Japfa & BioSpring participate in NDH Talk “The way to market for Clean Agricultural Products”


(NDH) The speakers coming from manufacturing enterprises, distributors, animal feed firms, and FAO organizations will exhibit a comprehensive picture of the market for safe food and all other agricultural products.

This afternoon, NDH organized a NDH Talk Seminar “The way to market for Clean Agricultural Products”, in which speakers representing enterprises, distributors, and the Ministry of Agriculture will give their perspectives on the market of clean agricultural products nowadays. The seminar was chaired by Mr. Hung Duy Nguyen – Chairman of Saigon Securites JSC, and also Chairman of PAN Group.

The seminar was broadcast live on NDH Facebook.

The speakers of today seminar include:

· Mr. Son Kim Dang, former Director of Strategic Policy Institute, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

· Mr. Dang Kim Pham, Institute of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

· Ms. Ngan Giang Vo, Executive of the National Program for Food Safety, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

· Mr. Khai Van Nguyen, Board Member of Ben Tre Seafood Enterprise.

· Mr. Sanjeev Kumar, CEO of Japfa Comfeed Co. in the North.

· Mr. Viet Minh Huynh, CEO of BioSpring – an enterprise providing probiotics in live heat-resistant spores and animal nutrition products.

· Mrs. Hau Thi Vu, Deputy General Director of Nhat Nam JSC (owner of Fivimart supermarket).

· Mr. Minh Viet Duong, Founder and CEO of Hellomam JSC.

To start the seminar, Mr. Hung Duy Nguyen asked a few questions to the speakers – the stories of food safety have been discussed for a long time, yet the question is still how to resolve this problem.

Ms. Ngan Giang Vo – Executive of the National Program of Food Safety, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) noted during the visits to Vietnamese manufacturing enterprises that the enterprises increasingly paid more attention to the issues of food safety, definitely satisfy the growing concerns of the people, and for a better life. It is the brand and the reputation of the enterprises that play an important role in their relatively sustainable development. However, challenges are still there. Most foods in Vietnam are manufactured through numerous different stages, and these enterprises are only responsible for a certain stage of the manufacturing process, thus to ensure the quality of the whole manufacturing chain is not a simple task. This requires establishing important retrieval phases. And internal control process must further ensure the quality of manufactured food.

Mr. Son Kim Dang, Former Director of Strategic Policy Institute, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) had shared with us that we currently are mostly small enterprises operating in the field, with not much of a spirit of cooperation, and the relationship with consumers is still relatively short-term. The consumers worry that food from farm to fork must undergo numerous stages, which is difficult to control. Under the new law/regulations, the MARD is responsible for handling the issues of food safety. However, today’s story is handled by multiple departments using their budget within their area of management. All departments desire to expand their control yet only take responsibility for a small extent, causing the emergence of numerous sub-licenses, rendering it very difficult for businesses. The government cannot fully control all of its departments and furthermore farmers; no governments can control the current modern social market.

Mr. Hung Duy Nguyen: The application for the licenses being issued online and the correct examination of the screening workforce on these licenses could establish some improvements regarding this matter.

Mr. Khai Van Nguyen, Board Member of Ben Tre Seafood Enterprise: For ABT, a private and closed aquaculture business and an organization for fish farming and fish harvesting for subsequent production, this does not appear to be an easy task; for example, the Japanese market requires fish only weigh around 700 gr, if the fish weighed more than 700 gr, the consumers  would not purchase them; on the other hand, if the fish weighed less than 700 gr, the business must undergo losses thus would not harvest; how to reach the correct weight is definitely not simple. The Japanese examination is based on very high standards; for instance, they require strict individual assessment on how the fish being harvested and killed without suffering from any source of pain.

Rising consumer awareness will put more pressure on the manufacturers. We have manufactured products that are currently being approved by the Japanese consumers, we have sold to chains of Japanese restaurants, directly to their consumers; such products can be manufactured within our capabilities, thus if all enterprises currently operating on the field paid more attention towards the issues of food safety, the domestic market would be in a much better position.

Mr. Sanjeev Kumar – CEO of Japfa Comfeed Co. in the North: We personnally start from the farms that provide the source of feed for the animals; our company is conducting a closed manufacturing model as all processes being directly involved with each other. This is a difficult model – ranging from how the distribution and manufacturing departments purchase their raw materials to ensure the quality of agricultural products; this requires more cooperation among multiple parties, therefore the government needs to establish clearer policies to put more responsibilty in the hands of the enterprises.

For us, our company currently manufactures feed for livestock, thus we examine very closely our source of raw materials; what the animals eat affect the food consumers. With large corporations like ourselves, the examination process is relatively easy yet this does not hold for other small enterprises due to lack of financial resources. The local resources could be easily examined by local authorities; however, examination for imported raw materials does not appear to be easy at all.

Mr. Viet Minh Duong: We need to look at what we have as in the foundation for fresh and clean agricultural products. If you ask if Hellomam is giving us 100% clean eggs or not? The answer would be that we have produced great organic food yet we have not been issued any certificates of clean and fresh agricultural products. When the consumers bought these products and recognized that type of certification, they will be relieved and assured. The VietGap standards is no longer comparable to the Global Gap one yet recent reports have indicated that many enterprises still purchased the VietGap certificates, which negatively affects other enterprises that take the issue of Gap certificates seriously. I see this happening in various provinces.

What should enterprises like us do? I understand and know quite a few enterprises handling these issues very well so we cooperate and self-examine at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to ensure we have the up-to-standards certificate; if the consumers were concerned, we could show them the results and the samples. If the customers required supports for medical testing, we could respond immediately and satisfy their needs. We try to transperentize our business activities. If the market is transparent, the consumers will have more feasible options.

Mrs. Hau Thi Vu, Deputy General Director of Nhat Nam JSC (owner of Fivimart supermarket): When a manufacturer desires to position their products in our distribution system, as we care a lot about the issues of food safety and hygiene, the manufacturer needs to provide us the proof of origin of their products; we collect all relevant documents and conduct a field research to ensure the validity of the documents and the manufacturer’s operating activities. Subsequently, we evaluate their products in accordance with the ISO standards since 2006 and based on the established scale from years of experience, we determine whether or not to sign the contract. In the implementation process of the contract, we also conduct frequent control testing procedures for products on the counter.

The products in our supermarket must have all required certifications to be on the counter and sold to our customers, yet consumers always compare the selling price of the supermarket to the market price. Recently, mass media have published up-to-date information regarding the clean manufacturing areas and agricultural products for the consumers, and we are trying to create good habits for consumers shopping at our supermarkets; we have lowered the costs in our intermediate and operational process for agricultural products that do not meet the profit targets and established agribusiness principles in our supermarkets.