Amidst the expanding agro-forestry-fisheries sector, the food processing industry is expected to grow strongly with great potential for luring more investment, according to experts.
Speaking at a conference on investment promotion conference in the food processing industry in Hanoi on November 14, Hoang Minh Chien, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, noted that the agro-forestry and aquatic products processing industry has enjoyed an annual growth rate of 5-7 percent in 2013-2018.
As a result, its exports grew by 8-10 percent a year to a record of 40.02 billion USD last year, making Vietnam one of the biggest exporters of agricultural, forestry and aquatic products in the world.
These products are exported to over 180 countries and territories, including demanding markets such as the EU, the US and Japan, he said.
But the sector still has bottlenecks in the production value chain, including low processing technologies and erratic supply of raw materials, he said.
Chien said Vietnam has set an export target of 65-70 billion USD for agricultural, forestry and aquatic products by 2030, but processing technologies should reach at least reasonably advanced levels.
“Therefore, enhancing co-operation with partners who have modern technologies is among the important solutions,” he said.
Dr. Frauke Schmitz-Bauerdick, country manager of the German Trade and Invest in Vietnam (GTAI Vietnam), said that food processing, and by processing adding further value, is an important trend that Vietnamese industry faces right now. Entering food processing is getting even more important in view of the new opportunities that are opening up because of Vietnam’s membership in modern free trade agreements, he said.
Trade will be getting easier, cheaper and possibly faster, but to be competitive in highly developed markets, Vietnam's food industry has to comply with strict food security and quality requirements, she said.
“One crucial aspect of being able to provide high-quality food products is right equipment. Modem machinery, especially in food processing, helps keep food products fresh, healthy and enjoyable.
“Competitive equipment is ultimately a prerequisite for creating internationally competitive food products.”
Le Hong Minh, Director of Vietrade’ s Investment Promotion Centre for Industry and Trade, said foreign investment in the food processing sector is estimated at 11.2 billion USD in 717 projects.
Nguyen Noi, Deputy Director of the Foreign Investment Agency, said foreign investment in the food processing industry remains modest compared to other industries at about 3 percent of total investment.
The country would continue to solicit foreign investment, especially from the US and EU, in the food processing industry, he said.
The Government is also offering incentives to investors, with priority given to projects with advanced and environment-friendly technologies and creating high-added value products, he added.