The output of farming products from Da Lat to be exported to the Japanese market will be tripled if a high-tech agricultural-industrial park is approved for construction in the Vietnamese locality at the suggestion of Japan.
If the project comes to fruition, this will be the first time such an agricultural production cluster for exporting to Japan has been set up outside the East Asian nation.
The idea to build the 300 hectare agro-industrial park just in Da Lat, the capital city of the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, was put forward at a seminar co-organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan External Trade Organization, and local authorities on March 23-24.
Lam Dong has expressed interest in cooperating with Japanese partners in the field, promising to increase farming produce exports to Japan by at least three times after three years.
Now, Da Lat can reach an annual export of only 10,000 metric tons of green produce to Japan. Meanwhile, Thailand ships 30,000 metric tons a year and China 400,000 metric tons a year to the Japanese market.
Da Lat farming products to be on way to Japan
Mutsuya Mori, chief representative of JICA in Vietnam, confirmed that the quality of Da Lat green produce will be heightened to meet international standards thanks to the establishment of the park.
“The process of producing vegetables and other farming produce to meet Japanese standards will be introduced in Da Lat and transferred to local businesses,” Mori said, adding that the shortcomings of Da Lat farming production such as high costs, unstable supply, and small production scale will be eliminated.
However, it does not mean that Japan will lower its food safety standards, he noted.
Vietnamese farming products have often been banned from shelves in Japanese supermarkets because of their failure to meet safety standards.
The agro-industrial park will act as a complex for producing, collecting and post-harvest processing, and wholesaling.
Besides, Lam Dong also caters to other sectors such as building the trademark for Da Lat green produce and cooperation for personnel training for high-tech agriculture.
Addressing the seminar, Nguyen Van Yen, vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Lam Dong, confirmed that, “We will clear the land and transfer it to Japanese investors who are able to prove their qualifications.”
A survey showed that the production value of a hectare in Da Lat equals just one-eighth of that in Malaysia due to the weakness in post-harvest technology and trademark.
Replacement of Chinese products
Hosono Kyohei, Asian director of the Japanese advisory company Dream Incubator, said that 90 percent of Japanese consumers have lost their confidence in Chinese farming products and Japan is seeking for a more sustainable source.
“We recognize that it is wrong to say Da Lat can’t produce high quality green produce,” he said.
However, there are concerns that the cooperation may only bring benefits to the Japanese side who will exploit land and the cheap workforce of Da Lat.
“Clear commitments should be made to ensure that Da Lat farmers are able to join the production chain of green produce on their soil,” said Tran Huy Duong, director of Langbiang Farm and former chairman of the Da Lat Flower Association.