10:27 | 17/11/2016 Trade
Developing a national brand name is an urgent need for improving the competitiveness of Vietnamese rice, heard a recent conference in HCM City.
Illustrative image (Photo: vietnamnet.vn)
The fourth rice symposium, organised by Vietnam Economic Times with support from Bayer Vietnam and titled “How to enhance Vietnam rice quality and brand positioning to meet market needs” gathered more than 150 experts and officials from Government agencies and representatives of rice trading companies.
Experts told the conference that Vietnamese rice has been exported to over 80 markets including Southeast Asia, the US, Japan, Africa, and the Middle East.
But in recent years exports were not stable and were diminishing due to the lack of clear plans to develop global trademarks for its rice.
Dao The Anh, Director of the Centre for Agrarian Systems Research and Development, told the conference that without national brands, Vietnamese rice was often packaged with the name of exporting companies or importing countries.
Even in the domestic market, Vietnamese rice varieties are less competitive than those imported from neigbouring countries, according to Anh. Some companies have started to build their own brands, but these are yet to become well-known.
It is now imperative to have a national brand name.
Huynh Van Nghiep, Deputy Director of the Mekong Delta Rice Research Institution, said the advantage of low labour costs no longer existed. Production costs kept increasing while rice prices were down due to problems related to quality and trademark.
Besides ensuring quality, expanding the distribution system and improving packaging, Vietnam should also develop a national brand name for rice, he stressed.
The gathered experts agreed that the brand name for Vietnamese rice must be based on quality.
Speaking about how to create Vietnamese rice brand names, Kohei Sakata, general director of Bayer Vietnam said: “The missing part now, from my perspective, is to really make sure that the quality is as high as required in other markets. We also need to ensure equal quality across different farms and sectors. So in order to achieve high quality at an equal level in many places, the value chain needs to be close to each other.”
Nghiep said it was a big challenge to develop a national brand for Vietnamese rice. It needs co-operation among various sectors and companies and a clear plan. He suggested having national standards for each rice category, saying from that there would be studies to develop them. Various rice strains should be planted in different areas with different technologies to produce rice of quality that meets international standards. Food hygiene standards should also be created, he said.
Along with these, the experts said, there should be co-operation among companies to avoid small scale of production.
This year Vietnam has been facing many challenges and heightened concerns over the Mekong Delta’s future due to an extremely severe drought which resulted in higher salinity levels in the delta as seawater intruded unusually deep into rivers./.