Positioning Vietnamese organic food in global market

Food safety is a growing concern for consumers and the demand for high-quality organic food is increasing.

Boosting production

According to the Vietnam Organic Agriculture Association (VOAA), Vietnamese people consume about 1.7 million euros worth of organic food annually. Nearly 80 domestic companies have been certified by the EU as manufacturers of organic food and beverage products, such as Vinamit, Vinamilk, TH True Milk, ST24 rice, Trung An rice, Luong Quoi rice, and Betrimex.

Vietnamese organic food labels meet international standards set by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the EU and the Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS). The labels also provide geographical indications of organic products. Vietnamese organic food producers are taking necessary steps to prepare for the labeling of locally made organic food products meeting national standards that will come into force later this year.

The Ministry of Science and Technology plans to create a framework for control of the production, processing and labeling of organic farm produce. National organic standards will require organic production and processing facilities to be certified.

Accessing global market

Specializing in rice products, the Bich Chi Food Joint Stock Company in Dong Thap Province recently received an organic certification from the USDA. The certification enables the company to sell organic rice paper in the US at double the price of inorganic products.

The Trung An Hi-tech Farming Joint Stock Company in the city of Can Tho has exported organic rice at good prices to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The company currently has 100ha of organic rice certified as meeting international standards. While inorganic rice is exported at prices below US$400 per tonne, organic rice is exported at US$2,000-3,000 per tonne, and importer demand for Vietnamese organic rice is high. Moreover, inorganic rice is sold in containers or 50kg bags, while organic rice is exported under Vietnamese brands.

The Vien Phu Joint Stock Company in Ca Mau Province has successfully exported its Hoa Sua-brand organic rice to the UK. Ecotiger has also exported organic rice under its Ecorice brand to Canada, the US and the EU. Although domestic producers of organic food are carving growing niches in the global market, they need help from trade promotion agencies to seek new export markets.

The Business Association of High-quality Vietnamese Products recently coordinated with the Vietnamese trade office in Thailand to send representatives of 30 Vietnamese companies to participate in ThaiFex - World of Food Asia, an international trade exhibition for food and beverages, food technology and retail and franchise in Asia. The Vietnamese delegation displayed an “organic and natural village” presenting dried fruit, rice, processed coconuts, organic milk and products with geographical indications, such as Phu Quoc fish sauce, Binh Phuoc cashew nuts and Ben Tre grapefruits, attracting great attention of businesses from other countries.

By Thao Ngoc / VEN