Vietnam - Netherlands business cooperation towards a safe and prosperous Mekong Delta
Monday 5 September | Field visit ShrimpVet
We visited the demo farm of ShrimpVet. At this farm, researchers analyse shrimp and fish disease, and investigate best ways for shrimp hatchery and farming. Signify (lighting technology) and Skretting (feed formulation) shared information on their collaboration with Shrimpvet to improve shrimp and fish farming.
Tuesday 6 September | Field visit Skretting and De Heus
First, we visited the site of Skretting in Long An which is the residence of the current shrimp- and fish feed factory and of a brand-new state-of-the-art factory (that will be opened later this month). The new EUR 24-million production facility enables Skretting to meet the growing demand for fish feed in the delta. Our second stop was at De Heus Aquaculture Research & Development Centre in Vinh Long, Vietnam. This R&D Centre was developed in collaboration with Fresh Studio and Wageningen University & Research to test innovative feed formulas and ingredients as well as new, sustainable aquaculture farming technologies
Wednesday 7 September | Aquaculture Business Forum
The Aquaculture Business Forum took place, with over a hundred Vietnamese private parties attending! The kick-off was done by Mrs. Willemien van Asselt, Topsector Agri&Food. Mrs van Asselt emphasized the importance to collaborate and to include the Dutch private sector to build a sustainable delta. Overall, the key messages of the Forum were:
· There are many challenges in the aquaculture sector in the Mekong Delta;
· To be able to better control the shrimp value chain a lot of research and data is needed (e.g., on water quality and pollution;
· The need for sustainable nature-based solutions;
· The role of the private sector and the government in addressing the challenges.
In the afternoon, a B2B matchmaking event took place with the Vietnamese- and Dutch private sector. With as result, a great number of interested potential future partners.
Thursday 8 September | Visit Fresh Studio
Before heading back to Ho Chi Minh city, we visited the R&D farm of Fresh Studio, dedicated to fresh water aquaculture. Here they research options for sustainable small-scale farming of pangasius, such as optimal ways to clean and re-use fresh water. Also, they gather – much needed - data on all steps in the production chain.
Friday 9 September | Closure
Overall, it may be said that the Dutch participants obtained a good view of the aquaculture sector in Vietnam, the opportunities and the (many) challenges. Interesting enough, many of them mentioned that they did not only find potential Vietnamese counterparts, but that they also learned a lot from other participants, and they want to continue the contacts to further develop the aquaculture chain in Vietnam and the business opportunities.
Cảm ơn Vietnam for your warm welcome!
Similarities: Vietnamese Mekong Delta and the Dutch Delta
The Mekong Delta in Vietnam and the Netherlands face similar issues. Centuries ago, people settled in deltas because of the fresh water and the fertile soil. Today, the agriculture that allowed for prosperous economies and population growth have become vulnerable; the delta is threatened by flooding, droughts, salination of water and soil.
The Netherlands has developed long term plans and, together, knowledge centres, businesses and government is actively reshaping the delta into a safe and sustainable habitat for the next centuries. A key element of the Dutch approach includes:
- Development of inclusive systems and;
- No regret solutions within the value chain.
Sinking and shrinking Mekong Delta
The Vietnamese Mekong Delta is the food basket for the country and is known for its intensive rice production with two to three crops per year. Today, the region faces challenges including land subsidence and salinisation due to climate change effects and socio-economic developments. To have a sustainable delta, the long-term solution is clear: 1) replacement of rice production with vegetables and fruits and 2) focus on quality of crops rather than on quantity. In order to achieve sustainable change, Vietnam is developing the Agricultural Transformation Plan (ATP). [links to Deltaplan VN].
The Mekong Delta Business Platform
Vietnam and the Netherlands are longstanding partners and have signed various agreements to exchange knowledge and experience, with a specific focus on the Mekong Delta. Over the years, projects have been executed, trade has increased, and Dutch businesses have settled in the Vietnam and the Mekong Delta. The increasing focus of Vietnam on the Agricultural Ttransformation Plan has triggered the Topsectors in the Netherlands to intensify the cooperation in Vietnam. Via the Topsector, an organisational body, the Netherlands has the ambition to further boost innovations and develop solutions to major social issues in sector in which the Netherlands has a leading position. Four Topsectors: Horticulture & Starting Materials, Agri & Food, Water & Maritime, and Logistics; are joining forces to mobilise Dutch knowledge and business to support the agricultural transformation in the Mekong Delta.
In practical terms, the joined topsectors launched the Mekong Delta Business Platform (MDBP) to:
1. Inform on developments in the Mekong Delta and the ATP to inspire businesses, knowledge centres, others to apply their ideas and
solutions in the Mekong Delta. The focus will be on sustainable change, value chains, climate adaptation and more.
2. Facilitate matchmaking with parties in Vietnam, in the Netherlands or elsewhere, often by providing links to businesses, knowledge
centres, or renowned institutes like RVO, FMO, NUFFIC and others.
3. Help overcome thresholds that could hamper initiatives (e.g., partners, financing)