An international conference was held in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa on July 16 to discuss measures to improve the Vietnamese sugar industry’s competiveness competency as Vietnam and neighbouring countries are speeding up the regional integration process.

The event attracted the participation of more than 200 managers and leaders of major domestic and foreign enterprises operating in the sector.

Delegates at the event outlined challenges hindering the sector’s progress such as epidemics, climate change, drought and high prices of raw materials, which account for 70-80 percent of the production prices.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam currently has 41 sugar factories with total capacity of 140.000 tonnes of sugar per day. Each year, the sector sells about 1.5 million tonnes of sugar in the domestic market and exports 300.000 tonnes.

Pham Hong Duong, a representative of the Thanh Thanh Cong Group, said Vietnam is expected to join the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) in the near future, mandating the need for the country to accelerate agricultural and technological renovations and reduce production costs in a bid to gain a firm foothold in the regional market during the integration process.-VNA