Vietnamese farmers and businesses should have a good understanding of what the Japanese need and love consuming to be able to sell more products to Japan, a seasoned advisor has said.
Takebe Tsutomu, special advisor to the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentary Alliance, sat down for a New Year interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on the trade ties between the two countries in agriculture.
Tsutomu was Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery in former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s 2001-06 cabinet.
While more and more Vietnamese agro-products, such as dragon fruit, mangos, bananas, rice and tuna, have been shipped to the Japanese market, Tsutomu said Vietnamese exporters can do better if they are able to identify and meet the exact demand of Japanese consumers.
To this end, the advisor said Vietnamese businesses should go on field trips to Japan and apply what they learn to their real situations.
Many Japanese business groups have in fact been to several parts of Vietnam to seek investment opportunities, and Tsutomu underlined that cooperation should come from both sides.
Japanese businesspeople study the vegetable market in Vietnam.
He elaborated that Vietnamese farmers, students or businesspeople must also come to Japan to learn about Japanese experience and standards and come back to Vietnam to produce products that best suit consumers in the East Asian country.
Tsutomu said humans still play an important role in Japan’s tech-driven agriculture, so Vietnam needs to have a workforce knowledgeable about such technology and how to apply them.
The fastest way to adopt Japanese technology is sending young personnel to Japan to learn about new cultivation methods, and this young workforce will return to develop Vietnamese agriculture, according to the expert.
Tsutomu said Vietnam could be able to export even more agricultural products to Japan, if businesses and farmers have a better understanding of the Japanese mindset.
For instance, he elaborated, the top priority of Japanese consumers is food safety, so Vietnamese businesses should ensure the land and water used in their production are safe.
Vietnamese mango ready for export to Japan
Tsutomu said Vietnam is selling mangos, dragon fruit and bananas to Japan, but these fruits are only for dessert, while the country is in huge demand of other products used in every meal, such as carrots, onions, ginger and vegetables.
He added that Japan currently imports some 250,000 metric tons of onions a year, mostly from China, and challenged Vietnamese businesses to try to become onion exporters to Japan.