11:00 | 15/04/2017 Society
(VEN) - The visit to Vietnam of a Dutch business delegation headed by the Netherlands Vice Minister for Agriculture, Marjolijn Sonnema, opened up opportunities to strengthen trade relations between the two countries.
A food secure future The March 20-23 visit took place on the occasion of the ASEAN+6 Regional Conference in Hanoi entitled “Let’s Get to Work - Building a Food Secure Future”. The conference was organized by the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Netherlands’ Ministry of Economic Affairs in close coordination with the World Bank, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, Grow Asia, ASEAN Network and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The conference was aimed at engaging the participation of high-level delegations, prompted by a sense of urgency over climate change and a growing demand for high-quality food. Vietnam, specifically, has taken on the Zero Hunger challenge to transform its agriculture into a more resilient, productive and sustainable economic sector for the benefit of all.
The conference focused on reducing food waste and food losses in order to meet sustainable development goals. By setting the stage and taking the initiative, Vietnam hopes the conference will result in real advances in translating policy into concrete action.
During the conference, Vietnam introduced two projects: reducing food losses through post-harvest interventions, and promoting sustainable aquaculture to counter over-fishing and biodiversity loss.
Promoting agricultural cooperation The Dutch business delegation represented a mix of companies that are new to Vietnam and those that have prior experience of doing business in the country. The cooperation agreements signed during the visit are based on a shared vision of a sustainable future where economies thrive and the environment is fully preserved.
Vietnam and the Netherlands signed a strategic partnership agreement in sustainable agriculture and food security in 2014, involving Dutch help in responding to climate change, among other things.
Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nguyen Xuan Cuong, noted after meeting with Marjolijn Sonnema that the Netherlands has agricultural development potential despite its small size of only four million sq.km.
Thanks to advantages in expertise, technology, and transferable skills, the Netherlands has become an agricultural export powerhouse of many varied famous products - tulip flowers, milk products and potatoes, to name a few.
Thai Huong, the board chairwoman of the TH Food Chain Joint Stock Company, said the company is investing in a high-tech agriculture project in Thai Binh Province, covering a total area of 3,000ha. She expressed her hope that Sonnema and the business delegation would introduce partners to the company to promote cooperation in seed production in order to serve domestic demand and exports.
“The company is willing to cooperate with Rijk Zwaan, a leading plant breeding company in the Netherlands. In addition, Vietnam annually imports many different varieties of potatoes, so the company wants to promote cooperation in seed production to reduce imports,” Thai Huong said.
Thai Binh People’s Committee Chairman Nguyen Hong Dien said the province has achieved success in agricultural development and new rural area building. However, scientific and technological content in agricultural production remains low. Therefore, the province is determined to create a breakthrough by expanding high-value agricultural models, establishing high-tech agriculture, attracting more investment in agriculture, organizing human resource training, and promoting tourism in rural areas.
Nguyen Hong Dien pledged to create the most favorable conditions for businesses investing in agricultural production in the province. On April 8, 2017, the province will hold an investment promotion program in agriculture.
Therefore, he hoped that businesses participating in this conference will have concrete cooperation agreements to promote high-tech agricultural development in the province.
Sonnema promised to send a commercial counselor of the Netherlands Embassy in Vietnam to attend the promotion program in Thai Binh Province, and to create favorable conditions for the two business communities to strengthen trade and investment cooperation.
Vice Minister for Agriculture of the Netherlands, Marjolijn Sonnema:
Vietnam and the Netherlands are natural partners. Both are world-class players in the export of agricultural products. Both are coastal states in strategic locations. And as delta countries, we both face the challenge of climate change, especially in terms of agriculture water management.