MM Mega Market strives to export Vietnamese agriculture products

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016 09:30

Recently, TCC Group exported 100 tonnes of Vietnamese dragon fruit to BigC Thailand. — VNS Photo

More than half a year after its acquisition of Metro Cash & Carry Viet Nam, TCC Group has begun to expand in the country as well as set foot in the international market. Viet Nam News asks TCCs head of retail business in Viet Nam, Phidsanu Pongwatana, about its business and efforts to export Vietnamese agriculture produce to Thailand.

What are the main changes at MM Mega Market (formerly Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam) since you acquired it several months ago? 

What are the main changes at MM Mega Market (formerly Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam) since you acquired it several months ago?MM Mega Market is continuing in the footsteps of what Metro has done for 14 years and is focusing on serving professional customers, mostly independent businesses, for both their professional needs and their complementary needs (private needs).

We continue projects Metro previously started in partnership with farmers. Even better, we have plans to double purchases from farmers in Da Lat for top 10 best-selling items to reach 1,050 tonnes per month by end of Sep, 2016. Besides, we have a strong Viet Gap development program for F&V from Da Lat and Moc Chau and the Red-river delta in the North. The volume of safe vegetable bought from farmers/cooperatives in Moc Chau will reach 250 tonnes by the end Sep 2016 and will keep on growing in the following years.

Your supermarket is making efforts to export Vietnamese agricultural produce to Thailand. It has already sent the first consignment of dragon fruit. How was the reception in the Thai market? Can you tell us more about your plans to take Vietnamese products to Thailand?

Through MM Mega Market, TCC Group has been increasing the search for mainstream Vietnamese agriculture products for export to Thailand. Recently the first 100 tonnes of Vietnamese dragon fruit were exported to Big C Thailand as a start of its plan to spur exports of Vietnamese agriculture products to Thailand going forward.

In the first order, we are buying 4-5 containers each month, or the equivalent of 100 tonnes. From what we see from these first lots being sold, Thai consumers seem very satisfied with the freshness and sweetness of Vietnamese dragon fruit. The demand in the Thai market for this product is huge. We are looking to increase exports in the immediate future.

Apart from dragon fruit and sweet potato, there is also one more product from Viet Nam that our consumers seem to like very much – milk fruit. Moreover, we are also searching for suppliers of other products, including King orange, avocado, lemon and flowers from Da Lat, and frozen catfish.

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) has come into existence, offering both advantages and challenges in exporting Vietnamese agricultural produce to the region. What do you make of this?

Phidsanu Pongwatana, TCCs Head of retail bussiness in Viet Nam

I believe that as an agriculture powerhouse Viet Nam has great potential to export agricultural products such as fish, fruit and vegetables. Viet Nam has a great opportunity to export these staple products when it becomes a part of AEC, as Vietnamese businesses will gain access to a larger consumer market with a 600-million population and US$2.6-trillion GDP. The advantageous tariff rate of 0 per cent applied to over 99 per cent of the current product lines under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) will further unlock the potential for Vietnamese agriculture produce finding their way to ASEAN markets, including Thailand.

Thailand now is among the top 10 nations in terms of direct investment in Viet Nam, and a leading trade partner of Viet Nam among ASEAN countries. In achieving the ambition of raising bilateral trade to $20 billion by 2020, this is a big opportunity for Viet Nams quality agricultural products to make their way to and be successful in the market.

The doors to the market have opened, and a critical question remains as to how Viet Nam can do a good job in production development and organisation. And it is also how to produce more and increase exports while meeting the importing countrys food safety and phytosanitary requirements. If it can surmount these barriers, Viet Nam will definitely be very competitive in exporting its agriculture products within ASEAN.

To conquer the AEC market, what should Vietnamese agricultural exporters do?

To be successful in AEC markets, in addition to competitive prices, quality and compliance with food safety requirements are of prime importance for agricultural products, especially vegetables and fruits. I believe that having a sustainable production chain that encompasses exporters and makers is vital to guarantee reliable output and product quality.

To do that, businesses need to put in place close links with manufacturers to create sustainable production and export chains, by signing contracts and with quality control systems covering from production to outlets. Moreover, exporters also need to be connected with modern distribution channels and provide an interface for advertising and exporting products to other markets in the region.

Through MM Mega Market we have, and are working closely with established vegetable and fruit exporters in Viet Nam to take some local products to consumers through the Big C system in Thailand. In addition to Cao Thanh Phat which we are partnering with for exportation of dragon fruit, we are also completing procedures to export many other quality Vietnamese goods to Thailand and other countries in the region, including King orange, Japanese sweet potato, cainito, sapote, rice flour and so on. I believe that these products we import from Viet Nam will surely have a solid place in Thai markets. — VNS

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