The HCM City Department of Industry and Trade has promised to prevent any scarcity of pork or sudden price surges, saying the pork market would be steady.
According to the department, the price of pig on the hoof reached VND48,000-51,000 per kilo last month, 40 per cent up year-on-year.
Last year pig prices had plummeted, causing losses to most farmers, who reacted by reducing their breeding activities, and the resultant low supply pushed up prices, it said.
To ensure adequate supply of essential goods, including meat, in the city, the department regularly inspects the market.
According to Nguyen Huynh Trang, the department’s deputy director, businesses taking part in the city’s price stabilisation programme have increased supply and sell at 5-10 per cent below market prices.
But following the relentless increase in pork prices since April the city has reviewed and agreed for them to increase pork prices once each in April, May and June.
In the latest adjustment on June 7 the price of meat from the side and leg was increased by VND5,000 per kilo, while the prices of other parts went up by VND1,000-4,000.
Pork under the city’s price stabilisation programme now costs VND87,000-112,000 per kilo at retailers and businesses such as Saigon Co.op’s retail chains, Big C, Saigon Agriculture Corporation and Vissan Co., Ltd.
The department regularly asks participating companies about supply and stocks to make sure it can keep prices steady and under check.
The businesses have promised to ensure adequate supply of pork to meet demand. Some have also indicated plans to set up modern slaughter facilities and retail systems to bring quality pork at reasonable prices to more consumers.
Vinh Long unveils construction master plan
The southern province of Vinh Long on Tuesday unveiled a construction master plan covering the period from 2018 to 2030 and with a vision to 2050.
The Deputy Director of the provincial Construction Department, Tran Hoai Hiep, said the plan aimed to establish Vinh Long as a centre of service, industry, and hi-tech agriculture through equitable and sustainable development.
Hiep said the projects under the master plan would be built in accordance with the projects of the adjusted construction plan for the Cuu Long Mekong Delta, which is expected to become an important road and railway transport hub for the delta and a logistical centre in the urban economic region between Cuu Long Delta, HCM City, and Phnom Penh.
Vinh Long is set to become a hub for paddies and orchards and a centre of hi-tech agriculture, supporting other hi-tech industries in the delta. It is also expected to be a vocational training and biological science research centre as well as a trade and tourism destination.
The province’s economic growth rate is predicted to reach 7 per cent by 2030, with an average Gross Regional Domestic Product per capita of US$4,000.
Tisco asks for help to solve debt issue
Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel Corporation (Tisco) has proposed its parent company – the Vietnam Steel Corporation (VNSteel), alongside the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Finance, and other relevant agencies assist the firm to extend loan dues and restructure debts to resolve financial issues, dantri.com.vn reported.
At its annual shareholder meeting on June 12 Tisco reported that its total combined net revenue rose 10.9 per cent year on year to VND19.8 trillion (US$880 million) in 2017 and its pre-tax profit was VND898 billion, nearly tripling that of 2016.
However, the company has encountered difficulties in high production costs, which has reduced its competitiveness in the market, while it does not have enough capital to either continue production or expand its factory.
During the second-stage expansion of Tisco’s operations, which took place from 2009-10, VNSteel guaranteed Tisco a VND1.86 trillion loan from the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank). Tisco is yet to pay back the debt.
Tisco reported its charter capital was VND1.84 trillion. The company had spent VND1.5 trillion on the expansion project and it had lent VND531 billion ($23.6 million) to other businesses, but the investments were not efficient.
The company retrieved a part of its outward loans, reducing its receivables to around VND450 billion.
According to the firm’s management board, the biggest problem Tisco has to face is how to resolve the loan borrowed from Vietinbank. To resolve the current financial issues, the management board has offered to mortgage two iron and coal mines to any financial institution or business that will buy the VND1.86 trillion debt from Vietinbank so that VNSteel is no longer involved in Tisco’s loan.
Another solution is for the Government to sell its ownership in Tisco to the private sector and reduce its stake to below a specific ratio that allows private firms to take a decisive role in Tisco’s management board.
However, the divestment plan remains unknown and there has been no business or financial institution that is interested in buying the Government’s stake in Tisco.
The two plans have put Tisco in a dilemma over whether it should transfer the State capital to the State Capital and Investment Corporation (SCIC) or remain under the management of the industry and trade ministry and continue resolving existing issues.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has been asked to submit a divestment plan of Tisco to the Prime Minister for consideration as soon as possible.
Vung Tau failing to lure tourists
Despite Vung Tau’s great tourism potential, not much investment has been made in tourism-related facilities and attractions.
It also lacks large malls while accommodation and restaurants are limited.
Dau Tu (Investment Review) newspaper quoted a source from the Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province Department of Construction as saying there is only one coastal tourism project under construction now.
Nguyen Tan Thanh, director of Vinh Phong Property Company, told the newspaper that Vung Tau had an ideal location and beautiful landscapes that not many other places do but there are few policies to attract investment into tourism.
Many popular tourist cities and provinces have built amusement areas and conference centres to develop meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibition (MICE) tourism.
But Vung Tau has not, he said.
Vung Tau has a long beautiful coast but lacks beaches for tourists to swim, he added.
The newspaper said many investors plan to develop tourism-related properties in the city.
They include one by Khai Hoan Land, which wants to develop a 12,000ha project. The Tuan Chau Group plans to develop Vung Tau Marina City on an area of 345ha.
Vung Tau is only 90km away from HCM City, and has roads connecting HCM City and other neighbouring provinces.
The city has beautiful landscapes with two main mountains, Nui Lon (Big Mountain) and Nui Nho (Small Mountain).
On top of the latter is a lighthouse built over 100 years ago. On the other mountain is the large Lake May and a natural forest.
Thanks to its beautiful and good weather, the city attracts lots of visitors.
According to the city People’s Committee, 2.79 million visitors came last year, including 363,000 foreigners, a 15 per cent increase year-on-year.
Ba Ria — Vung Tau is seen as an attractive destination for foreign investment: Of 69 projects it licensed last year, 29 were by foreign investors.
The province has many industrial zones and more than 10 ports.
HCM City plans to become regional trade hub by 2025
The HCM City Department of Industry and Trade yesterday unveiled a master plan for the trading sector until 2025 which seeks to soon make the city a key regional hub.
Nguyen Quynh Trang, deputy director of the department, said the plan focused on four key areas: exports, logistics, trade fairs and exhibitions, and wholesale and retail.
The city plans to boost exports of items that are competitive and environment-friendly and have high added value and technological content to capitalise on opportunities brought by free trade agreements, she said.
Gradually developing distribution systems abroad for Vietnamese goods, especially in co-operation with Vietnamese communities living there, to sell Vietnamese products, is also part of the plan, she said.
In the wholesale and retail sectors, the city would encourage businesses to develop modern chains and food stores in outlying districts, industrial parks and export processing zones and new apartment buildings to get rid of unplanned markets, she said.
As for traditional markets, the city would not build any new ones, but would upgrade infrastructure and facilities such as parking lots, toilets, warehouses and others at existing markets and improve their service quality and management to ensure food hygiene and safety and clear origin of products and prices, she said.
Ha Ngoc Son, head of the department’s import and export management division, said the city had 239 markets, 168 of them basic or temporary ones, 207 supermarkets, 43 shopping malls, and 1,800 convenience stores.
The city plans to harmoniously develop its markets, supermarkets and shopping centres, he said.
Sales through modern retail channels are expected to account for at least 40 per cent of total sales by 2020 and 60 per cent a decade later, he said.
Through the zoning plan, the city hopes to develop a logistics network for inner-city distribution as well as transporting goods to other cities and provinces and foreign trade, he said.
The city would seek to develop the 3PL (Third Party Logistics) market to reduce production and transport costs, he said.
The city has only one exhibition and convention centre in District 7, and plans to expand it and also solicit investment to build one each in districts 2 and Nha Be, he said.
With the city playing an important role economically in the southern key economic region and the country, the master plan would enable it to capitalise on opportunities and overcome challenges, he said.
Tra Vinh to spend VND10 billion on SMEs
The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh will spend nearly VND10 billion (US$430,000) to help local firms improve the quality of key products from now to 2020.
The province will provide capital to companies to improve product quality, productivity and standards, Nguyen Trung Hoang, vice chairman of province’s People’s Committee, said.
Local authorities will also help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) apply management models and local technical standards, as well as build websites.
They will also help enterprises register their brands both domestically and internationally, Hoang said.
Tra Vinh is home to 2,153 enterprises, 98 per cent of which are SMEs.
They face difficulties in accessing support policies, preferential capital, advanced technology, and local and foreign markets.
To promote SMEs’ development, local authorities will continue to create a healthy business environment, provide financial assistance to enterprises, and improve local infrastructure.
In the 2012-20 period, SMEs in the province will be allowed financial assistance worth a total of C$12.1 million ($9.4 million), including C$11 million of non-refundable aid funded by the Canadian Government.
VN encouraged to tap Australian wooden furniture market
Vietnamese wood enterprises have plenty of opportunities to export to Australia thanks to a number of factors that play into their favour, trade experts said.
Viet Nam’s favourable geographical location as well as Australian strong import demand and preferences brought by free trade agreements (FTAs) such as the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA make exporting wood products to Australia a viable prospect, they said.
According to the Vietnamese Trade Office in Australia, domestic consumers tend to favour low-cost furniture. However, local producers fail to compete with foreign exporters in terms of prices due to high labour and input costs.
Australian customers, on the other hand, are open to the prospect of buying imported wooden furniture, as they pay attention to the quality, design, and price of the furniture rather than their origin, the office said.
The office added while there are plenty of untapped opportunities waiting for Vietnamese exporters, they should improve their designs to suit Australian consumers’ taste, and improve their product quality and lower their prices to take full advantage of these opportunities.
Australia was one of the top ten importers of Vietnamese wood and timber products in the first five months of this year, according to the General Department of Viet Nam Customs.
Australia imported over US$66.7 million worth of wood and wood products from Viet Nam during the period, up 11.3 per cent year on year, the department’s statistics revealed.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) forecast that Viet Nam can reach its export value target of $9 billion for forestry products this year by exporting wood products.
Viet Nam’s exports account for just 6 per cent of the global timber and wooden furniture market, which is estimated at $120 billion, MARD said, adding that the country holds huge potential for wood processing and production.
The nation has nearly 4,000 timber processing firms, including 1,500 companies specialising in producing wood products for export. Factors that can boost the sector’s growth include abundant materials, sound mechanisms, and robust market signs.
Coal group targets 9 per cent revenue spike
The Viet Nam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin or TKV) is targeting VND116.9 trillion (US$5.1 billion) in revenues in 2018, up 9.3 per cent year-on-year.
It also plans to contribute VND14.5 trillion to the State Budget, up VND900 billion compared to its annual target.
In the first six months of this year, the group’s coal production reached 20.27 million tonnes, reaching 57 per cent of its yearly target. Coal consumption touched 21.6 million tonnes, equivalent to 60 per cent of the year’s target, of which 20.7 million tonnes were consumed domestically while 900,000 tonnes were exported.
Alumina production reached 660,000 tonnes, meeting 54 per cent of the annual target. Electrical production hit 5.1 billion kWh, representing 55 per cent of the target for the year.
The group’s total revenue and profit in six months were estimated at VND62.6 trillion and VND1.5 trillion, respectively.
Average salary stood at VND10.2 million per person per month, equivalent to 103.6 per cent of the target for the year and up by 12 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Restructuring, one route to success for companies: experts
For many Vietnamese companies, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), restructuring is a way to improve their competitiveness at a time when the country is integrating rapidly, experts have said.
Ma Thanh Danh, deputy general director of KIDO Group, was quoted by Sai Gon Giai Phong (The Liberated Sai Gon) as saying that they have two options – restructure or lag behind – since many trade agreements that Viet Nam has signed with other countries would soon take effect.
Many companies based in HCM City, like Sai Gon Food Joint Stock Company, have become stronger by restructuring.
Le Thi Thanh Lam, the company’s deputy director, said in fact it restructured twice, in 2011 and 2015, and achieved fruitful results.
As a result, from being a company with 16 workers and two manufacturers, the company has since grown into one with over 1,000 workers and 16 manufacturers, she said.
Its revenue has jumped from a few hundred million dong per year to over VND1 trillion (US$43.8 million) after the restructuring, she said.
Rita Phil, a fashion company, is another successful example.
Thai Van Linh, head of strategy and operations at Vina Capital, an investor in Rita Phil, said it had faced many difficulties in the early days.
One year after establishment it decided to restructure its business, diversifying into other related products after initially only making wedding dresses, a decision that found support from its customers.
A representative of an association of business people in HCM City’s District 3 said many companies are able to achieve significant improvement after restructuring.
Experts said there are many restructuring models that companies can draw from, but which one they should adopt depends on their financial capacity, human resources, market value, and products.
Larger companies would do it differently from smaller ones, they said.
Linh said the most important aspect is what the company’s management wants to focus on: revenue, market or customers?
Lam said during its restructuring, her company faced many difficulties, one of which was the differences in opinions between various executives.
If the management fails to reconcile these differences, the restructuring would turn out to be a risky exercise, she said.
The experts said restructuring does face many obstacles like conflicting interests and adoption of wrong models, and many companies are wary of trying it as a result.
VNPT transfers finance arm to SeABank
The Southeast Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SeABank) and Vietnam Post and Telecommunication (VNPT) signed the documents to transfer VNPT finance subsidiary Post and Telecommunication Finance Company Ltd (PTF) to SeABank, by transferring the contributed capital on Friday.
Founded in 1998, PTF is one of Viet Nam’s first finance companies, wholly owned by VNPT, with a charter capital of VND500 billion (US$21.8 million) and total assets of VND384 billion recorded at the end of February 2016.
Accordingly, SeABank will oversee all financial business activities, including payment services, financial support, business consultancy, financial investment, and currency trading from VNPT, as well as infrastructure, network systems, and human resources.
It is also responsible for inheriting and developing post-sale services for all customers using financial services at PTFbeginning on June 22 this year.
G-bonds see higher interest rates
Government bonds fetched higher interest rates for all maturity terms at the latest auction conducted by the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX) on June 20.
A total of VND4.3 trillion (US$187.9 million) worth of bonds were sold at the transaction out of the VND6 trillion offered, including VND100 billion in five-year bonds with an annual interest rate of 3.1 per cent, representing a 0.1 per cent increase from the interest rate fetched at the previous auction on May 23.
VND2.4 trillion in 10-year bonds was raised at an interest rate of 4.35 per cent per annum, up 0.03 percentage from the previous auction on June 13.
Meanwhile, VND1.8 trillion worth of 15-year bonds were sold at an interest rate of 4.68 per cent per annum, up 0.03 percentage from June 13.
The auction saw no sales of 7-year, 20-year, and 30-year G-bonds.
The State Treasury has raised VND70.181 trillion ($3 billion USD) from auctions of government bonds at the HNX, the northern bourse said.
Interest rates on government bonds have been on the rise lately, after a long period of decline throughout 2017 and the first four months of 2018. The National Financial Supervisory Commission has predicted that the G-bond market in 2018 will see modest changes against last year thanks to economic growth of more than 6.7 per cent and inflation of below 4 per cent.
The value of G-bonds issued in 2018 is estimated at some VND180 trillion ($7.92 billion), with the focus being on long-term maturity and keeping interest rates low.
2018 PropertyGuru Vietnam Property Awards given
The 2018 PropertyGuru Vietnam Property Awards have been won by 26 companies, with CapitaLand Vietnam claiming its second consecutive Best Developer award.
The awards ceremony to honour the finest industry players took place on Friday.
Besides the evening’s highest honour, CapitaLand also collected the Special Recognition in Sustainable Development (shared with Gamuda Land), and the gongs for Best Condo Development (Vietnam) for D’Edge, a luxury project in HCM City that promotes healthy living, and Best Green Development for De La Sol, a “music-themed” condo project targeting a younger demographic.
KIEN A Corporation won six awards including for Best Affordable Condo Development (HCM City) for Citiesto and Best Universal Design Development for the Le Méridien Cam Ranh Bay Resort & Spa.
KIEN A Corporation’s founding chairman, Huỳnh Bá Lân, was honoured as the 2018 Vietnam Real Estate Personality of the Year by the editors of PropertyGuru Property Report magazine for “leading a values-focused company” and constructing school buildings in Phú Yên Province to international standards.
SonKim Land won the award for “Best Boutique Developer”.
A highlight this year was the presentation of new awards such as the Special Recognition for Building Communities, for Design and Construction, and for Customer Care –– awards shared by three winners in each category.
The new special award for Public Facility went to Nguyễn Huệ Walking Street by HCM City’s Planning Information Centre whilst TNR Holdings Vietnam received the CARE Special Recognition for Positive Construction Practices for supporting equal opportunities at the workplace.
Hari V. Krishnan, CEO of PropertyGuru Group, said: “This year’s edition validates yet again the strong performance and growth of the Vietnamese real estate sector, which is highly regarded as one of the most attractive markets in the Southeast Asian region today.”
The independent panel of judges was led by renowned architect Dương Quốc Thiện, managing director of Transform Architecture.
Nam Long issues bonds worth US$29mn
Real estate developer Nam Long Investment Corporation, has successfully issued its VND660-billion (US$29 million) fixed-rate bonds.
This bond issuance by Nam Long Corporation, which focuses in the affordable housing segment, was underwritten by GuarantCo. Ltd, an arm of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG).
PIDG is a multi-donor organisation comprising members of seven countries and World Bank, while GuarantCo is rated AA– by Fitch Ratings and A1 by Moody’s.
The landmark issuance was the first local currency bond issuance guaranteed by GuarantCo in Viet Nam and was privately placed to investors by Standard Chartered Bank Viet Nam Limited (SCB Viet Nam).
The VND660-billion fixed-rate bonds are priced at an interest rate of 6.5 per cent per annum and have a seven-year maturity term. They were issued on June 19, 2018, and will mature on June 19, 2025.
Nam Long is the latest corporate bond issuer to tap the Vietnamese dong bond market with an international guarantee structure in diversifying its sources of funds, contributing to significant progress in developing the local bond market.
According to Steven Chu, general director of Nam Long Corporation, affordable housing development is one of Nam Long’s key focuses. Through this bond issuance, Nam Long can attract the most prestigious investors and achieve a competitive long-term fixed interest rate, which will help the company meet capital needs for infrastructure development, he said.
“The bond was launched at a good time to anchor the market liquidity, and the issuance attracted a great set of highly reputable investors at a good price level. We are excited to be able to deliver a great outcome for Nam Long’s local currency bond issuance amidst a rising interest rate environment both internationally and domestically,” said Nirukt Sapru, CEO of SCB Viet Nam in a statement.
CCM cancels listing on HNX
Can Tho Mineral and Cement Joint Stock Company will cancel its listing on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange on June 29, the stock exchange has announced.
The last trading session of the company is scheduled for June 28. CCM closed Friday at VND26,300 (US$1.17) per share. It has lost total 19 per cent after the last two sessions.
The company debuted on the northern exchange on September 19, 2008 to trade nearly 6.2 million shares under code CCM.
The delisting of CCM shares is aimed to focus on the firm’s restructuring process in order to improve its business performance and development, the company said in a filing to the market regulator.
The listing cancellation was passed by the firm’s shareholders at its annual shareholder meeting on March 24.
Other issues that were approved at the annual shareholders’ meeting included the establishment of its branch in Australia and investment of a new factory for its subsidiary in Hau Giang Province.
‘Green’ energy solution wins int’l award
The Solar Experience Space (SES) model of Bach Khoa Energy Corporate (SolarBK Holdings) has been named ‘Outstanding Project’ in the Smart Renewable Energy category at the Smarter Energy Awards 2018 in Munich, Germany.
It’s the only made-in-Viet Nam renewable energy model that debuted in the Intersolar 2018 Exhibition in Germany earlier this week.
The SES, which includes a solar water heating and rooftop solar power system for students to experience a realistic zero-energy space, outclassed opponents in the final to win the award.
“The SES is not only a made-in-Viet Nam product and renewable energy solution, but it proves international quality standard for worldwide export,” said brand director of SolarBK Holdings, Nguyen Thuy Ngan.
“The award is part of Vietnamese intelligence and innovation in developing hi-tech and ‘clean and green’ energy industries. It also helps promote research of the solar power among young generation in the future,” she said at the award ceremony on Thursday.
SolarBK, a leading solar power manufacturer in Viet Nam, also won the Global International Renewable Energy Award in 2012 with its wind-solar renewable energy system project on the Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands of Viet Nam, and renewable energy-powered desalination system project on Song Tu Tay Island in 2016.
Hau Giang reviews development of hi-tech farm zone
Leaders of the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang have reviewed the development of a hi-tech agricultural zone in the province by 2025
Speaking at the meeting, which was held June 21, provincial People’s Committee Chairman Le Tien Chau asked the management board of the local hi-tech agricultural zone to review all policies adopted by the Government for the building of hi-tech agricultural zones and how to implement them.
At the same time, the board must learn from the experience of other localities in attracting investments in the field, he said.
Le Hoang Xuyen, director of the management board of the hi-tech agricultural zone, said the provincial People’s Committee must approve the building of a new, stronger bridge to replace the existing bridge that leads to the zone to accommodate investors’ high-load vehicles. He also urged the committee to speed up the construction of roads leading to the zone.
Xuyen asked the local Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to continue supporting related projects, such as a pumping station and the Sustainable Agriculture Transformation (VnSAT) project.
In 2012, the government allowed Hau Giang to zone off 5,200 hectares of land in Long My District for hi-tech agriculture. The zone has since been implementing three projects, including one at the ministerial level and another at the provincial level.
Since last year, the zone has collaborated with the Republic of Korea in testing several biological products on 14 hectares of rice crops. This year, those products will be tested on 8 hectares of rice crops, 2 hectares of pineapple, 2 hectares of citrus fruits, and 2 hectares of mangoes within the zone.
Import-export value exceeds US$200 billion
The total value of the country’s imports and exports from the beginning of the year to June 15 is estimated at US$204.72 billion, up 13.2% on the same period last year, according to the latest statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Of that figure, exports saw a rise of 16.6% to an estimated value of US$103.79 billion, while imports swelled by 9.8% to US$100.93 billion.
Vietnam recorded a trade surplus of US$27 million during the first half of this month, bringing the total trade surplus over the first five and a half months of 2018 to US$2.86 billion.
In the first half of this month alone, the total national trade value reached US$18.98 billion, down 12.7% compared to the second half of May, with exports dropping 14.4% to US$9.51 billion and imports falling 10.8% to US$9.48 billion.
Compared to the second half of May, exports of some products in the first half of this month suffered a decline, such as telephones and components (down 16.5%), machines, equipment and other tools (down 27.9%), means of transport (down 29%) and footwear (down 12.7%).
On the opposite site, imports of some products saw a similar drop off with machines, equipment and tools down 6.5%, and pharmaceuticals down 46.6%.
Imports driving Vietnam cattle farmers out of business
Vietnamese beef prices have been falling because of a market glut, while imported beef is flexing its competitive muscles, offering higher quality for similar prices.
In the central province of Ninh Thuan, dealers are buying a head of cattle from farmers for just VND7-VND8 million (US$304.3-US$347.8), a third of the VND20-VND21 million price it fetched two years ago.
Dealers in the southern province of Soc Trang province are also giving farmers a hard time, buying beef at VND40,000 per kilogram, 40% of the price in 2016.
“I have never seen beef prices so low,” livestock farmer Lam Sanh said, adding that he might have to quit and find another way to make a living.
With prices falling over the last two years, small-scaled cattle farmers have been switching to different vocations, a husbandry official in An Giang province said.
The number of cows and buffaloes raised in Vietnam has fallen to five million now from nearly seven million in 2006, according to the Vietnam Animal Husbandry Association.
Vietnamese beef is having a difficult time competing with imported beef, which comes in abundance and is priced reasonably, Tong Xuan Chinh, deputy head of the Animal Husbandry Department told the Tuoi Tre newspaper.
Last year, the country imported more than 262,300 heads of cattle, and nearly 42,000 tons of beef and buffalo meat, valued at more than US$410 million, according to the Animal Husbandry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Dealers are putting pressure on farmers to sell their cows at a low price because beef imported from the US and Australia are abundantly available in supermarkets and sold at the same price as local beef at VND250,000–VND400,000.
At this price, imported beef is being favored by consumers concerned about safety issues that have plagued the Vietnamese food market in recent years.
The Vietnamese government has issued policies to assist local cattle farmers but these have not led to raising the scale of production and ability to provide better quality at lower prices.
“The competition between local beef and imported beef will continue to be intense,” Chinh said.
Thai Binh’s agricultural economy boosted
For many decades, Thai Binh province has been a major granary of the Red River Delta with 70% of its population involved in agricultural production. Now, the province continues to lead in the new-style rural development movement with solutions compared as breakthroughs to create comprehensive changes for the local agricultural sector.
Since 2002 Thai Binh has rearranged paddy fields to re-master plan the farmland, reformed farming methods, and developed a concentrated agricultural sector. To date, the province has more than 15,000 hectares of land for agricultural production.
Nguyen Van Kien from Me Son 1 hamlet in Vu Thu district has rented 20 ha of cultivation land and applied a modern farming model. He said that all farming and harvest works are now mechanized and only 3 workers are needed. If the weather is favorable, Kien said he can earn more than US$61 per 360 square meters.
“The commune’s authorities have helped me in renting land. Most locals work for companies. Last year, I rented land for rice cultivation. It has been relatively profitable,” said Kien.
Vu Thu district has been successful in re-zoning agricultural land. Last year nearly 360 hectares of rice cultivation area were dedicated to growing vegetables which resulted in higher yields. Advanced production methods have brought local farmers more than US$17,000 per ha in revenue. More than 160 farmers in Vu Thu have re-arranged their agricultural land on a scale of more than one hectare each.
Dong Van Huan, director of Tan Phong Agriculture Cooperative, said the re-zoning agriculture land has improved productivity and helped farmers apply hi-tech advances, and innovative production models.
Huan added: “We have re-zoned agriculture land pursuant to the Party’s guidelines. We have discussed with farmers about this work. In Tan Phong, tenants and landlords met directly and signed land lease contracts.”
210 agricultural cooperatives in Thai Binh have linked their members with 20 enterprises inside and outside the province to produce and consume agricultural products.
Most households in the cooperatives have bought machines to improve productivity, and reduce production costs, thus reducing the current amount of untilled land.
Dinh Vinh Thuy, Chairman of Vu Thu district People’s Committee, said a modern agricultural model helps to create more jobs with stable income and keeps the locals working in the locality.
Airfares in Vietnam unlikely to drop despite growing competition
Even though Vietnam’s aviation market anticipates the introduction of a new airline by the end of 2018 and more likely to come in the near future, experts are skeptical passengers will benefit from dropping airfares despite growing competition.
The country’s only four locally owned airlines – Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air, Jetstar Pacific and VASCO – are handling domestic air travel demands for its booming population of over 92 million.
In essence, it is a two-horse race between privately-owned VietJet and national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, as the latter holds the majority stake at both VASCO and Jetstar Pacific.
With such potential for growth, a number of Vietnamese enterprises have applied to open their own airlines, hoping for a successful entrance into the ludicrous market.
In April, local conglomerate FLC Group announced that their own airline brand, Bamboo Airways, would be ready to conduct its maiden flight in the fourth quarter of 2018 despite not having received a license from authorities as of June.
The airline has already recruited a former Vietnam Airlines deputy general director to take charge as its top leader, and is looking to hire 92 pilots and 250 flight attendants.
According to a Bamboo Airways representative, it looks to brand itself as a ‘hybrid’ airline, offering air travel experience at a lower cost than full-service airlines but not cheaper than budget airlines.
Meanwhile, the picture looks gloomier for other airlines looking to earn their share of the market.
Globaltrans Air, a potential Vietnamese airline with VND100 billion (US$4.4 million) in charter capital, had its aviation business license revoked in November 2016 after failing to conduct any commercial flight for 18 months since receiving the license as per Vietnamese laws.
Vietstar Airlines had plans to launch commercial flights in early 2016 but has faced hurdles in applying for aviation business license due to overloading at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, where the airline plans to place its hub.
Asia’s top budget airline AirAsia is also looking to partner with Vietnamese hospitality group Thien Minh to found a new low-cost airline in Vietnam, but the plan has not moved forward as of 2018.
Nguyen Thanh Trung, an experienced commercial pilot, thinks passengers will be presented with more options when new airlines are introduced to the market, but considers it too soon to expect substantial changes airfare-wise.
“Of course there will be some sort of reduction [in airfares], but it will be moderate at most,” he said.
This is especially true considering the fact that a large part of airfares are made up of airport service charges and other surcharges rather than the price of the ticket itself.
In April, local carriers and airports announced that they would start applying higher rates to a number of services.
From April 1 to June 30, airport service charges at multiple airdromes, including Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City, Noi Bai in Hanoi, Da Nang in the namesake central city, and others, will also rise from VND80,000 (US$3.5) to VND85,000 (US$4).
The fee will become VND100,000 (US$4.5) from July 1, in accordance with a plan set up by the Ministry of Transport.
Passenger and Baggage Security Screening Service Charges will also increase from VND12,000 (US$0.5) to VND16,000 (US$0.7) from April 1.
This was the second time that local airports had adjusted their service charges in 2018.
Soft drinks set to give Vietnam very hard time
Vietnam has been put on high alert over its consumption of sugary drinks, which has skyrocketed over the last 15 years, experts said at a recent conference.
They based their warnings on results of a global survey done by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Truong Tuyet Mai, deputy director of the National Institute of Nutrition, said that Vietnamese people are forecast to consume over 5 billion liters of sweetened drinks in 2018, a surge of almost nine times against the year 2000, and the figure is estimated to reach 11 billion by 2025.
In 2016, sugary drinks sales in Vietnam reached four billion of liters, according to a survey by British market researcher Euromonitor International, which found instant tea and soft drinks were the best-selling beverages.
The survey also found that the sweetened beverage market has been rising fast in Vietnam, with an annual growth rate of 9.2%.
“Soft drinks are a top pick by adults and children but the fact is that sweetened beverages are the culprit behind rising obesity, which is linked to many health risks like cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and stroke,” said Truong Dinh Bac, deputy head of the General Department of Preventive Medicine under Vietnam’s Ministry of Health.
A recent survey on students’ health conducted by WHO found 31% of Vietnamese students had consumed soft drinks in the previous month, which it said was an alarming rate of consumption, raising health concerns for future Vietnamese generation.
In Vietnam, the rate of overweight and obese people has been increasing rapidly of late, with 25% of Vietnamese adults falling in that category at present.
Health officials in the country’s largest city Ho Chi Minh say the obesity rate among its school-age children hit 19% in 2016. Obesity levels are increasing at a faster rate in downtown areas, where average incomes and living standards are higher, the department found.
The proportion of obese Vietnamese children aged 2 to 19 has risen to 6.8%, according to another study by the University of Washington released last June.
The Vietnamese government has prohibited the sale of soft drinks in all school canteens across Vietnam.
A new directive from Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also bans advertisements of sweetened beverages and other “unhealthy products” in schools.
Recently, the Ministry of Finance proposed levying a special consumption tax rate of 10% or 20% on sweetened beverages by 2019, saying it was needed to tackle obesity and related illnesses. Business insiders have voiced objection, saying the tax would hurt companies in the field.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade said in a statement that imposing a special consumption tax on soft drinks because they contain sugar is not a convincing enough reason.
Muong La mango shipped to China
The northern Son La province is preparing to ship around 15 tons of mangoes to Guangxi, China.
The mangoes are planted by Doan Ket Cooperative in Nang Phai hamlet and Hung Thinh Cooperative in Muong Bu commune, Muong La district.
This is the first time safe agricultural products from Muong La district are legally exported to China.
An average sized mango weighs between 0.6 and 1.2kg. Harvested mangoes are labeled to trace the product origin and packed according to importers’ requirements.
Thanh Tung-Son La Ltd Company will transport the product from Muong La via Huu Nghi border gate in Lang Son province to Guangxi, China.
200 tons of lychees exported to Thailand
Around 200 tons of Luc Ngan lychees will be transported to Thailand through air freight to be sold on Thai retail networks, tripling the volume exported to the market in 2017.
The first batch of Luc Ngan lychees was officially exported to Thailand on June 20.
According to the Bac Giang provincial Department of Industry and Trade, the province had consumed 125,630 tons of lychees by June 19, earning more than VND3.4 trillion. About 36,500 tons were shipped to China with a revenue of more than US$64 million (nearly VND1.5 trilion). At present, around 150 Chinese and 1,000 Vietnamese traders are buying up the fruit in the province.
In addition to domestic and Chinese markets, this year, businesses have exported lychees to Singapore, Thailand, Australia, the US and Japan.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development says the province has had their heaviest crop so far. As of mid-June, gardeners had sold 50% of their output. From now to the end of the harvest, more measures will be applied to help farmers cash in on the bumper crop of fruit.
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