Promotion and expanded distribution chains are vital measures to help Vietnamese goods penetrate rural areas more easily.

Vietnamese products has won lots of rural consumers thanks to various sales promotion programs such as Buy Vietnamese Goods which was seen as the a positive solution to Vietnamese goods sales in rural areas and bridging enterprises and rural consumers, said the Vietnam Economic News.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s statistics, since the implementation of rural Vietnamese goods sales programmes in 2009, localities across the country have conducted 1,150 rural sales trips, involving 11,500 business participants, attracting 2,288,731 local visitors and registering total sales revenue of more than 1.7 trillion VND.

Goods featured in these programmes included food, clothes, shoes, household equipment, and notebooks of clear origin, varied design, reasonable prices and appropriate after-sales services.

In addition to sales trips, Vietnamese producers have also managed to insert their products into rural distribution systems. To date, domestic brands such as My Hao, Kinh Do, and Vinamilk have gradually become familiar to rural consumers.

Despite initial positive successes, rural sales programmes are still facing difficulties. “The rural market is currently not attractive enough to businesses due to low purchasing power and high transportation costs. Currently only 10-15 companies producing consumer goods are commonly found in rural and remote areas including Unilever, Dutch Lady, P & G, Pepsi, Nestle, Vinamilk, Vina Acecook, My Hao and Kinh Do,” said Director of Business Studies and Assistance Center (BSA) Vu Kim Hanh.

While dairy and dishwashing products have dominated the rural market, textiles and footwear have not due to relatively high prices. For example, Viet Tien branded shirts are commonly priced around 300,000 VND, making them unaffordable for most rural consumers.

In addition, the construction and expansion of rural distribution systems also require appropriate strategy and considerable investment, which is a great obstacle for small and medium enterprises.

Ho Thi Kim Thoa, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade and Deputy Director of Buy Vietnamese Goods Programme Steering Committee said: “This year, we will boost the fight against smuggling and trade fraud in order to protect domestic production and consumer rights.”
“In addition, we will continue to enhance the programme through asking the government support, for example, in the form of a national action strategy to promote Vietnamese goods consumption until 2020, with a vision towards 2030,” she said, adding that the Ministry of Industry and Trade will organize a vote for 20 best Vietnamese goods items and have support mechanism to increase their competitiveness.

“The most important factors to help businesses dominate the rural market are businesses should produce high quality products at competitive prices; consider traditional practices and ethnic culture in designing models; and promote advertising activities along with gradually expanding rural retail networks,” Chairman of the Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Nguyen Thien Nhan noted.

He added that management agencies should improve current management control systems for enterprises in the application of standard systems for goods. These measures will probably help improve rural purchasing power of Vietnamese goods.-VNA