Crop protection sector study Netherlands-Vietnam

If you are interested in the Vietnamese market for alternatives to agrochemicals, the study on Vietnamese crop protection sector (performed on behalf of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency) will give you valuable insights. 

©Image courtesy: Larive International

The use of agrochemicals in the Vietnamese horticulture sector

Vietnam is facing serious challenges concerning the amount and toxicity of the pesticides used in horticulture. Improper use of pesticides by farmers (including excessive dosages, cocktailing of pesticides, inadequate pre-harvest intervals) has contributed to environmental and health problems. Increasing imports of newly formulated (and safer) pesticides have not yet replaced or reduced highly toxic pesticides with low efficacy. According to general calculations, promoting organic agriculture would help Vietnamese agricultural products increase in value by 1.5-1.8 times as compared to conventional production.

The Vietnamese market is expected to professionalize and increase horticultural export. Market opportunities include the increasing consumer demand for safe food, grower’s demand for technological advancement and active government support. Furthermore, the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) eliminates import tariffs and lifts existing market access barriers.

The Dutch market for alternatives to agrochemicals

Unlike chemical or synthetic products, biological products (‘biologicals’) are comprised of naturally occurring materials, often living organisms. The Netherlands has extensive expertise in biological crop protection, biofertilizers, biostimulants and (farming) methods to reduce the usage of agrochemicals. As such, the Dutch private and public sector may be well-positioned to help Vietnam deliver tangible results in improving the responsible use of crop protection products. Collaboration between parties, as well as knowledge sharing and demonstrations are essential for successful market entry in Vietnam.

Several Dutch companies are considered world-class, both in the biologicals segment and equipment manufacturing business. Equipment manufacturers and greenhouse construction companies are important aspects in reducing the need for agrochemicals, as closed systems reduce the risk of diseases compared to an open field. Dutch companies or companies with an office in the Netherlands, active in the biologics segment, include:

  • Bio control agents: Benfried, Biobest (Belgium and NL), Entocare, Koppert, Nufarm (Benelux), Valto, and Van Iperen.
  • Biofertilizers: Bio-Kultura, Biocompig, BVB Substrates, De Ceuster Meststoffen, Ferm o Feed (Den Ouden Group), Grodan, Komeco Organic Fertilizers.
  • Biostimulants: Axia Vegetable Seeds, Bejo, Enza, Incotec, Onings Holland Flower Bulbs, Rijk Zwaan.

Overcoming market barriers

At present, the professionalization of the Vietnamese horticulture sector is restrained by limited knowledge of integrated pest management (IPM). This limits the uptake of alternatives to agrochemicals and makes it difficult for growers to perceive the need to invest in technological advancements. Other barriers for Dutch companies looking to advance their business in Vietnam include the relatively small-scale farms and low level of technology, as well as restrictions on the import of products.

An important step, to reduce the use of agrochemicals in Vietnam, is to enable interested Dutch companies to collaborate on entering the Vietnamese market. Several Dutch companies are eager to collaborate in advancing the Vietnamese horticulture sector. They perceive a largely unfulfilled demand, and therefore less fear of competition and a large growth opportunity. Through collaboration in a consortium or PPP, companies from different parts of the value chain can offer one complete solution to Vietnamese growers and help growers see the effects of improved methods through demonstrations. Training programs and demonstrations will lift the knowledge level (both in growing techniques and post-harvest), which will naturally lead to an increased uptake of biologicals and technology.

Many Vietnamese inhabitants have severely struggled with the strict lockdown and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. At present, there are still travel restrictions and obligatory quarantine measures due to the pandemic. Business and trade are experiencing a setback, after which a full recovery is expected. Businesses are advised to follow the latest developments and to be considerate of what local businesses and people have been through.

Learning more

This study has been performed on behalf of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency by Larive International B.V, a Netherlands-headquartered business development advisory firm specialized in assisting companies in developing and implementing their market entry or expansion strategies in(to) high-growth emerging markets. This study has been conducted between August and October of 2021. Please contact the Embassy via han-lnv@minbuza.nl to request the full report or Florine Kremer (florine.kremer@larive.com ) for additional information on the study.

Please feel invited to contact The Agricultural Team at the Embassy in Hanoi/Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh city for further information or any agro-related question you might have.

Contact details

Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

BIDV Tower, 7F, 194 Tran Quang Khai street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi, Vietnam

T: +84 24 3831 5650

E: han-lnv@minbuza.nl

Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon Tower, Suite 901, 29 Le Duan Blvd, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

T:  +84 28 3823 5932