Vietnamese farmers and enterprises should be prepared for a larger playing field: Agriculture minist

Vietnam has been given the green light to export bird’s nests to China as well as pomelos and limes to New Zealand. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan has spoken with the media about the potential and opportunity of Vietnamese agricultural goods in large markets.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan.

Q: What is the significance of the protocol on exporting Vietnamese bird’s nests to China, as signed between the two countries, to Vietnam’s bird’s nest industry?

A: The protocol was signed first by the Chinese side and then sent to Vietnam for us to sign. China is arguably the largest bird’s nest consumer in the world, accounting for 80% of the global market. In the meantime, Vietnam has plentiful of favourable conditions to develop the industry such as a long coast with many bays and lagoons.

One side is a large market, and the other side has many advantages in swiftlet farming. So, in the past three years, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has built a strategy to develop the bird’s nest industry and export its products to China. After three years of painstaking efforts, we have succeeded in signing the protocol on exporting bird’s nests to China through the official channel.

In my opinion, when we tap into this large market, the bird’s nest industry will be restructured and create higher value, resulting in higher incomes for swiftlet farmers and bird’s nest processing companies.

Q: Following the signing of the protocol, what should swiftlet farming households do now?

A: After the protocol was signed, I directed the relevant agencies to organise a conference to provide the bird’s nest industry and swiftlet farmers in key localities with full information about market requirements, origin tracing and food safety.

In order to advance farther, we need to go together to ensure the quality and meet the Chinese market’s requirements. Recently, there has been unhealthy competition between domestic export enterprises, so I want to emphasise again that the Chinese market is big enough for all of us.

In the longer term, we will restructure the bird’s nest industry and adopt digital transformation so that we can control everything and build confidence of the Chinese consumers and market.

Q: Besides bird’s nests, Vietnamese pomelos and limes have also been officially permitted for export to New Zealand. What do you think about this?

A: New Zealand does not have a big population, at about 5 million, but their income is relatively high. The opening of access for the two Vietnamese tropical fruits that New Zealand did not have previously is a great opportunity for Vietnamese agricultural goods.

We assess a market by not only its population but also its quality, that is the demand for agricultural goods highly favoured by consumers. Like other agricultural goods, we must be transparent and take control of all processes. We not only sell agricultural goods but also promote the image of Vietnam. It is the stepping stone for other trade opportunities between the two countries and the market opening for other agricultural products.

Thank you very much.