Japan will support Vietnam in building a high-quality agriculture production chain, the products of which will be qualified to enter the Japanese market, a minister of the East Asian country has stated.
The chain will cover every aspect from production and processing to transportation and distribution, Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, told VnExpress newspaper during his visit to Vietnam from June 24 to 26.
The Japanese minister was in Vietnam to realize the agreements reached between the two countries’ agriculture ministries during Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang’s visit to Japan in March.
The two countries will implement specific cooperative programs to set up the high-quality agriculture chain, Yoshimasa said.
The cooperation is aimed at helping Vietnam adapt effective and hi-tech agriculture production and increase the value of its produce, he added.
Vietnam has the potential to attract investments in both the agricultural and industrial sectors, given its stable economic growth in the last ten years and its young workforce, Yoshimasa remarked.
The Vietnamese economy expanded at an average pace of five to six percent over the last decade, while 60 percent of the population are under 30, according to the minister.
During the first phase of the bilateral agricultural cooperation, Japan will focus on products such as shrimp and coffee, which have been increasingly exported to the East Asian country, Yoshimasa said.
The minister emphasized that Vietnamese businesses must try to ensure food safety standards for their products to win the trust of the Japanese consumers.
Once Vietnam is able to produce qualified products meeting the Japanese standard, other products besides coffee and shrimp will be able to enter the market, he added.
To illustrate the effectiveness of the cooperation between a country with an abundant supply of raw agricultural materials and one with high technology, Yoshimasa recalled his visit to the Japanese-invested Acecook company in Ho Chi Minh City.
There, the Japanese official tasted a canned pho product, which was made from Vietnamese rice with Japanese technology, he said.
The delicious product has been exported to Japan and Yoshimasa believes it will be favored by Japanese consumers.
With its rich raw material sources, Vietnam can attract other Japanese companies to come to the country to buy and process the agricultural materials and export the products back to Japan, he asserted.
Vietnam used to ship its rice to Japan, but exports have recently ceased as the produce failed to meet the strict safety standards by the importer’s side.
When asked if the requirements could be relaxed for Vietnam to resume rice exports, Yoshimasa admitted that there is little likelihood that this will happen.
The food safety standards are not only applicable to Vietnam but are applicable globally, he explained.
However, Japan will review the technical standards on Vietnamese rice, and the Japanese minister expressed his hope that the ban would soon be lifted.