Vietnamese businesses are pumping more investment in agriculture, forestry and fishery abroad in a bid to expand their markets and reduce production and transport costs.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) reported that local investors have injected a total of 2.5 billion USD in 150 agro-forestry-fishery projects abroad, accounting for 20.5 percent of the country’s total foreign investment capital.

The investors’ major destinations are Laos and Cambodia, where their projects have primarily been involved in wood processing, rubber plantation and latex exploitation.

Vietnamese businesses are also present in other Southeast Asian nations, China and some South African nations under the South-South Cooperation Programme.

The Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) is one of the four leading Vietnamese investors abroad, as well as the military telecommunication group Viettel, the Vietnam National Chemical Group (Vinachem), and the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PVN).

The VGR intends to pour 1 billion USD into rubber plantation projects overseas until 2015. Approximately 400 million USD has already been disbursed to date.

As of early this year, the group has grown 100,000 hectares of rubber trees in Laos and Cambodia . Its eight more projects involving an additional 27,000 hectares are currently underway in Laos .

The VRG’s Dien Bien-Northern Lao company debuted last year, aiming to expand investment in the northern Lao province of Oudomxay .

Also in Laos, the Vietnam-Lao Rubber Joint Stock Company exploited nearly 5,500 hectares of rubber trees. Its products bearing the Vietnamese-Lao trademark have officially been present in the market.

By the end of 2012, 21 VRG-invested projects had been implemented in Cambodia including 19 in rubber plantations and latex processing plants.

The group has planted more than 70,000 hectares of rubber trees in Cambodia with some hectares in Tan Bien-Kampongthom are already being exploited.

The VRG plans to grow 25,000 hectares of rubber trees in 2013 and joins hands with other groups to achieve the 100,000 ha rubber plantation target set for 2014, a year ahead of schedule.

VGR-invested projects are expected to begin generating export revenues by 2015 and estimated to reach 400 million USD by 2020.

Under the South-South Cooperation Programme, the MARD has dispatched experts to Mozambique, Tanzania, Sudan, Mali, South Africa and Sierra Leone to support local people in growing rice and developing irrigation systems.

Many Vietnamese businesses have also invested in rice, aquaculture, seafood processing and fisheries in some African nations, including South Africa and Mozambique.-VNA