20th edition of Vietfish expo opens in HCM City
The country’s premier fisheries expo, the Viet Nam Fisheries International Exhibition, returns to HCM City 30 per cent larger than when it debuted in 2008.
The event, hosted by the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), opened on August 22 at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre in District 7.
In its 20th edition this year, the annual event, with the theme “Asia’s Home of Seafood”, has attracted 233 exhibitors from 14 countries and territories.
The organisers said the exhibition this year has been expanded by nearly 200sq.m from last year with 7 per cent more exhibitors.
Vietnamese companies are once more showing off their potential as leading fisheries exporters.
Some 66 per cent of the exhibitors are domestic, organisers said.
Of the participants, 55 per cent are in aquaculture and services while the remaining 45 per cent sell machinery and equipment, chemicals, additives, and cold storage.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said: “For 20 years, Vietfish has been one of the most prestigious specialised trade fairs in Asia, an important trade destination for key players in seafood trading, processing and aquaculture.
“From VASEP’s initiative to establish a trade fair and introduce Viet Nam’s seafood products to the world, today the exhibition has become a gathering place for international trade exchanges.
“It has attracted a large number of seafood stakeholders from and outside the country.”
The current trend of ASEAN and international integration, where opportunities are associated with challenges and competition is associated with co-operation, are important motivations for the fisheries sector to constantly innovate, he said.
“We have gone through a successful development phase, but I hope seafood businesses and entrepreneurs will constantly improve and innovate to meet today’s tougher demands in the world market while staying prepared to face new challenges.
“In the new context of the fourth industrial revolution, Viet Nam is strengthening its co-operation with the region and the world, and deepening international integration through the signing of new free trade agreements.
“This promises to open up international co-operation and investment opportunities, thus taking Viet Nam’s fisheries industry to new heights of modernisation.
Vietfish offers visitors the chance to cook and taste dishes made from shrimp, tuna, squid and octopus.
It will feature several conferences that discuss critical issues.
The expo will go on until August 24.
Vietnam Goods and Tourism Week opens in Thailand
Experts discuss draft decree on auto transportation business
State management bodies need to consider the market in terms of the development of new technologies and business methods, rather than using administrative procedures to intervene in the operation of auto transport businesses, said Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) Nguyen Dinh Cung.
Speaking at a seminar on draft revisions to Decree 86/2014/ND-CP on conditions for auto transportation business held in Hanoi on August 21, Cung said State management must also follow the trend of protection and good service to customers.
The seminar acted as a forum for relevant sectors to share their views, identify issues and propose recommendations for the revision of documents or their implementation, thereby helping the Government make appropriate decisions on the issuance of the revised decree.
In terms of business conditions, the CIEM leader said that the scope of the revisions to the decree covered regulations on conditions of auto transportation businesses, granting and revoking business licences, badges and signboards, and regulations on announcing car terminals.
The draft Decree 86 is being circulated for the contribution of opinions from ministries, sectors and people. There are many new features such as the removal of some regulations and conditions on the colour of logos, operating centres, communication equipment and uniforms.
However, the CIEM leader said this was not still enough to apply old management for the new business methods to address existing shortcomings.
Cung said that with the fourth industrial revolution, there would also be a conflict between traditional models and new business trends.
Uber and Grab are just part of new business trends, sharing the digital economy, said Cung.
“Whether or not traditional activities will remain, the potential of the digital economy is huge,” said Cung.
“Do not look at a phenomenon and prevent new business trends. We should not use the traditional model to compete with businesses that apply new technology. Therefore, Vietnamese businessmen and enterprises need to bring into full play their creativity to generate artificial intelligence (AI) technology and Internet of Things (IoT) in order to develop quickly and on a large scale, so that Viet Nam does not lag behind in terms of development,” he added.
Cung also said that new technology-based business methods may not be strongly encouraged and may be subject to some technical barriers, but this does not mean the abolition of this business method is necessary.
The draft decree cuts 12 business conditions, however there are 85 additional conditions.
According to Nguyen Thanh Hung, President of the Vietnam E-commerce Association (VECOM), the current Decree 86 needs significant amendments. But the new draft Decree offering more business conditions than the current decree is not appropriate. As such, the addition of business conditions should be reconsidered.
To assure the rationality and feasibility of Decree 86, economist Ngo Tri Long, who was former director of the Market Price Research Institute under the Ministry of Finance, said that the business model needs renovation.
“It is necessary to make use of the achievements of the sharing economy to save resources for society. In addition, it is essential to remove unnecessary conditions and procedures that create burdens and unnecessary costs for businesses,” said Long.
Cung proposed that State management should be shifted from pre-inspection to post-inspection and the principle of risk management should be applied.
“Before the fourth industrial revolution and new forms of business, State management must create an equally competitive environment, and create conditions for new business models and technology enterprises to develop their operations and promote the transformation of traditional business,” Cung said.
Vietnam’s steel exports rake in 2.53 billion USD in 7 months
Vietnam’s steel exports rose 40.4 percent year on year to 3.41 million tonnes in the first seven months of the year, raking in 2.53 billion USD, up 56.3 percent.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Cambodia was the largest importer of Vietnamese steel during the January-July period, accounting for 37 percent of the total steel export volume.
The country’s steel exports to Cambodia increased by 49 percent in volume and 77.9 per cent in value over the same period last year, reaching 717,572 tonnes, equivalent to 462.73 million USD.
Some 532,779 million tonnes were shipped to the US for 452.81 million USD, increasing by 71.6 percent in volume and 81.7 percent in turnover.
Shipments to Malaysia escalated 88.5 per cent in volume and 108.6 per cent in value to reach 391,607 tonnes, or 266.98 million USD.
Indonesia splashed out 295.33 million USD purchasing 372,514 tonnes of Vietnamese steel, up 22.3 percent in volume, and 33 percent in value.
However, steel exports declined sharply in the following markets: Switzerland (down 96 percent in turnover), Saudi Arabia (down 63.4 percent in value), and Pakistan (down 45.6 percent in value).
During the period, steel export price increased by 11.3 percent to reach average 742.8 USD per tonne. Of which, exports to Hong Kong reached the highest rate with 2,995.8 USD per tonne, up 33.4 percent. Some markets also enjoyed good prices such as Switzerland, Turkey, China and Ukraine.
In contrast, exports to Taiwan have the lowest price of 556.7 USD per tonne, a year-on-year decrease of 14 percent.
Although the steel sector has witnessed thriving exports, it is struggling to cope with trade defence lawsuits in the context of growing protectionism. From July 16 to August 9, the sector faced anti-dumping lawsuits in many foreign countries such as Thailand, the EU, Canada, Malaysia, the US, the Eurasian Economic Union, and India.
Particularly, within only a week (July 27 to August 2), the US launched two investigations into the avoidance of paying anti-dumping and anti-subsidy taxes on corrosion-resistant steel and cold rolled steel from Vietnam.
As of the end of June, local steel products were the target of 37 anti-dumping lawsuits among 78 trade remedy lawsuits against Vietnamese exports from the outset of the year.
Chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) Ho Nghia Dung said that improving competitive capacity to expand export markets and understanding of international trade regulations are significant for Vietnamese steel firms to respond to trade defence lawsuits.
The association recommended the state to enhance the use of trade defence tools to protect domestic steel production.
Farm produce needs improved quality to unlock EU market
Farmed chicken price falls, as problems come home to roost
The price of industrially-farmed chicken in Vietnam’s southern region has dropped as businesses imported too many chicken products from foreign countries.
This month witnessed a drop in domestic chicken prices of more than 10,000 VND (0.4 USD) compared with the previous month, touching 20,000-22,000 VND per kilo of white-feather chicken and by 9,000-12,000 VND to 25,000-26,000 VND per kilo of coloured-feather chicken.
According to Deputy Chairman of the Animal Livestock Associations in the southeast region Nguyen Van Ngoc, the price of rice bran has risen continuously, partly causing chicken farmers to lose 2,000-4,000 VND per kilo of chicken.
“The main reason is that too many imported chicken products have been shipped to Vietnam, especially the kind of tough chicken (at about 25,000 VND per kilo), causing a rapid increase in supply. Domestic chicken failed to compete and so its price has dropped,” said Ngoc.
Statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed that the country imported more than 105,000 tonnes of chicken meat in the first seven months of this year, equivalent to 85 percent of last year.
Deputy Director of the general department’s Import and Export Department Le Manh Hung said that in tax calculation, there were many factors adding to the taxable price, but many enterprises may not have fully declared such figures, intending to hide or neglecting to inform the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
“We have adjusted the tax rate after checking. There are quite a lot of cases adjusted to 30 percent compared with the businesses’ previously declared price,” Hung said, “However, this is not the main factor causing the imported chicken price to be cheaper than the domestic one.”
Hung said the imported chicken meat was mainly chicken wings and thighs, parts which were popular among Vietnamese consumers. Meanwhile, foreigners prefer to eat chicken breast, so they sell chicken wings and thighs at cheaper prices.
In addition, Hung said imported chicken products were cheaper because the foreign countries often raise chicken on large-scale farms with thousands of chickens. “The farms use modern automation and labour is minimal while they are proactive in food and veterinary medicine. Therefore, the price of their chicken is cheaper than that of Vietnam.”
In 2017, the country imported 122,714 tonnes of chicken of all kinds with total value of 111.6 million USD.
VSSA proposes self-defense measure against HFCS
The Vietnam Sugar and Sugarcane Association (VSSA) has written to the Government calling for an investigation into the import of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and the application of a special self-protection measure against this sugar-like substance due to the negative influence of the imported product on the domestic sugarcane sector.
In the letter sent to the Prime Minister, VSSA noted the difficulties being faced by the sugarcane sector and suggested some solutions.
Pham Quoc Doanh, chairman of VSSA, stated that despite taking various positive steps to maintain production, including flexibly adjusting sales plans, sugarcane firms have failed to raise sugar consumption and prices.
Accordingly, sugar prices reported at factories have recently fallen to VND11,000-11,500 per kilogram for refined standard sugar, dropping by 30% year-on-year, resulting in some factories leaning toward losses.
In addition to the Thai sugar being smuggled into the country, the large volume of HFCS imports has seriously affected the Vietnamese sugarcane sector, according to VSSA.
The letter claims that a type of HFCS popularly imported into Vietnam is HFCS-55, with 55% fructose, which is 1.1-1.3 times sweeter than sugarcane.
HFCS is mostly replacing sugarcane in the production of food, drinks and medicines, showing direct competition with sugarcane.
Statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs indicate that the imported HFCS volume skyrocketed in the 2015-2017 period, with some 67,800 tons in 2015, 70,000 tons in 2016 and some 89,300 tons in 2017, up 31.7% against 2015.
In terms of the price, the VSSA letter notes that HFCS is getting cheaper. One ton of HFCS was priced at US$496 in 2015, US$460 in 2016 and US$398 in 2017, while one ton of sugarcane cost US$630 in 2015, US$726 in 2016 and US$702 in 2017.
HFCS enjoys a zero import duty policy with an unlimited quota, in line with prevailing regulations, whereas sugarcane is subject to a quota regime, according to VSSA.
Cheap prices and a preferential import tax policy make HFCS more attractive to food and beverage firms, leading to low consumption of local sugarcane.
In the three-year period, domestic sugarcane firms incurred a loss of an estimated VND527 billion, according to the document.
VSSA stated that if the Government does not intervene and address these problems, the sugarcane sector will suffer greater losses, which may lead to the closure of small factories.
VSSA has thus proposed the Government adjust preferential tax policies for sugarcane and HFCS products, suggesting a probe should be launched into HFCS imports and a self-defense measure should be applied against the sweetener.
Trung Luong-My Thuan expressway project faces termination
HCMC-Trung Luong Expressway. This expressway and Trung Luong-My Thuan Expressway are two sections of the HCMC-Can Tho Expressway
A month after signing a credit agreement worth over VND8.1 trillion (US$348.9 million) with four banks, the investor of the Trung Luong-My Thuan expressway project is likely to terminate the project due to the high lending interest rate, reported the Government news website.
Trung Luong-My Thuan Expressway is one of the country’s key traffic projects, having been included in a master plan for developing Vietnam’s expressway system until 2020 approved by the Prime Minister. BOT Trung Luong-My Thuan JSC, on June 15, signed a credit agreement with Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank), Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), Vietnam Prosperity Commercial Bank (VPBank) and Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank).
However, on July 25, the investor wrote to the competent agencies seeking help due to its inability to recover its investment capital.
Phan Anh Dung, director of BOT Trung Luong-My Thuan JSC, noted that the four banks had demanded an annual interest rate of 10.83% for loans for the project, well above the 6.75% rate set by the Ministry of Transport.
Due to the high interest rate, the company faces difficulty repaying the loans and may suffer losses of up to VND3.6 trillion over the project’s life span, Dung added.
While waiting for the competent agencies to make their official decision, the investor will continue executing the project using its equity of more than VND1.5 trillion. However, if the interest rate remains unchanged, the project cannot be completed by 2020 as the investor will have to suspend work on the project to avoid heavy losses.
On August 8, the Ministry of Transport wrote to the relevant agencies, confirming that the annual lending rate in the credit agreement was 6.83% plus the 4% margin. The reference interest rates last month of VietinBank, BIDV, VPBank and Agribank were 6.8%, 6.9%, 6.9% and 6.7%, respectively.
As for public-private partnership (PPP) projects, the high lending rates will place pressure on investors to mobilize capital for these projects, posing high risks for both lenders and borrowers and reducing the attraction of the PPP investment model in Vietnam, noted Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat.
Deputy Minister Nhat pointed out it is crucial to remove obstacles to capital disbursement for the project involving the development of sections of the Eastern North-South Expressway in the 2017-2020 period.
The Ministry of Transport proposed the Ministry of Finance issue a circular guiding the execution of the Government’s Decree 63/2018/ND-CP on the PPP investment format, in replacement of Decree 55/2016/TT-BTC on the financial management of PPP investment projects.
The lending interest rates for commercial loans at four large commercial banks that do not exceed the interest rate for deposits of more than 36 months plus the 4.5% margin are the basis for the calculation of the lending interest rate for PPP projects.
Regarding the Trung Luong-My Thuan expressway project, the Ministry of Transport asked the competent agencies to regulate the lending interest rate to ensure the progress of the project.
In case of changes to regulations on lending interest rates, the ministry will propose the Prime Minister allow the signing of an additional appendix for the credit agreement as a basis for disbursing the capital for the unfinished items.
The Government had earlier issued Resolution 20/NQ-CP on the development of sections of the Eastern North-South expressway project in the 2017-2020 period. The Ministry of Transport has also completed the feasibility study and has sought the Prime Minister’s permission to use State capital for the project.
Up to 530 kilometers of the 654-kilometer expressway will be constructed under the build-operate-transfer format with an estimated investment of VND95.6 trillion, including nearly VND37.2 trillion sourced from the State budget and VND58.4 trillion from private sources.
VAMC to auction assets of Thuan Thao Nam Saigon
Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC) and Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) has announced plans to put up for auction the assets of Thuan Thao Nam Saigon JSC and 95 individual clients with a total debt value of roughly VND2.4 trillion, or over US$103 million.
As of late June this year, 92 individual clients owed VAMC more than VND1.9 trillion, including over VND939 billion in principal and some VND966 billion in interest on loans.
Meanwhile, Thuan Thao Nam Saigon JSC and three individual clients accumulated a combined debt of more than VND473 billion – VND269 billion in principal and some VND204 billion in interest – at the Phu Tai branch of BIDV in the south-central coastal province of Binh Dinh, also as of this June.
The starting price of these debt items at VAMC and BIDV has been pegged at VND1,208 billion instead of the previous VND845 billion. The key reason for the change is that the BIDV has reassessed the asset value of Thuan Thao Nam Saigon.
The auction results will be published this Friday, August 28.
Thuan Thao Nam Saigon’s auctioned assets include a 275-square-meter plot of land and its landed assets on Bui Thi Xuan Street in HCMC’s District 1, where the headquarters of the company is situated, as well as two other land plots covering over 22 hectares and their landed assets in the outlying district of Binh Chanh.
Notably, as many as 5.2 million GTT shares of Thuan Thao Corporation, which are owned by Board Chairwoman Vo Thi Thanh, are set to be put up for auction. To date, each GTT share is priced at a mere VND300.
Thuan Thao Nam Saigon, a subsidiary of Thuan Thao Corporation, was founded in 2014 by Thanh. She was once a well-known entrepreneur in the passenger and cargo transport sector in the south-central coastal province of Phu Yen before incurring hefty losses on her heavy investments in the real estate sector.
Sharp rise in exports of industrial products to UK
Exports of industrial products to the UK continued their strong upward trend over the first seven months of this year, with a more than four-fold increase in exports of electrical wires and cables compared to the same period last year.
According to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs, US$3.1 billion worth of products were exported to the UK in the first 7 months of 2018, a year-on-year rise of 11.37%.
Among the 28 types of product exported to the UK, the highest values were achieved in telephone and components, garments and footwear. Telephones topped the list of export products at US$1.2 billion, up 21.79%, followed by garments with US$428.9 million, up 5.87%, and footwear with US$375.3 million, down 4.85%.
The strongest growth was in electric wires and cables, increasing more than 4-fold to US$3.9 million.
Contrary to the high export values and strong growth of industrial products, exports of agricultural products were low in both volume and value. Typically, exports of pepper dropped by 35.87% in value although its volume rose by 5.9% with an average export price of US$4,372.63 per ton.
Bao Viet Insurance & Bangkok Insurance strike deal
The Bao Viet Insurance Corporation and the Bangkok Insurance Company signed a cooperation agreement in Thailand on August 16 over providing insurance services for Bao Viet Insurance’s customers investing in Vietnam’s neighbor.
Bangkok Insurance will also cooperate with Bao Viet Insurance in providing insurance services for Thai investors in Vietnam.
The cooperation is expected to promote the development of the insurance business between Thailand and Vietnam.
Bangkok Insurance is one of the leading non-life insurance companies in Thailand, established in 1947 by its largest shareholder, Bangkok Bank. Total revenue in 2017 was more than $480 million and it is ranked A- by S&P and A- by AM Best.
During its 70 years of operation, Bangkok Insurance has secured many prestigious domestic and international awards. It leads the way in the application of technology in management and operations and is introducing new services such as web security gateways, tele claims, and the BKI iCare app for smartphones.
Bao Viet Insurance is recognized by many reputable international and local organizations as the best non-life insurer in Vietnam, possessing the broadest and most extensive network in the market. Unceasingly innovating to reach international standards, it has experienced over 50 years of strong development, affirming its position as a leading insurance company offering premium insurance products and benefits.
Moreover, it is also a pioneer in applying information technology and new technology solutions from Industry 4.0 not only in sales, professional management, compensation management, and customer data control but also in interacting with customers to bring the greatest convenience.
In the first half of this year, it recorded total revenue of more than VND4.5 trillion ($193.8 million); nearly doubling its market share in Vietnam to 21.2 per cent.
Vntrip.vn secures funding from Swiss investor
Vietnamese online travel booking service provider Vntrip.vn has completed fund raising of $45 million from Swiss investor IHAG Holding.
The fund raising is the next step following the Series B fund raising from Hendale Capital a year ago and promises to create breakthrough growth for Vntrip.vn in 2018.
Mr. Le Dac Lam, Co-founder and CEO of Vntrip.vn, said it is happy to be working with IHAG as their experience and support will help it confidently implement its plans. “With strategic cooperation from an experienced foreign investor and our own financial resources, we will continue to focus on developing better pricing policies for our customers, ensuring the price of hotel bookings and airfares on Vntrip.vn will always be the cheapest,” he said.
Mr. Armin Meier, a member of the Board of Directors at IHAG, said that this round of fund raising will help boost Vntrip.vn’s strengths and create a strong position to push into other fields such as selling air tickets online, which is a necessity in becoming the largest tourism company in Vietnam. “After studying the market, the operations of the company and the management team, we believe that Vntrip.vn has an effective and impressive business model,” he added.
IHAG is a global Swiss investment group with a long history of supporting companies in many different fields in many countries. With an orientation towards “Investing in the Future”, it maintains a deep and open vision.
Vntrip.vn completed Series A fund raising of $3 million from the FengHe Group and Hancock Revocable Trust and also announced in 2017 it had raised up to $10 million in capital from Hendale Capital.
It has the advantages many local OTAs hold in winning in the domestic market: superior customer service through 24/7 call centers, unique services such as free airport transfers, creative marketing programs, and strong local relationships.
In 2017 it spread its brand image on billboards from the check-in lobby to taxi ranks at major international airports, including Noi Bai in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City. Images of Vntrip.vn also appear on office and residential buildings around the country and at large shopping centers in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, and Da Nang.
Moody’s upgrades HDBank ratings
Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded ratings for Ho Chi Minh City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank among other banks in Viet Nam.
The lender’s long-term counterparty risk ratings (CRR) and counterparty risk assessments (CRAs) have gone up one level to B1.
CRR rate the ability of entities to honour the uncollateralised portion of non-debt counterparty financial liabilities (CRR liabilities) and reflect the expected financial losses in the event such liabilities are not honoured.
At the end of the first half, HDBank had assets of over VND191.29 trillion (US$8.4 billion), up 12.8 per cent over the same period last year.
Total outstanding loans were VND125.13 trillion, up 14 per cent from the end of last year and 21.4 per cent up from a year earlier.
Its capital adequacy ratio (CAR) was 13.6 per cent, significantly higher than the 9 per cent stipulated by the State Bank of Viet Nam and among the highest of any bank.
Its non-performing loans rate was 0.9 per cent.
OCB succeeds in share issue to raise capital
Orient Commercial Bank (OCB) has successfully issued shares worth more than VND900 billion (US$38.29 million) to increase charter capital.
According to the bank, 90.01 per cent of its existing shareholders bought 90.38 million shares at price of VND10,000 apiece among 100.4 million offered shares, equal to 20.5 per cent of the bank’s charter capital.
OCB said that the additional capital was to increase the bank’s financial status and meet the capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of Basel II standards.
In addition, OCB issued 69.55 million shares to pay dividends in 2018, equal to 14.2 per cent of the bank’s charter capital.
After the two issues of nearly 160 million shares, OCB’s charter capital increased from VND5 trillion to nearly VND6.6 trillion.
The State Bank of Viet Nam has recently given approval for OCB to open five new branches and two new transaction offices, raising its network to 39 branches and 88 transaction offices nationwide.
OCB reported that its total assets by the end of June rose 7.7 per cent against early this year to VND90.83 trillion. The bank’s pre-tax profit in the first half of this year surged sharply by 2.6 times year-on-year to more than VND1.3 trillion, helping the bank meet 65 per cent of its annual profit target.
OCB plans to list on the HCM Stock Exchange in the second half of this year. After the listing, OCB’s market capitalisation is expected to reach $1 billion, according to OCB chairman Trinh Van Tuan.
Agriculture restructuring help optimise strength of sectors, localities
After five years of restructuring, the agricultural sector has recorded numerous achievements in improving its production structure and effectiveness, while the strength of each locality has been optimised and many major agricultural products improved their competitiveness in the market.
The structure of agricultural products for export has changed in the direction of increasing the ratio of advantageous products such as aquatic products, vegetable, fruits, wood and forestry products, and decreasing those with rising supply sources, including rice.
So far, localities, especially those in climate change-affected regions, have replaced 627,700 hectares of ineffective rice cultivation with aquatic, fruit tree and crop farms with higher economic value.
Many localities have developed massive fields for the cultivation of rice, vegetable and flower in line with value chain, along with concentrated industrial and fruit tree regions.
Alongside, plant varieties and cultivation techniques have been improved to enhance the quality and added value of the products, therefore the productivity and quality of major products, including rice, dragon fruit, lychee, longan, grapefruit and tea, have increased.
In the breeding sector, the number of large farms has risen from 8,796 in 2013 to 15,096 in 2017, with strong growth of high technology industrial breeding with closed production-selling process, meeting domestic demand and export.
In the forestry area, an average of 23,000 hectares of forest, 90 percent of which being production one, have been planted every year. The ratio of controlled and origin certified varieties have reached 85 percent, up 13 percent compared to that in 2013.
Wood production from planted forests more than doubled to 18 million cubic metres in 2017 from 8 million cubic metres in 2013, meeting about 80 percent of the demand for material wood. Profit of forest farmers has risen 25-30 percent.
In the aquatic sector, localities have expanded concentrated shrimp and fish farming using high and environmental-friendly technologies, with focus on shrimp and tra fish. Fisheries logistics services have been re-organised, while the model of production in chains, and production team and groups have shown their efficiency.
Thanks to strong restructuring, agricultural sector’s market has been expanded to 180 countries and territories. In the first seven months of 2018, the export revenue of the sector reached 22.2 billion USD, a rise of 7.8 percent year on year.
According to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong, in the 2017-2020 period, the planning, strategy and advantages of each sector and locality have been reviewed and classified into three levels: national (including products with export value from 1 billion USD, pork and cattle meat), provincial and local, in association with the building of new-style rural area in the model of “One Commune – One Product”.
He said that agricultural products will be adjusted in accordance with the market demand and climate change adaptation, adding that green and organic agriculture will be encouraged.
Nguyen Ngoc Oai, Acting Director of the Vietnam Directorate of Fisheries, with the target of added value rise of at least 5 percent per year, the fishery sector will encourage the upgrading of processing factories to optimise productivity and reduce cost.
The sector will strengthen the processing of products with high added value such as shrimp, tuna, tra fish, seaweed, mollusk, and by-products, while applying advanced technology in processing and storing.
At the same time, Nguyen Quoc Tri, head of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, said that in order to fulfil the target of 42 percent in forest coverage in 2020, the sector will concentrate on sustainable and effective management and exploiting of natural forests in association with protection of forest and biodiversity.
Meanwhile, the model of agri-silviculture, or the combination of growing of agricultural crops with simultaneously raised and protected forest crops, will be applied, along with the development of herbal plants, the utilization of forestry products besides wood and eco-tourism, he added.
Tri added that concentrated material regions for wood processing and paper production will be developed, while forestry production will be implemented in value chains.
Tuna exports likely to hit 500 million USD in 2018
Vietnam’s tuna export revenue is likely to reach the target of 500 million USD in 2018 as the figure already hit 351 million USD in the first seven months of this year, while growth has been seen in the majority of markets.
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), in July, earnings from tuna export were estimated at 48.4 million USD. The major eight Vietnamese tuna importers were the US, the EU, Israel, ASEAN, Japan, Canada, Mexico and China.
VASEP General Secretary Truong Dinh Hoe said that September is normally the peak season of tuna selling when importers often strengthen tuna buying, therefore, the goal of 500 million USD of exports for the whole year is feasible.
Hoe said that among the top three markets of Vietnamese tuna, decrease was only seen in the US. Specifically, Vietnam shipped 116.3 million USD worth of tuna to the US in the first seven months of 2018, down 8.9 percent year on year. Meanwhile, a rise of 23.7 percent was seen in the EU market to 82.71 million USD, and a surge of 55.7 percent in the Israeli market to 42.35 million USD, boosted by the shipment of canned tuna which almost doubled to 29 million USD in the first half of the year.
Commenting on the Japanese market, Hoe said that Japan had dropped to the fifth position from one of the top two importers of Vietnamese tuna, explaining that Japan’s demand might decrease or it has found another source of supply at more reasonable prices. Vietnam had only 3 percent of the market share in Japan, while that of Thailand is 58 percent, Indonesia, 19 percent, and the Philippines, 17 percent.
However, Vietnam’s tuna exports to Japan have still increased through months, he said. In the first seven months of 2018, Japan spent 15.87 million USD on Vietnamese tuna, up 25 percent year on year.
At the same time, tuna import of the US rose continuously in the first six months of 2018, with upturn seen in imports of canned processed tuna, and frozen tuna fillets.
Statistics from the US side showed that the country spent 902 million USD on tuna products worth in the first half of 2018, up 17 percent compared to the same period in 2017.
The top five tuna suppliers of the US, counting by volume, were Thailand, China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Ecuador.
Notably, China and Vietnam have changed place to take the lead in supplying tuna to the US. Accounting for 70 percent of total canned tuna import of the US, China has become the second largest supplier of the US, making it a weighty competitor of Thailand and Vietnam.
Due to the escalating US-China trade war, in this September, the import tax rate for fresh and frozen tuna of China in the US will increase sharply, creating favourable conditions for other countries to increase their tuna export to the market. But the chance has yet to be clear for export of canned products.
Hoe asserted that higher demand of tuna in festive season at the end of the year will push importers’ buying. However, he was worried of the stability of supply capacity of Vietnam’s tuna sector, as along with domestically caught tuna, the country has still had to import the product as material for export.
Specific policies, competition mechanisms needed to connect intellectuals
Central Highlands province promotes sustainable agricultural production
In response to climate change’s impacts on agriculture, Mang Yang district in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai is focusing on promoting sustainable agriculture production to increase product value and stabilise farmers’ income.
The district is paying heed to restructuring crops and diversifying crops on a single cultivation area. Up to now, it has swiched nearly 1,000 hectares of inefficient crops into more lucrative fruit trees.
According to Nguyen Thanh Tung, Director of DOVECO Gia Lai Project Management Board under the Dong Giao Foodstuff Export Joint Stock Company, his business’ project has developed nearly 3,000 hectares of crops such as lemon, pineapple, soybean and sweet corn in 14 districts, cities and towns in Gia Lai province.
“We have signed contracts with cooperative groups and cooperatives representing farmers to ensure sufficient materials input for processing lines,” he said.
In addition, with nearly 4,000 hectares of coffee tree, Mang Yang district’s agriculture sector has developed a strategy for sustainable development of this major crop.
The district’s agricultural sector has completed and transferred a model of intercropping coffee with avocado trees on an area of 5 hectares in two communes of Ho Ra and Dac Ta Lay. This model is highly valued by local people.
Huynh Van Trung, a resident in Dak Ta Ley commune, Mang Yang district, owns a 25-year-old coffee garden. He revealed that the Government has sponsored a programme to replant coffee trees and intercropping coffee with avocado trees.
“I removed old, unqualified coffee trees. I also received new coffee and avocado varieties. The plants are developing well andI hope they will have a higher efficiency,”Trung told VNA reporter.
Pham Ngoc Co, head of the Agriculture & Rural Development Department in Mang Yang district, said the locality boasts some key crops such as pepper and coffee trees.
The department is diversifying crops to avoid price and oversupply risks, he said, adding that the district has shifted to growing fruit trees and targets 1,000 ha of fruit trees between now and 2020.
Changing the areas of ineffective crops into the ones of fruit trees, intercropping fruit trees with coffee trees and linking farmers with enterprises are part of the district’s efforts to boost sustainable development, limit risks in the context of integration and fierce competition.
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