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Feb 17, 2022 / 11:21

Bringing farm produce abroad: Role of overseas Vietnamese is significant

Vietnam’s agricultural products are expected to succeed in choosy markets one day with combined efforts of overseas Vietnamese.

“I always think about the current status of Vietnamese agricultural products in the international market, unlike Japanese, South Korean, and Israeli items, which are holding sway on supermarket shelves around the world.”

 Vietnam’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Le Minh Hoan at the meeting on Feb 14. Photo: Ngo Huan/Bien Phong

Vietnam’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Le Minh Hoan shared that thought in hope that overseas Vietnamese would promote the availability of Vietnamese farm produce abroad.

He believed that overseas Vietnamese are experts about the places they are living in, and they would help “sell what local consumers need” in such markets. 

For that reason, overseas Vietnamese are ambassadors who could promote trade of made-in-Vietnam farm produce.

At the hybrid forum held on Feb 14, leaders of the MARD and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed their hope that more Vietnamese agricultural products would be sold to shops, restaurants, supermarkets, and trade centers abroad run or contributed by Vietnamese people: Incentra in Moscow, Dong Xuan in Berlin, Sapa in Czech, ASEAN Garden Mall in the US, Thanh Binh Jeune in France, Ben Thanh Market in Australia, among others.

Addressing the event, MARD’s Deputy Minister Tran Thanh Nam said “We hope that overseas Vietnamese will continue promoting Vietnamese agricultural products in the global value chain, particularly OCOP (one commune one product) products as they are of high quality and imbued with the cultural identity of rural areas in Vietnam.”

Pham Quang Hieu, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chairman of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, said “Although the overseas distribution network remains modest, it helps bring local products to many countries and territories, contributing to boosting sales of Vietnamese products.”

The role of overseas Vietnamese is not only obvious in promoting shipping abroad but also developing high-quality products. Indeed, many overseas Vietnamese have returned home to invest in high-tech products, creating more jobs for locals and contributing to the conservation of precious agricultural products and high-yielding varieties.

Vietnam’s agro-forest-fisheries exports rose to US$48.6 billion in 2021 from $4.2 billion in 2000. So far, the products have been available in 180 countries and territories.

 The meeting was held online and offline. Photo: Baoquocte 


Sharing at the forum, MARD Minister Le Minh Hoan said Vietnam needs to do something new and in a more drastic way by combining the change at home with the aspirations of overseas Vietnamese.

To help bring Vietnamese agricultural products to every corner of the world, overseas participants suggested different measures, including the strong connection between local farmers/authorities and overseas businessmen, understanding of foreign markets (law, taste, and culture), holding trade promotion abroad, and using good local materials.

Hoang Manh Hue, Chairman of the Union of Vietnam Business Associations in Europe, stressed the importance of connecting companies and associations at home and abroad to timely exchange information of policy and demand of the foreign markets. The current system of trade centers in Europe, including many owned by Vietnamese, would really help as made-in-Vietnam products account for only 10-15% there.

Hue highlighted the role of information exchange, suggesting that authorized agencies should set up a data center where both local and overseas businesses can access to update the information of both import and export markets.

Noting that the European market is potential for Vietnamese items, Hue said the exporters need to understand the culture, customs, and taste of the destination markets.

Meanwhile, Head of the Vietnam Business Association in Sweden Diep Van Ty paid attention to the quality of instant noodle which is available in Northern Europe. 

With some 220,000 Vietnamese consumers, Germany is a large market for products from Vietnam and Vietnamese exporters should take advantage of the community, according to Vo Van Long, head of the Vietnam Business Association in Germany.

He said it’s an opportunity for Vietnamese goods to enter Germany as prices of all agricultural products rose by at least 30% in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Vietnamese companies that want to export to Germany in the shortest time and the most economical way must cooperate with the Vietnam Business Association in Germany as those in Germany work as the delivery points to that market.

Nguyen Ngoc Luan, CEO of Meet More Coffee, emphasized the role of trade promotion by setting up showrooms abroad and having connections with student associations and the Vietnamese community in the destination markets.

Among the markets, the US is believed to be of high potential for Vietnamese goods thanks to high demand and diversified taste, according to Jolie Nguyen, CEO of LNS US LLC. She reminded local exporters of understanding federal and state laws before entering the market. “The fact that China is gradually being excluded from the US market is a great opportunity for Vietnam because of strong purchasing power, high prices, diverse consumption habits, and favorable policies,” she noted.

Minister Le Minh Hoan affirmed that nobody else is better than overseas Vietnamese from all over the world who have a thorough understanding of culture, customs, needs, requirements, and standards of the host countries, and they are those who promote the availability of Vietnamese goods abroad.

 Vietnam's agricultural products available in 180 countries. Photo: VNA
According to the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, there are more than five million overseas Vietnamese living and working in 190 countries and territories. So far, overseas Vietnamese have invested in about 3,500 projects and enterprises at home, pouring approximately US$11 billion, including in the agricultural sector.