First Thailand, now Singapore: MM Mega Markets export horizon widens

Thursday, Aug 22, 2019 09:00

Mr. Phidsanu Pongwatana

Thai-owned wholesaler MM Mega Market is making efforts to take Vietnamese agricultural produce to foreign markets. Yesterday it signed a contract with CMM Marketing Management Pte Ltd (CMM Singapore) to export Vietnamese farm products to Singapore. Viet Nam News speaks with Phidsanu Pongwatana, the companys managing director about this co-operation.

For more than a year MM Mega Market has been involved in taking Vietnamese agricultural goods to foreign countries. Could you tell us about your agricultureexports?

2018 was the first year when MM Mega Market Vietnam exported Vietnamese agricultural products to Thailand. After a year of exporting Vietnamese agriproducts to the Big C system in Thailand and getting positive feedback from the market, we doubled the shipments in 2019 to around 200 tonnes a month.

The Vietnamese agricultural products we export to Thailand and other markets include frozen catfish, cuttlefish, milk fruit, dragon fruit, and pomelo.

Besides exports, we also act as an interface for technical assistance and market research for local exporters to reach the Thai market.

Yesterday your company signed a deal with CMM Singapore for agricultural exports. Please tell us about it. When will the first shipment be sent to Singapore and what will be the main products? Can you tell us about the expected export value and volume in the first year?

According to the contracts signed yesterday, MM Mega Market Vietnam will export fresh vegetables, edible fungi and fruits to Singapore through CMM Singapore to distribute at Sheng Siong Supermarkets 60 stores. Sheng Siong Supermarket is the third-largest retailer in Singapore market.

This event lays the first foundation for our strategy to export Vietnamese agricultural products to Singapore. Singapore is the second market after Thailand to which we will export Vietnamese agriculture products.

In September we will export the first consignment to Singapore comprising about 20 tonnes of items such as Da Lat bell pepper, sweet potato and seedless lemon. It is expected that in 2019 we will export around 100 tonnes of Vietnamese agricultural products to Singapore. CMM is a large importer in Singapore and I believe that in the coming years the volume of Vietnamese agricultural products exported to the Singapore market will increase.

We are delighted that MM Mega Market continues to be the link in bringing Viet Nams agricultural products to Singapore, a market with great potential but also very demanding.

What should Vietnamese enterprises pay attention to when exporting fruits and vegetables to Singapore?

Singapore is potentially a great import market but also a very tough one due to tight quality controls on imports, especially in terms of food safety. Therefore, to promote exports to Singapore, Vietnamese companies should pay attention to food hygiene and safety, and also the packaging process.

I think Vietnamese enterprises should invest in marketing activities to promote the Vietnamese brand. Due to the lack of brands or inability to meet requirements in terms of packaging and user guides, it is a challenge to export many good Vietnamese products directly to Singapore, and they have to go through intermediaries.

The products we export to this market are tested to meet the Codex Lab standards and apply the HACCP process to ensure food hygiene and safety.

Singapore is the second market to which your company will export Vietnamese agricultural products after Thailand. Are there any other markets in your sights now?

Singapore is the second market MM Mega Market will export Vietnamese agricultural products to after Thailand. We are in the process of surveying the market to export Vietnamese agricultural products to the Chinese market in future.

The signing ceremony between MM Mega Market Vietnam Company Ltd and CMM Marketing Management Pte Ltd Singapore in HCM City yesterday. — VNS Photo

More exports mean more production. In that case, how do you plan to sustain quality?

Our export strategy is built on solid groundwork thanks to a professional food platform system and direct interaction with the farmers to create a quality and varied supply source. The company is running four platforms – for fruits and vegetables Da Lat, fish in Can Tho, pork in Dong Nai, and fruits in Ben Tre. These facilities not only supply our 19-store domestic system, but also provide quality products for exports.

All the vegetables and fruits for export to Singapore will be selected from the Da Lat and Ben Tre platforms. To ensure product quality and steady output, we have identified standard farms, organised training courses and our agricultural engineers work closely with farmers throughout the production process.

Our Da Lat vegetable platform and Ben Tre fruit platform have been recognised as among the few food safety qualified facilities that supply some of the best vegetables and fruits in Viet Nam.

After more than 10 years of developing a modern chain of production links to serve domestic and export needs, we are currently collaborating with nearly 300 farming households in three main areas in Lam Dong: Don Duong, Duc Trong and Da Lat.

Covering a 250-ha source area, every year, this depot is producing more than 12,000 tonnes of VietGAP-quality vegetables and fruits.

How does the co-operation mechanism between your company and farmers work to ensure quality in these food platforms?

At all these platforms, our capable agricultural engineers get to work first-hand and closely with local farmers and co-operatives on everything from seed and strain selection to production planning, harvesting and transporting directly to the depots. Farming households taking part in the loop will need to maintain a farm logbook, recording in detail how they use pesticides and harvesting work, and conduct periodic quality tests based on our norms.

While building sustainable production and supply chains in agriculture for over a decade now, we have created, through training efforts, a generation of modern farmers who can meet the requirements of the farming sector in an era of international integration, and at the same time enhance the value of agricultural products and export Vietnamese farm products to international markets.

Can you tell us about the MOU you signed with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to organise a Vietnamese fair in Thailand some weeks ago? How important is it to take Vietnamese fruits and vegetables to foreign markets?

I am very delighted to share that on August 8 our company signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Viet Nams Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Within the framework of the MOU, we will co-operate and propose solutions to facilitate connection, sale of Vietnamese goods through the distribution system of MM Mega Market in Viet Nam, and exports through the international distribution system of TCC Land International (Singapore) Pte Ltd and other subsidiaries belong to Berli Jucker Public Company Limited (parent company of MM Mega Market Vietnam).

We also co-operate with the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade to organise the Vietnamese Goods Week in Thailand, expected to take place on 23rd October this year. This is an opportunity to promote trade between the two countries while enabling Vietnamese businesses to export their products to Thailand and offering Thai consumers the opportunity to enjoy quality products at reasonable prices from Viet Nam. — VNS

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