Vietnamese rice known around the world
Updated: 7/28/2015 10:44:31 AM GMT + 7
How can rice farmers be less disadvantaged? This question still has no satisfactory answer – Photo: Tuoi Tre
How can rice farmers be less disadvantaged? This question still has no satisfactory answer – Photo: Tuoi Tre
Vietnam will have a strong and stable force of businesses, who will top the Asia in food exporting.

Even though I was born and grew up in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, I was fortunately enough to be able to study in the UK.

I still remember very clearly that, when taking me to the airport, my father told me: "Dad and mom will try to work hard for you to pursue education and we only hope you can become a talented and kind person who will return to contribute to the country, where most people are still poor.”

I am now a British resident with a stable job outside my home country. But never will I forget the hope of my parents, which is also mine.

I set up a company that imports Vietnamese goods to the UK. My first imported product is the Hoa Sua organic rice, and I am seeking markets for the dried dragon fruit.

The purpose of business of my company is clear: carefully selecting the high quality, healthy Vietnamese products to ship to the UK under one single brand. The company will contribute its profit into the development of clean technology and science, and help generate jobs for localities, and contribute to the social development.

After days and months of studying the market, by attending food fairs and exhibitions and giving product samples to UK consumers, I realized that the potential for Vietnamese products in the UK is very big. The reason is the selected products are delicious, new to consumers, and healthy. Vietnamese cuisine is becoming more and more popular as the number of British and European holidaymakers visiting Vietnam is increasing day by day.

Moreover, the British consumers are very concerned about the origin, history and culture of the products. I was surprised when many British said they are happy to know that Vietnam can produce organic rice without using fertilizer and pesticide, and harming the environment.

In the short term, I hope to receive support from the government to build up a brand for high-quality Vietnamese rice in the UK in the next five years. From this point, there will be a Vietnamese brand in the Europe in the next ten years.

So what is my expectation for Vietnam in the 20 years to come?

Vietnam will have a strong and stable force of businesses, who will top the Asia in food exporting.

My suggestions

For the businesses’ part, many Vietnamese firms now only care about ‘quantity’, and ignore the ‘quality’ matter.

If cheap rice that fetches US$395 a ton is said to find no buyers, so why Myanmar is able to ship hundreds of tons of rice to the Europe?

It is because the Europe is in need of good and clean rice, despite a high price of nearly $1,000 a ton.

Business owners should try all ways possible to effectively increase the value-added of their products, strictly control the production phases to increase the production value, increase income for farmers, and gradually affirm the positions of Vietnamese goods in the global market.

As for the business associations and businesspeople societies, they are said by researches as being weak in cooperation and sharing economic and technical experiences. Many are afraid of losing their technology when sharing with others.

But few realizes that at these times of tough economic times, where competitions are fierce, one will come to bankruptcy sooner or later, if their company is not strong enough; and the technology one think only they know is in fact available in all of the developed countries.

The saying that goes, "A tree cannot make a forest,” is totally true, particular for businesspeople. No one can achieve success alone, and what matters is how they choose partner to grow together.

Therefore, associations should frequently gather recommendations by firms in terms of laws, mechanisms and policies, and encourage cooperation between their members to transfer technology, share production experience, and promote trade and advanced business culture.

As for universities, those such as Nong Lam University and the University of Technology, with their talented lecturers and students, can take their part by doing research, updating and enhancing production technology, finding new breeds, or packaging and marketing.

A UK survey finds that 56 percent of local businesses fail because of their weak managers. It is thus very important to train a force of active entrepreneurs with good ethics, and good professional and management skills, especially at the start-up stage.

The Foreign Trade University can cooperate with the business association to set up a complete entrepreneur training curriculum. In order to integrate with the global economy, entrepreneurs must be global citizens, represent for their nations and set example for younger generations. Those with unstable, exploitive and dishonest business must be eliminated.

As for the government, businesses are not unfamiliar with lack of capital. The government has enacted many measures to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) with a VND17 trillion credit package in 2009, but it is still unclear how the aid has affected the businesses in general and the SMEs.

To me, the credit lending can be simplified and made more transparent. For instance, the government can set up three units in charge of providing loans. One is solely in charge of start-up firms, the second for those businesses who need more capital to expand production, and the last to help SMEs who need money for exports.

The government should also provide capital supports for businesses to attend international fairs and exhibitions to promote their products, as well as learning business experience of other countries.

After five years, the government can review and evaluate how many loan recipients gain success, and how many jobs these firms generate as well as the taxes they contribute to the state budget.

In 2012, I was studying the taxes to export rice to the UK when I discovered that Thai, Indian and Pakistani rice are exempt from duties when shipped to the UK, but Vietnamese rice is not.

I then wrote a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron and the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, calling for an explanation as to why Vietnamese rice is subject to high duty, and called for help from the government. Even though the letter was warmly replied, my requests were not met.

I really hope the Vietnamese government and diplomats, those who hold the decisive right to the nation’s economy and development, will always try to reach bilateral treaties to promote exports of our staples through the free trade agreements.

"Vietnam has not only a hardworking, ingenious workforce, or an active and creative entrepreneur force, but also a strong and rich potential in natural resources” – this is a common evaluation of most leading experts in and outside Vietnam.

I believe when the potential for economic growth in each citizen is provoked, and supported by the government, my expectation will be realized.

PHAM THI BIEN THUY (31, United Kingdom)

Source: Tuoi Tre Newspaper

Send comments
Note: You must fill in all fields marked with *
 Name *
 Content *
  Security Code
  Enter security Code *
Other News
Experts More...
Videos - Podcasts
Wait for downloading or browser does not support


Address: 65 Van Mieu, Dong Da, Ha Noi
Phone: (+84)-4-38462125 - Fax: (+84)-4-38452209 - Email: vietnam2035@mpi.gov.vn