.

Currently, Vietjet operates around 400 flights daily, carrying around 100 million passengers to date, with 120 routes covering destinations across Vietnam and international destinations such as Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the RoK, Taiwan, mainland China, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia and Indonesia./.

Hong Kong firm eyes 80-mln-USD wind power project in Thanh Hoa

Representatives of the Hong Kong-based Envision Energy recently paid a visit to Thanh Hoa to discuss a wind power energy project in the central province.

The firm voiced its hope to build a wind power plant on an area of about 8.7 ha in Hoang Hoa district.

The plant, which is expected to be built at a budget of 80 million USD, will have a capacity of 50 MW. It is projected to generate an average of 129.5 million kWh per year for the national grid.

If the project receives permission, construction of the plant will be started next year and it will be put into operation in late 2021./.

17th Saigon Autotech & Accessories slated for next May

The Saigon International Autotech & Accessories Show (Saigon Autotech & Accessories) will return for the 17th edition in Ho Chi Minh City from May 21 to 24 next year.

The event will be organised at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre by the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Department of Industry, the Asia Trade Fair and Business Promotion JSC (ATFA) and the K-Wellness association of the Republic of Korea.

ATFA representative Ninh Minh Uyen said the upcoming event will feature more than 500 booths on 15,000 sq.m. of ground. It is expected to see a rise of 15 – 20 percent in the number of foreign participating businesses and attract 15,000 visitors.

The show will keep up with the common trend of the global auto industry, which has been applying artificial intelligence (AI), robotics technology and big data to every stage of the production process in recent years.

It will also zone more space for supporting industries like the manufacturing of plastic, rubber and steel components and spare parts to help domestic firms seek partners to improve their production capacity and expand market.

Notably, a sub-exhibition named Smart E-mobility World will be held as part of the show. It will display electric and smart vehicles, components and spare parts for these vehicles, battery technology, along with unmanned devices from developed countries.

Aside from thematic business-to-business events, workshops or business forums, Saigon Autotech & Accessories 2020 will also include many new activities like vehicle repair and maintenance contests, according to organisers./.

Bac Giang farmers cash in on citrus fruit plantation

Citrus farmers in the northern province of Bac Giang have been earning high incomes from growing oranges and grapefruit.

They started growing citrus fruit in Luc Ngan district around ten years ago, and they have since become a local staple and won favour among the pickiest consumers nationwide. In recent years, the district has continued to expand its plantations and followed VietGap standards with the aim of exporting their products.

Tran Thi Phin, a farmer in Truong Sinh village, Tan Quang commune, said her family cultivates Dien grapefruit and green-skin grapefruit on an area of 7,200 square metres, and pockets 300-400 million VND (12,900–17,200 USD) each year.

Since 2017, the orchards have been developed in line with VietGAP standards, with processes such as fertiliser and pesticide use recorded daily, she added.

In a bid to facilitate the sharing of farming techniques to boost growth and consumption, households in Tan Quang commune formed the Luc Ngan fruit production cooperative two years ago. To date, some 50 hectares of oranges and grapefruit have been developed by 22 members under VietGAP standards. Around 20 hectares of oranges received the VietGAP certificate in 2018.

Chairman and Director of the cooperative Tran Dang Vinh said the cooperative plans to increase the acreage of its VietGAP plantations so that their fruits can hit the shelves at domestic and foreign supermarkets. Therefore, all members of the cooperative strictly adhere to clean production requirements.

Realising its efficiency, many households in Thanh Hai, Quy Son and Dong Coc communes have expanded cultivation of in line with VietGAP standards.

According to the district People’s Committee, there are around 6,700 hectares of citrus fruit in the district, which yield an estimated 58,000 tonnes in 2019, up 5,000 tonnes from the previous year. The district is working towards sustainable development by implementing a wide range of measures, including studying and zoning off plantations as well as recommending local farmers not to expand orchards to areas with low potential.

Thanks to the district’s drastic efforts, the acreage of citrus fruits grown in accordance with VietGAP and GlobalGAP stands has increased significantly to 1,800 hectares this year, up by 500 hectares from 2018.

However, several varieties like sweet orange and yellow-fleshed orange are not qualified for export, so Luc Ngan district is building a model to pilot the cultivation of new varieties such as BH and CT 36 in an area covering 15 hectares.

Vice Chairman of Luc Ngan district’s People’s Committee Cao Van Hoan said the district wants all local citrus fruit orchards to follow clean production standards. Besides, it is building a geographical indicator for Luc Ngan’s oranges and pomelo.

Local staples will only win over consumers when they meet all the requirements for food safety and hygiene as well as origin traceability, he said, adding market expansion will be the following step.

In recent years, Luc Ngan citrus fruits have been sold in China and several Southeast Asian countries, however, exports remain unstable, he said.

In a bid to help local famers branch out into new markets for their fruit, Luc Ngan district regularly organizes citrus fruit fairs to promote high-quality staples to consumers. Besides, connections have been forged among state-owned agencies, farmers, scientists and companies to facilitate fruit production, processing and consumption.

This year, the Luc Ngan fruit fair was held from November 29 to December 1./.

Sharp drop seen in crude oil exploitation

A year-on-year drop of 9.6 percent was seen in crude oil exploitation in November this year to 1 million tonnes, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The ministry reported that in the first 11 months of this year, crude oil output reached 12.1 million tonnes, down 5.8 percent over the same period in 2018.

Meanwhile, natural gas exploitation in November also fell 10.3 percent year on year to 0.8 billion cu.m. The output in the January-November period was 9.4 billion cu.m, a rise of 1.2 percent compared to the same period last year.

At the same time, production of liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) in November was 72,500tonnes, pushing the total in the first 11 months of 2019 to 885,300tonnes, up 7.4 percent year on year.

A report from the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed that in the first 11 months of this year, Vietnam shipped more than 3.72 million tonnes of crude oil worth over 1.87 billion USD overseas, up 3.3 percent in volume but down 8.4 percent in value year-on-year.

In November alone, the country raked in 154 million USD from exporting 330,000 tonnes of crude oil, a drop of 33.2 percent in volume and 30.9 percent in value from the previous month.

Meanwhile, Vietnam imported 7.44 million tonnes of crude oil worth 3.5 billion USD in the period, recording surges of 66.3 percent in volume and 44.1 percent in value year on year.

In the first 11 months, Vietnam imported about 9 million tonnes of petrol and oil at an estimated cost of 5.5 billion USD, down 16.1 percent in volume and 24.4 percent in value against the same period in 2018./.

Meeting talks sustainable development of agricultural material areas

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) held a meeting in Hanoi recently to discuss ways to sustainably develop raw material areas and improve processing capacity and market access for agro-products of Vietnam.

MARD Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said though the agricultural sector of Vietnam has obtained major achievements, it cannot rest on its laurels due to three challenges, which are the small production scale, climate change impacts and economic integration into the world.

He admitted that the country has good agricultural production capacity but the production remains ineffective due to the small scale. Besides, deep processing has just developed for only some commodities like shrimp, tra fish and milk to create products with higher added value. Most of other agricultural products have very short value chains.

Vietnamese farm produce have entered 180 markets with total export revenue of over 40 billion USD each year. However, the country has only done a good job in opening new markets while market exploitation and development efforts are still modest, the official noted.

Echoing the view, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam Ousmane Dione said there remain concerns about the quality and sustainability of the country’s agricultural growth, pointing out the low profit for smallholders, a lack of strong connection between product quality and food safety, big post-harvest losses, and limited innovation.

He recommended Vietnam consolidate the connectivity among the main factors in agricultural development, boost cooperation in production planning among provinces, and increase trade promotion.

According to Minister Cuong, to address those shortcomings, it is a must to boost agricultural restructuring with a focus on enhancing concentrated production, developing commodities of Vietnam’s strength, applying scientific advances, and re-organising production.

Dang Kim Son, former Director of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, said raw material areas are the starting point and the foundation of agricultural value chains, noting that the successful formation of these areas will be the prerequisite for handling other stages in value chains.

Sharing their experience in forming raw material areas, a representative of the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) said they chose small- and medium-sized private companies located in the core zones of raw material areas so as to cut down intermediary steps, reduce the cost of risk, and better monitor input materials.

UNIDO has successfully applied this model to building chains for mango in the Mekong Delta and for vegetables in the northern mountainous region, the representative said, noting that one of the first two businesses licensed to export mango to the US is involved in this model.

At the meeting, the MARD and UNIDO signed an agreement to implement a project on improving the quality and the adherence to quality standards of mango value chains in the Mekong Delta./.

Bac Giang seeks to boost export of Yen The hill chicken

A workshop to seek measures to boost the production and export of the Yen The hill chicken products, and orientations for enhancing production of farm products and tourism development, has been organised by the Yen The district People’s Committee, northern Bac Giang province.

Addressing the event, Secretary of the district Party Committee and Chairman of the district People’s Committee Vu Tri Hai said the products of Yen The hill chickens are considered one of the key products of the locality.

The district’s chicken herd is always maintained at 4-4.5 million heads, mainly concentrating in Tien Thang, Canh Nau, Tam Tien and Dong Vuong communes.

The district supplies over 14 million commercial chickens per year to the market. The breeding of Yen The hill chickens has brought stable incomes for local farmers.

Yen The hill chickens were granted a certificate of trademark registration by the National Office of Intellectual Property under the Ministry of Science and Technology in 2011. This is the first livestock product in Vietnam provided with trademark and monopoly protection.

The product has continuously won prestigious prizes since 2011, and was among the four products of Vietnam to receive “The best products and food of Southeast Asia-ASEAN” Cup in 2013. To date, Yen The hill chickens have been protected for industrial property in Laos, China and Singapore.

According to Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Duong Van Thai, the province has taken the cultivation of the Yen The hill chickens as one of its strengths.

However, Yen The hill chickens still face many challenges in production, promotion, and consumption.

Through the workshop, local authorities are looking forward to receiving assessments, forecasts and comments from delegates, scientists and managers, thus building appropriate development orientations and plans for the coming time to improve the value of agricultural products, contributing to further promoting agriculture development in the locality, Thai said.

According to Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Tran Quang Tan, it is quite difficult to identify Yen The hill chickens in the market.

The cooperative model is limited and lacks of connection among farmers, cooperatives and enterprises, thus causing pricing problems and unstable consumption, he said.

To boost the consumption of the product, Bac Giang targets both domestic and export markets but it gives first priority to domestic consumption, especially in Hanoi and big cities. It is looking to export Yen The hill chickens to ASEAN and Chinese markets in the near future.

The district will also continue restructuring breeds to improve the quality of the product, towards making inroads into more difficult markets like Japan and Europe.

Participants said Bac Giang need to build a chain of comprehensive husbandry with linkages of breed, production, slaughtering, processing and consumption, aiming to ensure regulations on traceability, food hygiene and safety, disease control, and safe breeding areas.

They stressed that Bac Giang should pay attention to forming cooperatives, promoting the application of advanced technologies in breeding, processing and selling the product, and work to build and protect the trademark for the product in ASEAN member countries, China, Japan and the EU, and seek new markets./.

Protein production start-up wins competition for social entrepreneurs

Season 2 of Blue Venture Award, the competition for social entrepreneurs, wrapped up in HCM City on Tuesday with Cricket One being named the winner.

Following the success of last season, Blue Venture Award received a strong response from the start-up community this year.

There were more than 200 entries from start-ups in technology, energy, education, tourism, environment, agriculture and other fields.

Some of their products and services have been successfully tested locally, some are still ideas being turned into reality, but all seek a common goal of serving the community and contributing to positive changes in the world.

The five most outstanding candidates competed in the final round, and Cricket One, a social enterprise applying cricket farming technology in protein production, was named the winner.

Cricket One uses cricket-farming technology to develop a sustainable protein product line. In addition to solving food problems, Cricket One also provides jobs to farmers by resolving the backlog of cassava, which people often leave after harvesting.

Second place went to Green Joy Straw, a start-up that makes environment-friendly straws.

The criteria for evaluating the candidates were market potential, visible social impact, scalable capacity, financial capacity, persuasive presentation skills, the business model, and teamwork.

The winner will represent Viet Nam in the final round of the Venture to be held next June in Canada and compete for a share of US$1 million in social funding to be split up between 20 social entrepreneurs.

Launched in 2014 the competition now attracts entries from 40 countries such as the UK, the US, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Greece, Japan, Israel and China.

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