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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 12/3   2009-03-12 - VietNamNet/VNA

Australia’s largest retailer seeks Vietnamese suppliers

Woolworths, the largest supermarket chain in Australia, is conducting a fact-finding tour of goods supply in Vietnam, the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Trade Promotion Department has revealed.

During the ten-day tour beginning on March 11, Woolworths’ Shop Direct Chief Executive Mark Jones plans to meet and negotiate with manufacturers and distributors in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on direct purchase of Vietnamese goods in order to cut costs.

The group show their keen interest in rice, dried and canned fruits, cashew nuts, coffee, tea and frozen vegetables and fisheries.

If negotiations are successful, Vietnamese goods will be sold at more than 700 Woolworths supermarkets.

With around 13 million customers each week, Woolworths recorded revenues of 32 billion USD in 2008.

Sapa vegetable exporters prosper

Organic vegetable exports in Vietnam’s northern border province Lao Cai have been surprisingly resilient despite falling agriculture exports nationwide due to the global financial crisis.

Nong Hien Co. Ltd, a prosperous exporter of Sapa-grown vegetables, earmarked an area for safe vegetable production in 2006 and employs hundreds of local workers. In 2008, the company exported 3,000 tonnes of vegetables to Taiwan, reporting revenues of nearly 8 billion VND.

According to company manager Ly Tam Trien, the seeds were imported from Taiwan, and planted in fields around 1,000m above sea level. The fields are irrigated by clean, natural water from local streams, and no insecticides or other hazardous chemicals are used in the growth process.

The company plans to expand its business, buying up additional farmland and employing more local people to access the Thai and Singapore markets as well. This year, the company is expected to increase its export volume to Taiwan by more than 2,000 tonnes.

Ethnic people in many communes around Sapa have shifted from rice farming to growing vegetables for export. Resultantly, they have markedly increased their incomes, from 12 million VND per ha of rice to 180-200 million VND a year from vegetables.

Sapa is cooler than most of the rest of Vietnam year-round, and has fertile soil and large areas of land suitable for growing vegetables.

According to the General Statistics Office, vegetable and fruit exports in the first two months of this year increased 0.6 percent compared to the same period last year, while nearly all other staple exports saw declines – agricultural, forest and fishery products saw revenues of nearly 2 billion USD, falling 5.3 percent year-on-year.

Vietnam, Laos ink mineral exploration deal

Vietnam and Laos have inked an agreement on exploration for tin, zinc and lead ores in Houphanh province in northern Laos.

Accordingly, the agreement, inked in Vientiane on March 10, stipulates that Vietnam’s Thien Phu company will invest 3 million USD in mineral exploration on 500 in Houphanh province over 5 years.

If the project proves feasible, the Vietnamese investor will submit a further proposal to the Lao government for negotiation.

60 domestic seafood enterprises approved to export to Brazil
Brazil have announced a list of 60 Vietnamese seafood exporters and producers that have been recognised to meet requirements to export seafood products to Brazil, based on proposal by the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, according to the Vietnam Trade Office in Brazil.
The decision has opened an opportunities for Vietnamese seafood, especially tra and basa catfish products, to be exported to Brazilian market, the biggest market in South America of 190 million people who are fond of seafood. 
According to the Vietnamese trade office in Brazil, some Brazilian enterprises have came to the office, asking for support to seek for Vietnamese partners to import 2-3,000 tonnes of tra and basa catfish from Vietnam to be distributed to supermarkets, distribution centres and hotels and restaurants. 
So far, Brazil still has to import Vietnam-origin seafood products via businessmen from third countries.

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