To promote exports, Vietnam should continue to improve quality and promote its agricultural brands globally ( File Photo)
HCM City (VNA) - Vietnamese businesses must focus on developing brands for their farm produce to become competitive both at home and abroad, a recent seminar heard in HCM City.

Le Van Banh, head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Department of Processing and Trade for Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Products and Salt Production, said Vietnam is among the largest exporters of many agricultural products like coffee, pepper, cashew, and fruits and vegetables.

But 80 percent of it is exported without brand names and sold in foreign markets under foreign brands, which is a big disadvantage for Vietnamese farm produce, he said.

Bui Thi Thanh An, deputy director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, said, “We export a lot of coffee and tea, but few consumers know they are using products from Vietnam.”

Instead of supplying just raw materials, many firms have invested in modern production technologies to make products of good quality and with high value addition, but developing brands remains a big challenge for them, she said.

Many foreign customers thought for a long time that Vietnamese products were low in price and quality, which greatly affected the country’s exports, she said.

To promote exports, Vietnam should continue to improve quality and promote its good things globally, she said.

In recent years the Government, industries and businesses have tried to build and protect Vietnamese agricultural brands, delegates said.

But the lack of a master plan and co-operation between various stakeholders means the results have been poor, they said.

Luu Duc Thanh of the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam said the number of applications for the protection of collective or certified or geographical indications brands is increasing every year.

“We [have] granted 649 collective brand certifications.”

Besides, 52 geographical indications are protected in Vietnam, he said.

But a majority of the brands have not been managed effectively, with very few certified brands available in the market, he said.

Only a few geographical indications have been promoted well, like Phu Quoc fish sauce, Buon Ma Thuot coffee, Binh Thuan dragon fruit, Hung Yen longan and Hoa Loc mango.

To ensure the quality and protect the reputation of their specialties, producers and traders in each locality should form a collective organisation (like association) to consolidate their strength and come up with strategies to develop brands, he said.

Banh said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is implementing a plan to develop brands for key agricultural products with an initial focus on mango, dragon fruit, tea, coffee and tra fish.

His ministry has recommended that the Government should offer small and medium-sized enterprises and co-operatives preferential policies in terms of credit, land and others and create a legal framework for brands and other related aspects, he said.

Dang Hoang Giang, deputy chairman and general secretary of the Vietnam Cashew Association, said, “We should focus on building brands for farm produce that have good demand and pay more attention to quality than quantity.”

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam said to create a brand for a product three conditions should be met: its production is large and steady, its quality meets food safety and hygiene standards and is competitively priced, and it has a good distribution system.

Building a national brand for Vietnamese farm produce is a necessary task, but it is a long process and requires combined efforts by relevant ministries, agencies and industries, especially the business community, he said.-VNA