Prime Minister Rutte and Minister Dijksma visiting Vietnam

The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte came for a visit to Vietnam on the 16th  and 17th  June 2014. He was accompanied by Minister for Agriculture Sharon Dijksma and a large Dutch business delegation. A key milestone of the visit was the signing of a Strategic Partnership Agreement on agriculture and food security between the Netherlands and Vietnam.

Minister Sharon Dijksma attended the Forum on Horticultural Cooperation and Development together with the Dutch business delegation. During the Forum, Fresh Studio Director of Marketing and Business Development, Sigrid Wertheim-Heck, delivered a presentation entitled ‘Supplying the market of Tomorrow’ with insights on Vietnam’s horticulture.

fresh-studio2‘Supplying the market of Tomorrow’
Speaker: Ms. Sigrid Wertheim-Heck
Fresh Studio
Download: English Tiếng Việt

Vietnam is challenged by major climate change issues, dependency on imported horticultural products during off season, concerns about food safety due to agro-chemical residue, micro-nutrition deficiencies, and the low level of technology in horticulture which results in unsustainable development. However, there are opportunities yet to be realized including a very large domestic market (90 million people), diversified climate conditions of production areas, and farmers’ willingness to adapt as long as they have access to technologies, training and finance. Vietnam is already an agriculture powerhouse for a large range of commodities, being in the top 3 of largest exporters in the world for products such as coffee, rice, seafood, cashew nuts, pepper etc. With the Vietnamese entrepreneurial spirit this can also be achieved in horticulture.

A consortium consisting out of Koppert, Rijk Zwaan, BVB Substrates, Svenson, Priva, Yara, Rabobank, Wageningen UR and coordinated by Fresh Studio, have brought their resources together to speed up the ambition of Vietnam to become a key supplier of fresh produce for urban Asia. The consortium will implement an innovative greenhouse development program in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Supported by the Transition Facilty of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, the consortium aims to accelerate the adoption of basic climate controlled plastic greenhouses by local farmers. By offering local farmers all knowledge, technologies, financing through local banks, and linkages to the market, an important step is made to make the 30,000 hectare vegetable production in the Central Highlands more productive and more sustainable.


^ Visiting modern supermarkets during the tour organized by Fresh Studio

As part of the visit programme, Fresh Studio coordinated a tour to modern supermarkets and traditional wet markets for the Dutch delegation. The tour provided the delegates with real life experience of Vietnamese urban retail and wholesale channels and an understanding of the retail modernization process.

Zespri® SunGold enters Vietnam: Feel the Power of the Sun

To introduce Zespri® SunGold kiwifruits to potential business customers, Fresh Studio organized two launching events in HCMC and Hanoi. These kick-offs are part of the marketing activities for New Zealand’s kiwifruit season 2014.

Zespri® SunGold is considered the strategic product of New Zealand kiwifruit under the brand name Zespri from this year in Vietnam. It has been developed based on the techniques of natural hybridization between different varieties of kiwifruit. The rich sources of nutrients like Vitamin C, fiber, folate and potassium make Zespri® SunGold a “Super fruit’. 

The launching events occurred on the first two weeks of June – as the start of the Zespri kiwifruit season. It attracted participants from all levels of sales channels ranging from importers, fruit wholesalers, supermarkets, shop owners and press.
The conference provided the participants with information about Zespri company, Zespri® SunGold, nutritional facts, and techniques to preserve and prepare the new variety for retail. The information presented can help business customers become more confident in successfully selling Zespri® SunGold.


^ Zespri® SunGold launching event in HCMC

Since 2009, Fresh Studio has cooperated closely with Zespri International Ltd. in managing the brands and contributed essentially to the thriving growth of kiwifruit consumption in Vietnam. Following the success of Zespri® Green and Zespri® Gold, Zespri® SunGold is on its way to capture the Vietnamese market.

Food safety in everyday life: Shopping for vegetables in a rural city in Vietnam

Sigrid Wertheim-Heck, Gert Spaargaren and Sietze Vellema conducted a research with the aim to investigate how Vietnamese citizens in their everyday lives are confronting the health risks and other side effects related to the consumption of fresh vegetables.

Concerns about food safety influence the way in which Vietnamese consumers confront the question of where, how and from whom they buy their fresh vegetables. In this paper we analyze in what manner and to what extent existing shopping practices inhibit the adoption of modern retail based food safety strategies. Using a social practices theory based approach; we analyze in detail the sales practices of sellers and the purchasing practices of consumers in a Vietnamese provincial city.

This study reveals how both sellers and buyers in wet-markets, Asian style fresh food markets, apply different sets of skills and knowledge, based on locality, personal contacts and private judgment, to match supply and demand in the context of food safety threats. Within the everyday practice of shopping for vegetables, trust is shown to be continuously reproduced along pre-given lines.

Consumers do not easily look outside or move beyond their existing routines even when food safety concerns would urge them to do so. From these findings we conclude that in situations where wet-markets serve as the dominant channel for distributing and purchasing fresh food, the efficacy of government and retail induced food safety strategies depends on their articulation within existing food purchasing routines of Vietnamese consumers.

Download the complete publication here

Improved market engagement for off-seasonal vegetable producers in North-West Vietnam

Moc Chau and Son La government agronomists and extension officers will start to join Fresh Studio, Northern Mountainous Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NOMAFSI) and  Hanoi University of Agriculture (HUA) in the monitoring of farmers.

The farmers participate in the project: Improved market engagement for counter-seasonal vegetable producers in North West Vietnam. The engagement of Moc Chau and Son La governments is part of 1) handing over project activities to local stakeholders and 2) developing a certification system to produce and market Moc Chau vegetables under a trademark.

One of the objectives of the project is to evaluate the economic potential and improve the current supply chain model. This model is introduced in 3 villages in Moc Chau, Vietnam: An Thai, Ta Niet and Tu Nhien. In order to achieve this objective, farmers are participating in trainings executed by experts from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), NOMAFSI, HUA, Fruits and Vegetables Research Institute (FAVRI) and Fresh Studio. After 3 years, the supply chain model is working and getting stronger. Farmer groups are now supplying and coordinating directly to the retailers.


^ Reviewers together with project team inspect the fields of potential farmers

Initially, the project focused mainly on supplying Hanoi market with safe vegetables during the off-season (March-November). However, due to a constant volume and improving quality of Moc Chau vegetables, Hanoi retailers are more than willing to purchase vegetable from Moc Chau whole year round.

The project will continue to train and support the local stakeholders until 2015. For the coming months, strengthening the farmer groups in the 3 core project villages is top priority together with registration and implementing control and monitoring of the trademark and logo. By the end of the project, farmers together with the local government of Moc Chau and Son La province will take over and continue the activities in supplying certified Moc Chau vegetables under one certification trademark.

Potato trials planted in North Vietnam and the Central Highlands

As part of a project of NAK AGRO to strengthen the Vietnamese seed potato production sector Fresh Studio is carrying out potato trials in North Vietnam and in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

Potato is an important crop in Vietnam of which the current annual demand is surpassing the annual produced volume. One reason for this is that the established seed potato production sector in Vietnam is not well-organized. This results in poor availability of good quality potato seeds for farmers, which in the end is limiting the current potato production potential in Vietnam.

Since 2011, NAK AGRO is implementing a project in order to strengthen the Vietnamese seed potato production sector. As part of this project local authorities are trained in the production and inspection of seed potatoes. To support these training activities and to identify potential potato varieties to produce in Vietnam, Fresh Studio is performing potato trials in North Vietnam and the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The potato varieties will be harvested in 2014.

Fresh Studio promotes Vietnam Dairy Dialogue initiative

HANOI – The dairy sector in Vietnam has developed progressively over the past decades with an annual increase of over 10% in terms of both milk production and herd size. In order to create a long-term sustainable development of the sector, innovative approaches and multidisciplinary joint-efforts are required.

Fresh Studio, on behalf of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, organized the first dairy dialogue titled “Vietnam Dairy Sector Dialogue – towards sustainable farming development” on December 4 in Sofitel Plaza Hanoi. The event aimed to assemble all main actors of the Vietnamese dairy sector around the table in order to find common ground to work together on how to further increase the quantity of locally produced milk while giving full considerations to quality and sustainability issues. 

The dialogue attracted over 50 dairy actors ranging from milk processors, governmental departments and other key stakeholders as input providers and research institutions.

For sustainable development of the dairy sector in Vietnam, both Mr. Vu Van Tam, the Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and Mr. Joop Scheffers, Ambassador of the Netherlands in Vietnam, emphasized the importance of the Vietnamese dairy dialogue. These presentations were followed by two keynote speeches: an overview of the Vietnamese dairy sector by the deputy director of Livestock Department of MARD, and the challenges for sustainable dairy sector development by Fresh Studio’s Senior Agriculture Consultant, Vo Van Phong.


fresh-studio2Mapping the challenges for Sustainable Dairy Development in Vietnam
Speaker: Mr. Vo Van Phong
Fresh Studio
Download: English Tiếng Việt

This first dialogue has produced fruitful results. All attendants acknowledge the need for a regular Vietnam dairy platform to discuss the challenges stakeholders face when working on sustainable solutions. Therefore, an interim steering committee, led by MARD, and three technical working groups have been established with allocated members and preliminary tasks. The steering committee and the technical working groups will work together on the agreed topics during the next six month after which the second dialogue will be held. FrieslandCampina Vietnam has agreed to organize this second dairy dialogue in June 2014.


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Vietnam flower market scan and flower production visit

HCMC – Royalty Administration International and Fresh Studio executed a market scan of the flower market in HCMC and visited the flower production areas in Da Lat to determine which flower types and varieties are produced and sold in Vietnam.

The insights will be used to advise clients how to develop their products in the Vietnamese flower market.

In HCMC Royalty Administration International and Fresh Studio visited the largest flower wholesale markets (Ho Thi Ky, Dam Sen and Binh Dien), local flower shops and retailers selling flower to get a clear picture of the flower types and varieties sold through these sales channels. It is estimated that around 5 billion stems of flowers are consumed in Vietnam on a yearly basis and most flower are sold through flower stalls at the local markets and local flower shops. The main flower type sold in Vietnam is Chrysanthemum. Old varieties are still mainly sold, but there is an increasing demand in newer varieties with nicer colors and quality.

In Da Lat flower farmers and plant cutting propagators were visited. It is estimated that there is currently 2,000 hectares of greenhouse flower production surrounding Da Lat and this area is still expanding. Most farmers are obtaining their plant material from local propagators. These propagators use tissue culture techniques to produce the initial plant cuttings used for further multiplication. At farmer side and propagator side there is an increasing demand for better varieties, which have higher disease resistance, quality and production. For farmers and plant propagators it remains a challenge to have direct access to new flower varieties.

For more information contact Royalty International Administration or Fresh Studio.Also interesting to read:

Crossing continents: Business opportunities in Japan and Vietnam

AMSTERDAM – What are the opportunities for Dutch businesses in Japan and Vietnam? On what do you need to pay attention when entering these markets? Siebe van Wijk, shared Fresh Studio’s perspective on business opportunities in Vietnam during a seminar ‘Crossing Continents’. A seminar organized by Financieel Dagblad on the 5th of November in Amsterdam.

Vietnam is growing rapidly. Currently, Vietnam’s population reaches 90 million. The spending budget is low; approximately 20% of the population lives below the poverty line. However, due to almost 20 years of consecutive economic growth between 5-7% per year, more and more money is spent on higher value added products. This offers many opportunities for Dutch companies.

Since 2006 Fresh Studio has worked passionately to assist multinationals and domestic clients to improve all practices from farm to fork. Fresh Studio inspires their clients with refreshing insights into their sourcing, quality assurance and marketing opportunities. 

During the seminar, Rens de Jong, journalist of Business News Radio, interviewed Siebe van Wijk.

“What is the biggest challenge of doing business in Vietnam?”
Siebe: “For a consulting and R&D firm based in Vietnam and with many international clients, the main challenge is “the hunt for talent”. As a Fresh Studio consultant it is essential to add value to multinationals which are already operating in Vietnam. Therefore, only the most talented people are recruited to join the Fresh Studio team. Despite this challenge, we developed a multi-disciplinary and international. What started in 2006 with just 3 people has now become a firm with over 100 staff.”

“What makes Vietnam so interesting for a Dutch entrepreneur”
Siebe: “With around 90 million people, Vietnam’s domestic market is booming (the 14th largest nation in the world). Vietnam is strategically located in Asia: Vietnam borders with China, it takes only 2 days to ship products to mega cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore, and it is 5 days shipping from Japan. Furthermore, Vietnam is an active member of ASEAN. This is a kind of ‘EU for Southeast Asian nations’ with a joint market over 500 million consumers and tariffs for intra ASEAN trade of 0%. Finally, Vietnam is attractive for Dutch businesses, because in many sectors it is possible to have a 100% foreign-owned company. This is in contrast with many other Asian countries where foreign ownership of companies is restricted to percentages below 50%.”

Crossing continents; an exciting step to take!Also interesting to read:

The Netherlands, Vietnam enhance agricultural cooperation

HANOI – Dutch Deputy Minister for Agriculture Hans Hoogeveen together with representatives of prestigious corporations and companies in the high-tech agricultural sector, such as Greenport Holland, Incotec and Fresh Studio on the occasion of the visit to Vietnam said, “The Netherlands will actively support Vietnam in selecting and growing fruit and vegetables in greenhouse, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, lettuce, eggplant and kohlrabi.

In addition, the Netherlands will also help Vietnam apply advanced techniques in agricultural production in order to improve Vietnam’s fruit and vegetables.”

Dutch Deputy Minister for Agriculture Hans Hoogeveen also said that Vietnam had a diverse climate. Therefore, the cultivation of many different varieties of fruit and vegetables, especially high quality fruit-trees, such as oranges, tangerines, durians, pineapples, bananas, mango and dragon fruit would meet the demands of both domestic and foreign consumers. He also highly appreciated the efforts of Vietnam in the development of VietGAP-certified products and fruit-vegetable exports to the US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

“Vietnam has implemented a number of cooperation projects with developed countries and international organizations, such as the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to research and develop new varieties of fruit and vegetables. However, cooperation between the Netherlands and Vietnam in the near future will help Vietnam access advanced agricultural production techniques in order to improve added value chain for Vietnamese fruit and vegetables,” Hans Hoogeveen said.

Exchanging genetic resources for use in the breeding process; supporting preservation and processing technologies; sharing regional and international market information and experiences in researching and developing fruit-trees will be major objectives of the Dutch-Vietnamese cooperation in the near future.

Read the complete article at



Language: English

Publication date: August 2013Also interesting to read:

Knapen: Growth market for sustainable food in Vietnam

HANOI – ‘The demand for sustainable and safe food is growing in Vietnam, and the spending power for such products has increased.

This creates opportunities for Vietnamese farmers and Dutch entrepreneurs, who are internationally renowned for their expertise in sustainable agricultural methods,’ development cooperation minister Ben Knapen said on Tuesday after visiting a sustainable vegetable producer near the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

The minister is paying a working visit to Vietnam to witness the transition from aid to trade and investment. Vietnam has an economic growth rate of around 5%, and is one of the three developing countries where the Netherlands is deploying knowledge and experience accumulated through development cooperation for economic diplomacy.

The minister visited a sustainable vegetable farm, established with the help of development funding as well as with private financial support by specialists from the Dutch food chain company Fresh Studio. He spoke with women who have been trained to cultivate 18 types of high-quality vegetables without excessive use of pesticides. The women produce vegetables such as amaranth, choy sum, cucumber, aubergine, kang kong, kohlrabi and spinach on their smallholdings, destined for the Vietnamese market.

The successful vegetable chain is now financially independent, and each day supplies large volumes of safe, fresh vegetables to the population of Hanoi. Fresh Studio currently has plans, together with PepsiCo and (on the Dutch side) HZPC, Wageningen UR and Agrico, to devise a new sustainable food chain for potatoes. Mr Knapen has asked the company to elaborate on these plans, and to send them to NL Agency for a final assessment.

Mr Knapen also visited the deputy foreign minister, Bui Thanh Son. Topics of discussion included bilateral ties, cooperation and dialogue between the European Union and Vietnam in various fields, including human rights. The World Bank’s annual meeting was also discussed. On Wednesday Mr Knapen will travel to Ho Chi Minh City to learn about flooding and water management problems there.

Source: www.rijksoverheid.nlAlso interesting to read: