With its knowledge and experience in agriculture, the Netherlands is eager to join hands with Vietnam to improve the quality and efficiency of its agriculture, a business forum on Agriculture-Innovation in Vietnam heard in Ho Chi Minh City on March 20.
Dutch Vice Minister for Agriculture Marjolijn Sonnema said the Netherlands and Vietnam are very similar countries as both have deltas and are major producers and exporters of agricultural products.
She is leading a trade mission comprising 20 Dutch companies and knowledge institutions to Vietnam from March 20 to 23 to explore business opportunities.
In 2014 the two countries signed a Strategic Partnership Arrangement to create a framework for long-term cooperation in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security.
|Eduard Hoeberichts, CEO of Fabmax, and Dr Le Hoai Quoc, president of the Saigon High Tech Parks sign an agreement to assist SHTP Labs produce and distribute power FET devices in Vietnam.
Many Dutch companies are operating in Vietnam and “many other Dutch companies and institutions intend to trade foods and exchange knowledge and technology with Vietnam,” Marjolijn said.
“Hopefully we can continue our trading tradition and make it even more beautiful by cooperating on knowledge and technology, which can help a lot to improve quality and efficiency in agriculture.”
Tom Kompier of the Dutch embassy in Hanoi said the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta plays an important role in Vietnam’s agricultural production, but is facing challenges, including vulnerability to climate change, changes in river flows, sea-level rise, salinity, land subsidence and construction of upstream dams.
Saving the delta from climate change, upstream developments and unsustainable practices is ultimately a question of agricultural development, which requires a large-scale transformation of current practices, major investment and providing farmers with knowledge of markets, he said.
The forum also saw presentations on various topics such as possible high-yield crops in salty and dry soil like in the delta, sustainable pepper production in Binh Phuoc province and demand for education in the agricultural sector.
According to an executive of the East West Seed Company, the agricultural sector needs to increase production by 70% to feed the world population, which is expected to increase to nine billion by 2050.
At the event, Dutch and Vietnamese companies signed four memoranda of understanding for cooperation in various sectors.
Fabmax, which specialises in semi-conductor and related solutions, TU Delft, one of the world’s top-ranking engineering universities, and the Saigon Hi-Tech Park Labs signed an agreement to support the engineering team of SHTP Labs in the production and distribution of power FET devices in Vietnam.
Deep Arctic Water BV and Phuong Nam Landscape Co. Ltd signed a MoU for technology and knowledge transfer and the roll-out of sustainable, high-tech, affordable, scalable and cost-effective circular agro systems.
Two other agreements were signed between Control Union and Institute of Organic Agricultural Economics and between TEN ID and IDV for introducing and certifying international standards in the agricultural value chain and helping the Mekong Delta shrimp industry achieve sustainability.
Bilateral trade is growing steadily. In 2015, Vietnam’s exports increased by 42% and imports by 37%. The Netherlands is Vietnam’s second largest trade partner and the largest investor in the EU.