Vietnam, Netherlands target sustainable agri-business development

09:00 | 27/01/2021 Cooperation

(VEN) - Fruitful bilateral cooperation in agriculture, water and circular economy, particularly in the Mekong Delta, was highlighted at the Netherlands – Vietnam Sustainable Business Event held in Ho Chi Minh City on January 25.

vietnam netherlands target sustainable agri business development

The concluding networking event of the Mekong Delta Mission (December 01 to 04, 2020) honored distinctive projects and collaborations.

It offered a platform for Dutch and Vietnamese businesses and experts from focused sectors to look for creative and innovative solutions as well as identify business opportunities.

The event began with the singing of a Letter of Intent on the establishment of the Netherlands – Vietnam Business Platform for the Mekong Delta (The Platform).

Signatories to this document were: the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality; the Top Sector (Water, Logistics, Agro Food, Horticulture & Starting Materials); and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce & Industry Branch in Can Tho City (VCCI Can Tho).

The Platform was established to stimulate business development in the Mekong Delta with a focus on sustainable water management, agro-water technology, and logistics. It will also identify business opportunities through the public private partnership model through 2030.

Participants agreed that since effective partnerships and comprehensive integrated planning cannot happen without financing, the mobilization of alternative financial resources from the private sector, rather than solely from the government, had to be prioritized.

Another highlight of the event was the launching of the Sustainable Citrus Chain Empowering and Developing Smallholders in the Mekong Delta (SUCCEEDS) project.

With an investment of USD 2 million from the Dutch government and an equal amount from the Dutch private sector, the project aims to make the citrus sector in the Mekong Delta more sustainable and efficient by reducing the negative impacts of agro-chemicals on the environment.

It also seeks to make the sector more profitable for 150,000 citrus small-holders in the area; by developing a sustainable citrus value chain – in which the local farmers will be contracted and supported in combination with the private sector’s extension system, fertilizer advisory service, virus-free citrus seedlings and financial support program. The aim is to deliver a 50% increase in income for the sector.

The five-year project was signed by The Fruit Republic, Can Tho University and Long An Province’s Ben Luc District.

vietnam netherlands target sustainable agri business development

Other project launchings and project introductions at the event included: Quality Improvement Tropical Fruit Vietnam; Orange Knowledge Program: Towards a Climate Resilient Nursery Sector and Value Chain in the Mekong Delta; River Training and Management in the Mekong Delta; Water Retention in the Mekong Delta; and the Cai Mep Ha Logistics Center & Downstream Cai Mep Ha Port.

Breakthrough solutions

The event also honored five project winners of the Agro-Water Solutions for the Mekong Delta Contest that got Dutch and Vietnamese knowledge institutions and businesses to work together for breakthrough solutions addressing challenges facing the Mekong Delta.

Dealing with Saline Water: Desalination of the root to improve crop production using deep drainage – proposed by Witteveen+Bos, Deltares and Barth Drainage.

Flood-based System: Let It Float, Let It Hold, Let It Grow – proposed by Clear Rivers, HZ University, Hogeschool Arnhem Nijmegen, and Institute for Circular Economy Development – Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh, Kim Delta and Can Tho University.

Water Storage System: Water from Heaven – proposed by Water Innovation Consulting, Wageningen University & Research and Can Tho University.

Water Efficiency: The Mekong Water Custodian – proposed by Carthago Consultancy B.V., ICED – VNU-HCM, IHE Delft.

Improving Water Quality: Smart Integrated Surface/ Ground Water Supply Management – proposed by Deltares, Southern Institute for Water Resources Planning, Division for Water Resources Planning and Investigation for the South of Vietnam, Witteveen+Bos.

The above project proposals will be further elaborated into business cases and integrated in the Mekong Delta Platform.

The Netherlands – Vietnam Sustainable Business Event for the Mekong Delta reaffirmed the solid cooperation and friendship between Netherlands and Vietnam.

It was stressed that with its proactive contribution through innovative solutions to climate resilience, a sustainable and climate resilient Mekong Delta was no longer a plan but a joint movement for realization.

Major challenges

The Mekong Delta faces many challenges including climate change, salt intrusion, land subsidence and clean water shortage that affect the regional economy and livelihoods of the people.

Climate change adaptation, sustainable agriculture and water management, food security, renewable energy and circular economy play crucial roles for the green and resilient growth of the Mekong Delta, event participants said.

The Netherlands have been Vietnam’s leading partner – both in the public and private sectors – in moving towards the realization of a sustainable and climate resilient Mekong Delta.

The Netherlands and Vietnam have been implementing the Strategic Partnership Arrangement on Climate

Change Adaptation and Water Management (since 2010) and the Strategic Partnership Arrangement on

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security (since 2014). These are over-arching umbrella structures for all

existing and new areas of cooperation in the aforementioned fields.

The bilateral cooperation has become even more robust after the ratification of the Europe – Vietnam Free

Trade Agreement (EVFTA) – with growing volume of agro products transported between the two countries.

My Phung