Knapen: Dutch investment boosts fresh milk production in Vietnam

HANOI – ‘I am impressed to see how FrieslandCampina has worked successfully with local farmers to increase the production of fresh milk in Vietnam.’

Locally produced fresh milk now makes up 19% of national milk production,’ international cooperation minister Ben Knapen said yesterday after visiting a model farm and a milk processing plant in southern Vietnam. Both are owned and managed by FrieslandCampina.

Dairy communities
FrieslandCampina aims not only to boost production, but to develop ‘dairy communities’, Mr Knapen was told. Through education and training, the company has already helped 3,000 small farmers meet quality and sustainability standards, and collaborate with arable farmers who produce animal feed. FrieslandCampina organises the collection, processing and distribution of milk throughout Vietnam: from grass to glass – no mean feat in such a large country.

Fresh milk
The average farmer in Vietnam has 10 cows. Farms are generally many hours drive from the nearest milk factory, which supplies some 120,000 shops. Fresh milk is not easy to come by in Vietnam. Three-fourths of all milk products are made from imported raw materials, like milk powder. Demand for fresh milk products far exceeds supply. So FrieslandCampina is working with Heus, Wageningen University and Fresh Studios to increase fresh milk production by setting up ‘dairy development zones’.

From aid to trade
Mr Knapen’s visit to FrieslandCampina concluded his visit to Vietnam. He was interested in how the shift from aid to trade is being made. The Netherlands will end its bilateral development relationship with Vietnam at the end of this year (which year?), in favor of an economic relationship built on the knowledge and experience gained from development co-operation, and the expertise of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation.

At the end of his visit, Mr Knapen flew to Tokyo where he will attend the World Bank Group’s annual meeting.

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Fresh Studio invited to speak at the Fresh Produce Malaysia event

KUALA LUMPUR – From the 15th till the 17th of March 2010, the Fresh Produce Malaysia trade conference will be organized in Kuala Lumpur.

This is Malaysia’s only international business and networking conference for the region’s fresh produce industry. The event is “a must-attend” for any business looking to explore the exciting procurement and marketing opportunities in the fresh produce sector of one of Asia’s strongest and most vibrant economies.

The organization committee of this event has asked Fresh Studio to speak about the emergence of new regional suppliers to Malaysia. During an exciting 20 minute presentation Siebe will highlight how much potential there is for growth in the intra-Asian fresh produce trade. Several cases will be presented regarding Fresh Studio’s professionalization of companies in Vietnam, in assisting them to become leading exporters in Southeast Asia.

For more information about this trade conference please visit:

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Fresh Produce Vietnam homes in on hot new market

HCMC – Vietnam is rapidly emerging as the next major market opportunity for the fresh fruit and vegetable business in Asia.

This much was very clear from last week’s Fresh Produce Vietnam, the first-ever international produce conference in the country, which was abuzz with news and networking focused on its exciting potential.

The three-day event, which met from 2-4 April in Ho Chi Minh City, attracted more than 150 delegates from 20 different countries, reflecting the global interest in Vietnam’s potential both as a supplier and as a consumer market.

Opening the conference, Dinh Van Huong, chairman of Vinafruit, outlined the government’s ambitious targets to boost fruit production from 7m tonnes to 10m tonnes by 2010 and to more than double export revenues to US$760m in the same period.

Dr Ngyuen Minh Chau of the Southern Fruit Research Institute pointed out that Vietnam’s capacity to supply a wide range of tropical and temperate fruits on a near year-round basis is a distinct advantage. The industry still faces major hurdles to fulfilling its potential, most notably the fragmented supply base of smallholders, he said, but two dragonfruit producers gained EurepGAP certification in 2006/07 and the launch of VietGAP this year should provide more suppliers with a platform to reach such standards.

Vietnam has also seen competition from China and Thailand intensify since free trade deals in 2003, and HortResearch’s Dr Michael Lay-Yee and Rabobank’s Brady Sidwell both underlined that the export market opportunity for Vietnam is focused on high-value products.

Vietnam’s burgeoning consumer market is also driving quality standards among local producers, and delegates heard how retailers like Metro Cash & Carry are helping to improve the supply chain by working directly with farmers.

Demand for imported fruits is also rising rapidly, and Vanguard’s Craig Stauffer said Vietnam represents a “phenomenal growth opportunity” with the scope to expand by 15-20 per cent annually. While the market opportunity for global suppliers has predominantly focused on a high-end niche to date, it is poised to become much bigger as tariffs are reduced, the economy forges ahead and modern food retail with refrigerated vending takes off, heard delegates.

The modern retail trade is still “very underdeveloped” in Vietnam compared with other countries in the region, according to The Nielsen Company’s Susan McDonald. Its share of total retail sales amounts to around 10 per cent, but it grew by 45 per cent last year with 72 new stores opened, and the modern trade could grab a 25 per cent share by 2010 as the market is set to open to 100 per cent foreign investment next year, she noted.

When it comes to buying fruit and vegetables, the wet market is still the preferred destination for Vietnamese consumers who tend to shop on a daily basis for fresh produce. Sigrid Wertheim-Heck of Fresh Studio Innovations Asia also highlighted deep and mounting food safety concerns among consumers following health scares. “They are very scared but have a low trust of guidance systems, and this shows the paradoxical consumer we’re dealing with,” she noted.

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Publication date: Oktober 2008

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Fresh Studio invited speaker at the World Potato Congress 2009

CHRISTCHURCH – The organization of the World Potato Congress 2009 invited Siebe van Wijk to present about creating value chains in Asia.

This conference is visited by 500 key players of the potato industry each year. The 7th World Congress will be in Christchurch, New Zealand from the 23rd until 25th of March 2009. For more information about the conference visit:

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