Last updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Japanese Investors Eye Vietnam AgriculturePosted: Thursday, February 23, 2017
The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) hosted an agribusiness matching conference for Vietnamese and Japanese companies. According to JETRO experts, Vietnam has the potential to develop high-quality agriculture. Meanwhile, Japanese agribusinesses see Vietnam as an important destination.
At the meeting, 20 Japanese companies and 80 Vietnamese companies, mainly small and medium-sized, engaged in agriculture introduced their products and business opportunities. Notably, Japanese firms brought typical products like dried fruits, dried vegetables, noodles and black garlic.
Mr Hiroshi Chishima, Vice Chief Representative of JETRO in Vietnam, said that before the conference, the Japanese business delegation had made a fact-finding trip to Lam Dong province and a hi-tech agricultural zone in Vinh Phuc province. According to Japanese companies, Vietnam has great potential for agricultural development, but the local agricultural sector consists of mainly small scale and household businesses, thus being unable to shape supply chains. Most products are not processed due to lack of high-tech investment, resulting in low added value. He suggested that Japanese enterprises step up cooperation with Vietnam in the agricultural sector in the coming time based on technology transfer in an effort to improve farming methods and increase the quality of products.
Mr Nguyen Danh Nhan, President of the Board of Directors of Central Agricultural Joint Stock Company, which has a long experience working with Japanese companies, said, “We are very keen on high-tech agricultural products like black garlic and dried vegetables. In particular, Japanese firms introduce advanced modern drying technologies which can be used in processing high-quality vermicelli or vegetables used in noodle production.”
Expressing certain difficulties in agricultural cooperation between Vietnamese and Japanese companies, Mr Hiroshi Chishima said that foreign investment in Vietnam is still facing numerous challenges in terms of land access and site clearance procedures. Thus, to attract more agricultural investors, Vietnam needs to settle land issues and shorten the time required for handling administrative procedures.
Mr Bui Thanh Minh, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the number of Vietnamese business attendants to this conference increased five times from the previous gathering, showing that Vietnamese companies are very much interested in Japanese agribusinesses. And, as known, agriculture is one of the key economic sectors of Vietnam. Agricultural exports were valued at US$32 billion in 2016, with seafood, rice, coffee, rubber, pepper and wooden furniture earning over US$1 billion each.
For that reason, Vietnam has introduced policies to encourage State and private companies to boost the sector’s development. To date, Japan has invested US$230 million in 35 agricultural projects in Vietnam. Most of the projects were located in Lam Dong province, mainly engaged in farm produce and rice. Besides, in order to create the legal framework for investment attraction, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam has cooperated with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan to shape medium and long-term policies for the 2015-2019 period to enhance mutual exchange and cooperation. The Vietnamese side also set up a working group led by a deputy minister to work with JETRO agricultural specialists to provide best support for Japanese firms when they want to explore business opportunities in Vietnam.