Mrs. Phan Thi Yen’s family (in Loc Ninh village, Nam Hung commune, Thai Binh province) received the house. Yen worked in the military from 1972 to 1977, then returned to the locality and lived in a small downgraded house. In addition to that, she often falls ill.
Learning of this situation, the Cua Lan Border Post and the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee of Tien Hai district funded for the construction of a new house for her starting in March of 2021.
The 30sq.m house was built at a cost of VND 45 million, including VND 30 million contributed by the Cua Lan Border Post and the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee of Tien Hai district, and VND 10 million from a venerable monk from the Nam Hung commune Pagoda.
The new house not only helps stabilize her life but also encourages her family to overcome adversity to help the locality accelerate local poverty reduction and socio-economic development.
Translated by Chung An h
To increase the products’ value and boost exports, the city will adopt a number of solutions to facilitate sales of OCOP and craft products.
According to Nguyen Van Chi, head of Hanoi’s Rural Development Division under the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the city has more than 1,300 craft villages, 5,000 agricultural products tagged with QR codes and 1,054 OCOP products.
The products are diverse in design and type and are of good quality. Many of them have been exported to large markets such as the US, Japan, the EU and Russia, namely garment and ceramic products, textile and embroidery and wooden furniture.
“Hanoi has focused on connecting with provinces and cities across the country and building product value chains to promote trade to enhance the products’ value and promote exports,” Chi said.
Nguyen Thi Kim Loan, Vice Chairman of the Thach That District People’s Committee, said the district plans to set up cooperatives to act as focal points for cooperation with firms in the sale of products because domestic and foreign enterprises can’t sign contracts with each household.
In addition, coordination from businesses and distributors was essential to provide information on consumption trends to help locals produce handicraft and OCOP products that meet market demands, she said.
Nguyen Trung Thanh, an artisan from Bat Trang ceramics village in Gia Lam district, said besides quality and design, it was necessary to show the cultural value contained in each product to satisfy the demand of foreign customers.
Tran Thi Phuong Lan, Acting Director of Hanoi’s Department of Industry and Trade, said together with craft and OCOP product development, the city focused on trade promotion activities.
Last year, Hanoi held four events to promote the trade of OCOP products associated with the culture of regions across the country. The events attracted large numbers of foreigners who live and work in Hanoi.
In the future, the department would continue to support businesses, co-operatives and households to promote products consumption through fairs, conferences and trade connection activities, Lan said.
She also said on April 28, the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade in collaboration with the Department of E-Commerce and Digital Economy under the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Amazon Global Selling held a seminar on exporting Vietnamese goods to the world with Amazon.
Facilitating Vietnam’s development of cross-border e-commerce were among issues discussed at the seminar.
“Given the complex development of the COVID-19 pandemic, cross-border commerce is becoming an indispensable tool for enterprises to expand their business and export handicraft and OCOP products,” Lan said.
Deputy Director of the Hanoi Investment, Trade and Tourism Promotion Centre Nguyen Thi Mai Anh, said this year the centre would work with five districts in the city to train producers about trade promotion for OCOP products, equipping them with more skills in marketing and selling products at home and abroad.
Nguyen Ngoc Son, Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the city recently issued a plan on rural development in 2021.
Under the plan, the city would assist 10 craft villages in building and registering collective trademarks and provide financial support for 5-10 rural development projects.
Special attention would be paid to strengthening links for product consumption, he said.
Hanoi aims to evaluate and classify at least 2,000 OCOP products by 2025. To obtain the goal, the city needs to boost information dissemination and urge broader participation.
In accordance with Plan No 42 on the development of OCOP showrooms associated with craft village tourism in Hanoi this year, the city will set up 30-40 new showrooms displaying and selling OCOP products. Each district and town will have at least two OCOP showrooms.
The municipal People’s Committee will ask agencies and localities to inspect and supervise the operation of OCOP showrooms and organise promotional programs to enhance the consumption of quality products, including those from cities and provinces nationwide.
The city so far has 630 OCOP products with a three-star rating and above, exceeding the target of having at least 500 OCOP products./.
The change of senior personnel of AEON Vietnam this time is part of AEON Group’s Organization Reform Strategy in the fiscal year 2021. Specifically, the group will significantly improve its competitiveness and profitability through three strategies. The first is digital shift, regional shift, and Asia shift. The second is the reformation of its supply chain. The third is the reformation of group management, pursue group synergy, and maximize its corporate value.
Up to now, AEON Group has always appreciated and identified Vietnam as a key market in Asia. Accordingly, AEON will continue to accelerate the opening of RSC (regional shopping center), NSC (neighborhood SC), specialty stores and supermarket to achieve rapid growth. In addition, the group will accelerate the e-commerce segment to meet the increasing need of online consumption trend of customers, especially in the context of Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition, Product research and development (R&D) will also be focused, in order to increase the number of Made-in-Vietnam products, together with imported products only available at AEON to provide our customers with a unique and wide range of products. It is necessary to reform and enhance the supply chain infrastructure as the driven factor of the target achievement.
In parallel, AEON Group will focus on the continuous reformation of group management that facilitates the pursuance of group synergy and maximizes its corporate value.
With above ambitions, AEON Group appointed Furusawa Yasuyuki as the new General Director of AEON Vietnam Co., Ltd. Meanwhile, the predecessor General Director Nishitohge Yasuo returned to Japan for a new assignment in AEON Group.
Furusawa Yasuyuki joined Jusco (now as known as AEON Group) in 1995, having over 26 years of experience in the retail industry in Asia. From 2014-2017, he held the position of the president of Beijing AEON Co., Ltd in China. Before being appointed as General Director of AEON Vietnam Co., Ltd, Furusawa Yasuyuki was the president of My Basket Co., Ltd., a business entity of AEON Group Japan.
My Basket is an urban small supermarket chain brand under AEON Japan, developed in major cities of Japan such as Tokyo and Kanagawa, etc. It mainly sell fresh produce and catering goods for daily use. Under his presidential reign for AEON My Basket, Furusawa Yasuyuki has created the marvelous growth for My Basket through adding 200 more stores only in two years, contributing to its outstanding development to achieve the milestone of 1,000 My Basket stores.
Furusawa Yasuyuki emphasized: “In the coming time, I, together with the entire AEON Vietnam, will continue to make every effort to develop new models of retail business in pursuit of AEON Vietnam’s missions: to enrich Vietnamese people’s lifestyle, to contribute to local community and economic growth of Vietnam.”
Under direct authority of AEON group, AEON Vietnam Co., Ltd. Was officially established in 2011. Currently, AEON Vietnam is operating in five retail business segments in Vietnam, including shopping malls, general merchandise stores and supermarket, specialty store, supermarkets and e-commerce.
Since the opening of the first shopping mall AEON – Tan Phu Celadon in 2014 till June 2021, AEON Vietnam has expanded its business footprints in six provinces and cities nationwide, developed and operated three shopping malls, three general merchandise stores & supermarkets, 29 specialty stores, two supermarkets, AEONEshop e-commerce site; and AEON Regional Distribution Center in Ho Chi Minh City.
Tran Van Trung, Director of Anh Khoa Seafood Company Limited in Ca Mau Province, said that the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic affected shrimp exports, as some countries controlled imports more strictly. Therefore, goods have to wait a whole month for the host country to take samples for quarantine after being brought to the ports, leading to higher costs.
However, thanks to the initiative and good adaptation, from the beginning of this year to now, the company’s shrimp exports have increased significantly compared to the same period last year. It is expected that the company’s exports will be 2-3 times higher than the previous year.
As one of the longtime enterprises in the shrimp industry, which also faced many difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr. Nguyen Minh Tuan, the representative of Minh Cuong Seafood Processing Joint Stock Company, said that shrimp exports of his company grew fairly well in the first months of this year. Currently, the company tries to maintain production and export and implement strict Covid-19 prevention measures, with the determination not to let the disease enter the factory.
According to the Department of Industry and Trade of Ca Mau Province, by the end of May this year, the province’s shrimp exports were estimated at more than US$423 million, achieving 40 percent of this year’s plan, up more than 16 percent year-on-year. In Bac Lieu Province, the total export turnover of shrimp products in the first five months of this year was estimated at $280 million, up more than 9 percent over the same period. In other provinces in the Mekong Delta, shrimp exports also grew positively compared to the same period last year.
Along with exporting, many shrimp farming households in the Mekong Delta continue to expand production and stabilize their lives. Mr. Pham Van Quan, a farmer in My Long Nam Commune in Cau Ngang District of Tra Vinh Province, said that a few months before, the price of black tiger shrimps sized 30 pieces per kilogram was up to VND200,000-VND220,000 per kg, which now has decreased to about VND170,000 per kg, and that of white-leg shrimps sized 30 pieces per kg is at VND130,000-VND140,000 per kg. At this price level, farmers still ensure profits.
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, seafood exports reached roughly $790 million in May this year, up 24 percent. Seafood exports in the first five months of this year hit $3.27 billion, up 14 percent year-on-year. Of which, shrimp exports reached $1.33 billion, up 14 percent year-on-year. This is an impressive result at a time when many other agricultural products are struggling with consumption.
Many potential markets
Mr. Nguyen Quoc Toan, Director of the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that Vietnamese seafood exports are recovering. Specifically, in the first five months of this year, Vietnamese seafood products had been exported to over 120 markets, with the US, Japan, the EU, China, South Korea, the ASEAN, and Australia being the seafood export markets with the highest value.
As for shrimp products, the advantage is that the global import demand is increasing heavily, especially in large markets. Meanwhile, shrimp supply from some countries, such as India, Thailand, and other suppliers, has been reduced due to the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Taking advantage of this, Vietnamese enterprises have accelerated shrimp exports in the first months of this year and got good results.
It is forecasted that in the coming time, the US will continue to be a market with good growth for Vietnam’s shrimp products. Vietnamese enterprises also expect to increase shrimp exports to the EU, mainly white-leg shrimps. As for the South Korean market, there are also good signs of recovery and positive economic growth, so seafood trade with Korean enterprises will be more vibrant in the coming time.
Other markets, such as Australia, Canada, the UK, and Russia, will continue to be new potential markets because demand increases and there are no uncertainties or market barriers.
These are pressures on many shrimp farming households in the Mekong Delta, which require reasonable response solutions to ensure the source of raw shrimp for processing in the near future.
By Huynh Loi, Tan Thai – Translated by Thuy Doan
Despite Vietnam’s closed borders amid the pandemic, traffickers and smugglers have found new ways to transport people not only within the country but also across borders, they added.
Michael Brosowski, co-founder of the Hanoi-based Blue Dragon Foundation, a child rescue organization, said most trafficking cases he has been handling involve girls and women from ethnic minorities.
Clusters of Covid-19 infections have flared in the industrial northern province of Bac Giang.
Brosowski said there have been reports of teenage girls being trafficked into karaoke bars, which are allegedly fronts for brothels.
“The karaoke bars are serving workers in those industrial zones and that’s also where Covid-19 has taken off, so I think there is a link between the two crises and this shows the need for better regulation of major industrial sites like these,” Brosowski told DW .
China and Myanmar trafficking routes
Brosowski said that even though Vietnam’s borders have been shut, trafficking and smuggling still occurs into neighboring China.
In the past year, over 70 people have been rescued by Blue Dragon from within China. The organization marked its 1,000th rescue in January. Chinese and Vietnamese authorities have been cooperating to rescue and return trafficking survivors to their hometowns.
According to local Vietnamese media reports, pregnant women under economic hardship have crossed illegally into China with the help of smuggling networks. Their babies are then sold.
Brosowski said that as China has increased its community surveillance systems in recent years, authorities have found people who were trafficked between 10 and 30 years ago.
“We dealt with a situation recently where someone had been trafficked 20 years ago and who was probably a teenager at the time, and in those cases, that survivor is going to require pretty intensive care for a long time,” said Brosowski, adding that girls and women from Vietnam continue to be trafficked into China as would-be-brides.
According to Brosowski, the military takeover in Myanmar has made the Southeast Asian country a hotspot for traffickers under the presumed lack of law enforcement.
“Traffickers are directly exploiting the chaos of the military takeover, so that is a new development we are dealing with.”
Preventing human trafficking
Diane Truong is the director of communications at Pacific Links Foundation, a counter-trafficking organization that also deals with reintegrating and empowering survivors.
“We are very much centered on women and youth empowerment and we view trafficking as a development issue,” Truong, who is based in California, told DW .
Truong said Vietnam’s most vulnerable communities are vital to preventing trafficking. The foundation provides online English lessons, summer camps and scholarships for disadvantaged youth from poor communities.
“We conduct training with schools, factory workers and their managers, and we also have an app that we have launched specifically focused on migrant workers which helps them to make better life decisions,” said Truong.
Europe’s Vietnamese smuggling networks
Truong said the foundation is also dealing with Vietnamese being trafficked or smuggled throughout Europe.
The German capital Berlin has been an important center for the human trafficking and smuggling network.
In March last year, German police carried out a series of raids across the country in a crackdown against a gang of suspected Vietnamese smugglers.
During the crackdown, police issued 13 arrest warrants and took six suspects into custody. They are wanted on charges relating to the smuggling of at least 155 Vietnamese people to Germany dating back to 2018.
The people were flown first from Vietnam to Eastern Europe. From there they were transported via different routes to Berlin as well as across Germany and to other countries, including France, Belgium and the U.K.
The people smugglers are thought to have received between $5,000 and $20,000 for each smuggling operation. The smugglers kept people in a network of safe houses until they had paid the price for the flight and visa.
“Of course, the other thing that we’ve been working on is our capacity building training in Europe, so doing training for frontline responders, including law enforcement and social workers, and collaborating in supporting potential victims,” Truong said.