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Vietnamese chocolate products have chance to enter to global market




A farmer harvests cocoa fruit in a farm in Chợ Gạo District, Tiền Giang Province. Việt Nam should have programmes to promote cocoa production in a sustainable way and with a guarantee of a fair income for the cocoa growers. VNA/ Photo Đình Huệ

HÀ NỘI — There is an opportunity for Vietnamese chocolate to become a niche player in the world market with a brand of unique flavoured cocoa, according to the Belgian ambassador to Việt Nam.

“You can find almost any quality chocolate product in Belgium, but there is one with a nice fresh, fruity and a sour taste that is very difficult to find, the Vietnamese chocolate,” Paul Jansen, Belgian Ambassador to Việt Nam, said at a workshop to help Việt Nam’s unique cocoa take a spot in the world market held in Hà Nội on Wednesday.

“Origin chocolate products have become very popular worldwide, but Vietnamese chocolate remains a rare chocolate to find,” he said.

Việt Nam should have programmes to promote cocoa production in a sustainable way and with a guarantee of a fair income for the cocoa growers. A sustainable cocoa sector will be crucial, meaning no deforestation, no child labour, and a good income for the farmers, according to the ambassador.

“If Việt Nam can increase the sustainable cultivation of its unique flavoured cocoa, chocolate producers and customers will follow,” Jansen said.

“At the Belgian embassy we are available to give support, to search for available support, and to link up with our industry. Given that Belgium and Việt Nam have a strategic partnership on agriculture, given that Vietnamese cocoa has a high potential and Belgium has a lot of expertise to offer, let’s try together to give the Vietnamese cocoa bean the status it deserves.”

Speaking at this workshop organised by the Belgian Embassy and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Nguyễn Đỗ Anh Tuấn, head of MARD’s International Cooperation Department, said Việt Nam’s agriculture is on the path of deep international integration, gradually asserting its position in the global supply chain.

“Việt Nam’s agricultural sector is strongly restructuring towards building value chain products based on the potential advantages and strengths of each agricultural product, including cocoa.”

Vietnamese cocoa received huge international recognition after it won the International Cocoa Awards in 2013 and was classified as Fine or Flavour Cocoa by the ICCO in 2015 thanks to its unique fruity flavour, he said. However, the cocoa production in Việt Nam has tended to decline sharply from 25,000ha in 2015 to 5,000ha in 2019.

Lê Thanh Tùng, Deputy Director of MARD’s Department of Crop Production, said the economic efficiency of cocoa is lower than that of other crops such as coffee and cashew.

“The difficulties for Vietnamese cocoa at present are small cocoa planting areas intercropping with other industrial trees and weakness in pre-processing and processing of chocolate,” Tùng said.

“Therefore, if foreign investors want to develop cocoa production in Việt Nam, they will face difficulties in developing material areas for cocoa.”

Trương Ngọc Quang, Director of Nam Trường Sơn Cocoa Co., Ltd., also agreed and said there are not concentrated material regions, making it difficult for businesses in purchasing cocoa.

Tùng said it is necessary to build a link between farmers and businesses and between small businesses with large corporations, helping to develop a comprehensive and sustainable cocoa industry in the future.

Quang said the State management agencies should have a suitable development plan for cocoa trees. In addition, there should be a mechanism for those linkages and price policy between businesses and farmers.

The chocolate industry consumes over 4 million tonnes of cocoa beans from around the world, with chocolate consumption growing at an average rate of 5 per cent. While the chocolate industry is getting wealthier year after year the cocoa farmers are not benefiting enough from that system and remain extremely poor. Most of the cocoa supply (close to 70 per cent) comes out of West Africa where the industry problems are the most severe, according to the workshop statement.

If major markets such as the EU and US impose stricter regulations it will open new doors for countries with sustainable supply chains to fill the gap. The demand for sustainable cocoa is growing steadily, a demand which Việt Nam can fulfil while other countries struggle to comply.

For access to the European market for Vietnamese cocoa, there are three different ways and Vietnamese players can choose the second and third ways. The first way is to export cacao beans from Việt Nam to the EU. The second way is to export cocoa powder and the third way is to export chocolate products which create a lot of value, according to Gricha Safarian, General Manager, Puratos Viet Nam.

Besides that, Tuấn said the EVFTA has a part relating to protection of geographical indications. At present, the EU protects the geographical indications for 38 Vietnamese products, excluding cocoa.

“In the future, when the domestic cocoa industry develops further, the EU can consider to issue the protection of geographical indication for Vietnamese cocoa due to the unique taste of this product, although the cocoa output is not as high as coffee output,” Tuấn said. —



Pork price not expected to spike during Lunar New Year



A consumer buys meat at a Hapro supermarket in Hà Nội. — VNA/ Photo Phương Anh

HÀ NỘI —Demand for pork rises in the run up to Lunar New Year (Tết), prices are expected to increase, but not rise to the levels seen last year.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said out of 5.37 million tonnes of meat consumed during this period last year, 3.8 million tonnes were pork.

Pig production remains healthy, and across 16 provinces the reproduction rate has topped 100 per cent, with more than 27 million animals available.

However, Nguyễn Văn Trọng, deputy director of the Livestock Breeding General Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said prices would rise as demand grows.

Currently, live pigs are priced at VNĐ83,000-85,000 (US$3.5) per kilo but Trọng said although prices would rise, they would not reach levels seen last year.

He also said there would not be any expected shortages of the meat, but they were stepping up measures to preventing illegal exports to China. 

According to the Department of Animal Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the country imported nearly 226,000 tonnes of pork last year, a year-on-year increase of 260 per cent.

The main import markets are from Russia, Poland, Brazil, Canada, the US, Germany and Spain.

This year, 600 tonnes of pork have been imported to supplement supplies for the Tết market.

More than half a million pigs were imported from Thailand for slaughter from mid-June last year to January 13 this year. —


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HCM City, southern provinces step up efforts against fake goods, contraband as Tết approaches



Smuggling and trade fraud are on the rise ahead of Tết, which falls on February 12. —VNA/ Photo.

HCM CITY – Officers tasked with preventing fake goods, trade fraud and smuggling in HCM City and southern border provinces have been forced to work hard ahead of Tết (Lunar New Year), which falls on February 12 this year.

Last week the HCM City customs department discovered 14 steel containers that consignee V.V Steel Company described wrongly to evade tax.

The company, in Long An Province’s Đức Hòa District, made a declaration that would have allowed it to enjoy 0 per cent tax instead of the 10-15 per cent it had to pay, equivalent to VNĐ1 billion (US$43,000).

Now, besides the tax it will also have to pay a penalty of 20 per cent of the amount.

Smuggling and trade fraud are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Trương Văn Ba, director of the HCM City Market Surveillance Department, said last year 25,538 violations had been discovered involving loss of tax revenues of VNĐ5.8 trillion.

Competent agencies filed charges in 113  cases.

According to Steering Committee 389 of HCM City, inspections had been reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic but specifically target warehouses, yards and sites where large volumes of smuggled goods are likely to be concealed, improving the efficiency of prevention efforts.

According to the city police, local militia have been urged to look out for dubious activities and crack down on the trade in prohibited, smuggled and counterfeit goods.

Drugs, weapons, illegal firecrackers, unsafe and violent toys, and cigarettes are in the sights of officials.

The city border guard force, the Southern Border Guard Soldiers’ Department of Drug and Crime Prevention, naval squadron No 28 under the Việt Nam Border Defence Force, and border forces in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu and Tiền Giang provinces will look out for possible violations at estuaries, sea ports and sea borders .

The city is also calling on businesses and consumers to join hands in the fight against smuggling and trade fraud.

Cross-border smuggling

Border authorities in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces of An Giang, Kiên Giang and Đồng Tháp are stepping up efforts to keep out smuggled goods, which usually increases during the year-end period.

The contraband is mostly cigarettes and sugar brought in through the Châu Đốc City border in An Giang Province.

Smugglers transport the goods from Cambodia in boats, motorbikes and trucks at night to evade officers, but if spotted are not averse to attacking them.

Kiên Giang Province’s Hà Tiên City also sees smuggling of goods from across the border, usually late at night.

Smugglers travel in groups and transport large quantities of contraband, mainly foreign-made cigarettes.

Authorities have discovered hundreds of cases of smuggling and confiscated tens of thousands of packs of cigarettes and other goods.

Fishing boats are used to illegally transport and sell oil and petrol at sea.

Hundreds of thousands of litres of oil of unknown origin have been seized by local agencies, who have also collected billions of đồng in fines.

The An Giang Province steering committee for anti-smuggling, trade fraud and fake goods said troops were patrolling border gates, trails and crossings to prevent smuggling. –



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Ensuring information security for cloud computing a key national goal



Cloud computing will be the main orientation of the country to focus on in the coming time. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Information and Communications has determined that the cloud computing platform is a key part of telecommunications infrastructure to focus on in the coming years.

The ministry has also defined cloud computing as the digital infrastructure for the development of a digital government, digital economy and digital society.

“This is one of the main orientations of the country to focus on in the coming time,” said Nguyễn Khắc Lịch, deputy director of the Authority of Information Security, Ministry of Information and Communications, to local technology website

It is forecast that the cloud computing market in Việt Nam will reach US$500 million by 2025 with a growth rate of about 30-40 per cent.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a “push” to promote the development of the cloud computing market and the growth rate of the market hit 40 per cent last year.

Cloud computing is a relatively large “pie” for businesses to compete for and as for the nation, with the importance of new generation telecommunications infrastructure, digital infrastructure, and the ‘Make-in-Việt Nam’ policy, domestic businesses must master this infrastructure.

Lịch said that to develop Vietnamese cloud computing platforms in the right direction, Việt Nam was one of the few countries that have issued a set of technical criteria to evaluate and choose a cloud computing solution for e-government.

The set of technical criteria consists of 153 standards, including 84 technical criteria and 69 information security criteria.

“A cloud computing platform that meets these benchmarks is considered to be a modern and secure platform,” said Lịch.

Lê Hoài Nam, deputy director of Viettel IDC, said with cloud computing services, the market has grown quite rapidly in recent years.

As for Viettel, the growth rate was twice compared to normal from 60 to 80 per cent.

However, Nam said that the story of information security for cloud computing was not only important for Việt Nam but also the world.

This field in Việt Nam was still new, so people were still worried.

However, in addition to financial investment, there was a need for a system of technical staff because the technology was changing and all certificates required by customers are constantly updated. With large service providers such as VNPT and Viettel, the sustainability of service delivery infrastructure will be ensured, he added.

Tống Mạnh Cường, product manager of VNPT IT, said there were two issues, which were whether users paid to use safe services or not and the trust factor.

Enterprises believe that to stimulate demand for cloud computing services, the Government should have activities to promote digital transformation.

The Government, ministries and agencies besides enterprises, should boost non-business public units like the departments of information and communications to deploy public cloud technology.


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