Illustrative photo (source: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) – More Japanese investment in agriculture will create a new driving force for the sector’s growth in the future, held experts at the Vietnam-Japan forum on agriculture trade and cooperation in Ho Chi Minh City on March 10.

According to Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)’s senior advisor Ichiro Abe, Vietnam’s agriculture sector has high potential in foreign investment attraction and future development.

He noted that the Southeast Asian country’s strength in coffee, cashew, peppercorn, rice, rubber and tea has helped the country become the world’s most abundant source of supply for agricultural materials.

Vietnam has also been considered a large market of farm produces, especially high quality products, he said, adding that the country is an important gateway for other countries to access the massive markets of the ASEAN and China.

Ichiro Abe said the Japanese Government is encouraging Japanese businesses to invest in Vietnam’s agriculture through the forms of joint venture or technology transfer to ensure sustainable growth.

Meanwhile, Le An Hai, deputy head of the Asia-Pacific Market under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that Vietnam and Japan have shared a long-standing collaboration in agriculture with many agreements reached in market opening for Vietnamese products through commitments in tax reduction as part of free trade agreements between Vietnam and Japan as well as ASEAN and Japan.

However, agricultural exports have faced strict technical barriers in Japan, while competition is growing fiercer in the domestic market against imported products, including those from Japan.

In order to increase the export of agricultural products to foreign markets in general and the Japanese market in particular, Hai suggested that the sector should work out a strategy to improve products’ quality and foster cooperation with countries with developed agriculture such as Japan.

Dr. Tran Minh Hai from the School for Management Officials of Agriculture and Rural Development No.2, suggested Japanese businesses cooperate with cooperatives in facilitate their investment. He noted that Vietnam currently has over 10,000 agricultural cooperatives, an economic form encouraged by the Government and localities through various support policies.

Linking up with the cooperatives will help Japanese firms easily access larger production areas.

He also stressed that over 90 percent of the cooperatives have only focused on production without effective marketing services, which is also a chance for Japanese businesses.

To Viet Chau, deputy head of the Department of International Cooperation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, asserted that agriculture is one of the sectors most vulnerable to global integration, adding that Vietnam hopes for Japan’s support in technology, equipment, processing technology to enhance its competitiveness.-VNA