Convention: Business opportunities in the Vietnamese agricultural sector

Would you like to do business in Vietnam? Visit the RVO convention on 9 September and connect with Vietnamese buyers from the flower-, fruit and meat sector in the Hague, The Netherlands.

During the convention you will receive information about the opportunities in the Vietnamese market. The convention will finish with a speed date session and a networking reception. The main language during the convention will be English.

Visiting Vietnamese buyers

From 6 – 10 September a group of Vietnamese buyers of agricultural products will visit the Netherlands. They would like to get acquainted with the Dutch food production system and they are actively searching for potential business partners.

The delegation consists of participants from the flower-, fruit and meat sector. The purpose of their mission focuses especially on the quality and food safety of Dutch agricultural produce. During the convention you will have the opportunity to talk extensively with the Vietnamese delegation.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports entrepreneurs with ambitions beyond borders. Together with the international-based entrepreneurs the Ministry aims to strengthen the Dutch trade- and investments position abroad. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) is responsible for the implementation. organises this event together with the Dutch embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Focus on sectors

During the convention the focus will be on the following sectors:

  • Vegetables and fruit
  • Meat
  • Flowers, plants, bulbs and seeds

Việt Nam

Vietnam is an upcoming market with a growing middle-class and spending pattern. There is a growing demand for higher quality food which is guaranteed safe and traceable. The Vietnamese consumer is ready to pay a higher price for this promise. The country is not yet in a position to produce their own safe food. They depend on countries where food safety is already guaranteed, such as the Netherlands.

Visit the RVO Dutch country page to learn more about Việt Nam.


3 – 3.30 PM:

Welcome and registration

3.30 – 3.35 PM:

Opening word by mr. Arie Veldhuizen, Agricultural Councel Vietnam and Thailand, moderator

3.35 – 3.55 PM:

Introduction of the Vietnamese market with the focus on the agricultural sector by Ms. Sigrid Wertheim-Heck, Director Marketing and Business Development, Fresh Studio

3.55 – 4.10 PM:

Pitch about the Post-Harvest Network, Ms. Françoise van den Broek

4.10 – 4.25 PM:

Closing words by ms. Sara Knijff, Deputy Director European Agricultural policy and Food security (Europees Landbouwbeleid Voedselzekerheid)

4.25 – 5.30 PM:

Speed dating and network reception

You can register until 4 September at the latest for this convention. Register here

RVO (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland)
Prinses Beatrixlaan 2
2595 AL The Hague (Den Haag)

Hà Lan

Google Maps

Organising partners:
Dutch embassy Hanoi, Vietnam
Ministry of Foreign affairs
Ministry of Economic Affairs

Read more about the convention at (language: Dutch)

Sigrid Wertheim-Heck on ‘Pro-Poor Potato’ project in Vietnam

95% of Vietnam’s potatoes are grown in the Red River Delta, during the cool weather season when rice cannot be grown. Potato production is an excellent alternative to improve the local food security and increase the income of smallholder farmers. In the Central Highlands potatoes can be produced year-round. Therefore the Growing Out of Poverty with Potato project, managed by Fresh Studio, is located in exactly these areas.

In this FDOV-funded partnership Fresh Studio, PepsiCo, Agrico and Wageningen UR cooperate to establish more sustainable potato production systems in Vietnam. At the same time, the project aims to increase the consumer awareness about the nutritional value of potatoes. PPP Lab’s Marleen Brouwer interviewed Sigrid Wertheim-Heck (director Marketing and Business Development of Fresh Studio) about this inspiring partnership.

What are you currently working on in the project?

At this moment we are working on both the supply side as well as the demand side of potato sector development. On the supply side, the farmers are being introduced to new quality seed potatoes, combined with trainings on crop management and overall capacity development. We are also working on our hardware investment plan to introduce, among others, potato planting and harvesting machinery in the near future. Since most of the farmers in our project are women, we hope that the potato production work will become less labour-intensive and less time-consuming. Women have to combine household tasks with farming, and through machinery we aim to relieve some of the most arduous, physically strenuous farming tasks.

On the demand side, we are working on the adoption of new high quality Dutch potato varieties in the Vietnamese diet. The new high quality varieties aim to provide consumers with a better quality alternative to the current rather limited offer. However, varieties that might be a bit bigger, smoother or have a different colour are not automatically accepted. When we work with farmers we need to assist also the adoption of the distinct produce in the market. Since the demand for potatoes is higher than the supply, outcompeting other providers is not the case.

Lately we have done a baseline study, among 400 consumers in the north of Vietnam and 400 in the South, to learn more about today’s potato consumption and people’s knowledge about the nutritional value of potatoes. We repeated the study during the potato season to correct for potential seasonality bias. We see that consumers in the South have different preferences than in the North. In general potato is valued as a healthy product both in the South and in the North. Still there is an inherited association with potato as a “poor man’s food”. Our project tries to alter this perception by implementing awareness campaigns, both in urban and rural areas. We are even establishing taste labs, which is yet a quite unknown phenomenon in the agricultural sector of Vietnam.

What do you see as the biggest challenge within your project at this stage?

We have to work hard to make this PPP work and to implement all our planned activities, but actually we do not encounter any big issues. In my opinion, the project is doing really well. Important to add: we did not start from scratch when we received the subsidy. This is a major advantage. We are building upon potato research, which we previously conducted. Besides we already know the farmers, because our agronomy team works in the rural areas. Moreover, our relations with local governments and cooperatives are very good.

We have formally kicked off our activities in October 2014, and since then the implementation is progressing as expected. The farmers are enthusiastic about the project, and very willing to participate in the training and variety testing (which includes demonstration farms). Our aim is to include 70% female farmers, which seems feasible given the importance of women in potato production. This first season we have trained 500 farmers, the majority being women, of the totally targeted 2500 farmers.

In your opinion, what are the biggest pitfalls for PPPs in the FDOV subsidy framework?

Starting new projects in new project frameworks is always challenging. The start-up took a while, but it also aided a robust set-up and clear direction, which benefits the project in its operations and secures that ambitions can be met. Changes in personnel of RVO resulted in delays of communication and thus project progress, but currently this is running well. Another challenge is the physical distance between RVO in the Netherlands and the partnership in Vietnam. When developing projects over larger distances, it is sometimes hard to understand the specific local conditions. Lastly, the project has a duration of five years. Defining fixed outcomes, for example in terms of farmer income, might prove to have limited value over five years’ time. Many aspects may influence the outcomes, of which several might be external circumstances beyond control. We deem it important to keep a certain level of flexibility within projects to mitigate unforeseen circumstances, or be able to embrace unexpected beneficial conditions.

Are there subjects that you would like to discuss with other parties involved in PPPs?

All PPPs are run in another way, but I am curious to learn how other practitioners design and implement their projects. Cross-learning is crucial to make all PPPs better, and to improve the FDOV and FDW facilities for the sake of sustainable development. I would like to discuss with others how they do their research, how they train their farmers, but also how they manage their PPPs and how they do monitoring & evaluation. What works, what does not work, what can we do differently?

Is there anything that you would like to share with other PPP practitioners?

At Fresh Studio we have discovered that managing a FDOV PPP is a fulltime job. This is not just a project for on the side. It takes a lot of time and effort to do it right. Furthermore, PPPs have a proven value, but they are never a guarantee for success. It is always a means to get somewhere, and not a goal in itself. In our partnership we are committed to be innovative, and part of the innovation lies in interdisciplinary cooperation. It is important to keep on listening to each other, to truly learn from each other’s views and beliefs. We all come from different backgrounds; farmers, businessmen and researchers all have their own objectives. Therefore it is crucial to continuously manage expectations to make a PPP successful.

More information about the potato project can be found here.

Read the project profile including snapshot information about the partnership


Source: PPP Lab

Publication date: 2015

Developing the first safe, traceable and sustainable pork value chain of Vietnam

Vissan, De Heus and Fresh Studio have formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the first safe, traceable and sustainable pork value chain in Vietnam. The Ceremony was held on the 15th of August at the Vissan premises in HCMC.

The partnership between Vissan, De Heus and Fresh Studio has opened a united direction in the development strategy of the parties with the aim to bring to Vietnam safe and traceable pork products.

Accordingly, the parties will maximize their capability to establish a safe supply chain from farms, slaughterhouse to finished products and distributing to the market, in accordance with the TRACEPIG standards.

The “TRACEPIG” set of standards has been developed to guideline all parties involved in the production chain to follow a standardized procedure to obtain a high quality and safe pork. This is to answer growing concern of consumers about food safety, workers conditions, animal welfare and environmental protection.

All products will be labeled with traceable origin and do not contain chemical residues or pathogenic microorganisms that exceed the legal limits. Uniquely, all involved parties must also comply with the Animal Welfare module during the process of farming, transporting and slaughtering. In addition, TRACEPIG also integrate compliance with the Ethical Trading Initiative standard principles to ensure a fair working environment for all employees along the chain.

The following flow chart defines the roles of each party: 

Vissan is one of the leading enterprises in the food industry with specialization and business focus on production of chilled and frozen meat products, as well as processed foods from meat. With company strategic orientation is to approach the market through food quality and safety, Vissan has been implementing the closed process system in production, and continues to improve the efficiency and superior product quality. In addition, Vissan also actively cooperates with business partners and mobilizes the social resources to focus on the supply chain from production to processing as well as distribution.

DHFS – Safe Pork is a joint venture between De Heus LLC and Fresh Studio Innovations Asia to cooperate in creating the first safe and traceable value chain pork products in Vietnam. De Heus has over 100 years of experience worldwide in animal feed production and animal husbandry management. Meanwhile, Fresh Studio has possessed an insight and extensive experience in the fields of sourcing, market research and business development, and management and promotion of safe food products.

This signing event between Vissan and DHFS is the milestone for sustainable long-term cooperation between the three companies, in accordance with the Dutch – Vietnam subsidy cooperation program for farming, and it will contribute to the development of the food industry in particular and Vietnam agriculture in general.