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Founded Year

2018

Stage

Series A | Alive

Total Raised

$5.1M

Last Raised

$4.6M | 5 mos ago

About Kamereo

Kamereo is a Ho Chi Minh City-headquartered business-to-business procurement platform for restaurants.

Kamereo Headquarter Location

135 Hai Ba Trung District 01

Ho Chi Minh City, 70000,

Vietnam

+84 83 9443 000

Latest Kamereo News

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS AUGUST 23

Aug 24, 2021

Delivery businesses resume in HCM City, but stymied by COVID restrictions Delivery businesses are operating at full capacity in HCM City since demand is huge, but many orders are stuck because of COVID-19-related restrictions. The city has strict travel restrictions and locked down many places, causing demand for delivery services to skyrocket. Duong Thi Luy of District 5 said she had ordered kitchen items from a District 3 store three days earlier, but was yet to receive them. The streets are largely empty, but it is easy to spot deliverymen in Grab or Now uniforms driving back and forth or queuing up in front of supermarkets and food stores. Yet, not only consumers, but also online sellers have been hit by delivery delays, which cause buyers to often cancel orders. Tran Uyen Lan, an online clothing seller, said she sent items to customers through delivery firms since last week, but they did not get delivery and finally her customers cancelled the order. But she still had to pay the delivery fee. Giao Hang Tiet Kiem, a home delivery business, said since many provinces, cities and regions are blocked it has been unable to ensure smooth deliveries, causing a large backlog. The orders would be returned to the sellers, who generally have to pay a refund fee, it said. But to support customers, it is waiving the fee for orders from blocked areas between July 15 and September 6. The lack of drivers also makes the situation worse. The number of drivers has fallen steeply since many have returned to their hometowns or do not want to work due to fear of the coronavirus. Delivery service providers also said there are delays since many roads are blocked, and their drivers have to travel roundabout routes. Pangasius exporters set for difficult times this year amid COVID pandemic Viet Nam's tra fish (pangasius) exports have done well this year, but the outlook is less bright for the rest of the year since the Covid-19 pandemic has not been controlled yet. According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), pangasius exports recovered better than expected, growing by nearly 18 per cent year-on-year in the first seven months to US$931 million. The major markets were China, the US, Brazil, and Thailand. According to VASEP, exports grew well thanks to the US market, which increased its buying thanks to the increasing Covid-19 vaccination and resumption of food services. However, exports to the EU continued to decline as they have for the last three years. According to VASEP, the pandemic has had a major impact by reducing trade due to the social distancing in many countries including France, Italy and Germany, while rising transport costs and a shortage of containers have also had a great impact on Viet Nam’s exports. Meanwhile, input prices have risen by four to five times since the middle of last year, feed cost by 15-20 per cent and freight charges by five to 10 times, posing huge challenges for the rest of the year, VASEP deputy general secretary To Thi Tuong Lan said. $9 billion exports in 2021 Viet Nam’s aquatic product exports are likely to rake in $9 billion his year thanks to the implementation of new generation free trade agreements, according to experts. Despite complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country earned $4.88 billion from aquatic product exports in the first seven months of 2021, up 11 per cent year-on-year. The increase was attributable to efforts by firms against the backdrop of COVID-19 which triggers labour shortages and difficulties in material purchase, as well as social distancing measures in 19 southern localities in a bid to curb the spread of the pandemic. As of the end of July, revenues from aquatic product export to the US surpassed $1.14 billion, making up 22.9 per cent of Viet Nam total earnings and seeing a year-on-year expansion of 36 per cent. Aquatic exports to other markets including Mexico, Brazil, the UK, Thailand and the Netherlands also enjoyed significant growth. Exports to Africa reported a year-on-year surge of 32 per cent in volume and 16.7 per cent in value in the first seven months. China is currently the largest market of Viet Nam’s aquatic products, accounting for 26 percent. The target of $9 billion in export revenues is reachable this year if COVID-19 is promptly brought under control and the logistics system resumes normal operations, according to the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Producers and Exporters (VASEP). The Directorate of Fisheries advised firms to maintain shipments to traditional markets for sustainable growth, noting that from the start of 2022, China will apply new policies on the imports of Viet Nam’s agro-forestry-aquatic products. Sustainable agriculture: economic backbone of Mekong Delta province The Mekong Delta province of Kiên Giang is focusing on three key areas -- crop cultivation, animal husbandry and seafood -- to maintain sustainable agriculture as the backbone of its economy. The province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is working with localities to monitor weather conditions and inform farmers promptly about proper cultivation schedules and farming techniques that help prevent crop disease. Lê Hữu Toàn, deputy director of the department, said the province, which is the country's top rice producer, has already sown two rice crops, with high-quality varieties accounting for 80 per cent of the total area. It aims to have annual paddy output of 4 million tonnes this year, up 1.3 per cent against the plan this year. In animal husbandry, by the end of the year the province will breed mostly pigs (more than 261,250), as well as oxen, cows, buffaloes and hundreds of thousands of poultry to supply to markets. By 2025, biosafety breeding methods will be used at all large-scale pig farms, 80 per cent of medium-scale pig farms, and half of small-scale pig farms. In seafood production, the province this year targets 510,000 tonnes from the sea and 293,000 tonnes from aquaculture. It aims to harvest 136,000 tonnes of brackish-water shrimp this year using breeding models like industrial farming, extensive farming, advanced extensive farming, and shrimp – rice farming. To prevent disease outbreaks, it is strictly managing schedules for brackish-water shrimp. It is also expanding industrial shrimp models to produce a large output for export. Marine aquaculture Toàn, deputy director of the department, said under the province's seafood development plan, brackish-water and marine aquaculture will be expanded. With a coastline of more than 200km and 143 large and small islands, Kiên Giang has the largest number of floating cages for marine aquaculture in the delta. By year end, it aims to have 5,500 floating cages for breeding marine fish, 250ha for pearl oysters and 25,560ha for other bivalve mollusk species. Concentrated marine fish breeding areas will be developed in island communes like Kiên Lương District’s Hòn Nghệ Commune, Kiên Hải District’s Lại Sơn Commune and Hà Tiên City’s Tiên Hải Commune. The communes breed marine-fish species such as cobia, grouper, snapper, yellow fin pomfret and seabass. Bivalve mollusk species such as blood cockle, green mussel, yellow clam and ark clam will be bred mostly in mudflats along the coast in Kiên Lương, Hòn Đất, An Biên and An Minh districts. Pearl oysters are bred in Phú Quốc City. To develop marine aquaculture, the province is teaching farmers breeding techniques for marine fish in floating cages and bivalve mollusk species. Farmers are also encouraged to have identification codes for their legally registered floating cages. Seafood catch Kiên Giang, which has one of the largest fishing boat fleets in the delta, will restructure its fishing industry based on natural seafood resources. The province’s sea area has natural resources of about 145,000 tonnes, with an allowable catch of more than 100,000 tonnes. Near-shore fishing activities will be reduced to protect natural seafood resources, according to the department. Overfishing and destructive fishing activities have reduced the amount of natural seafood in the sea. Currently, about 9,880 boats are used for fishing activities, including 9,433 fishing boats and 448 logistics boats for offshore fishing. But by 2025, the province will eliminate 2,550 fishing boats, mostly near-shore boats, and will help fishermen find other jobs. To ensure they are following fishing regulations, the activities of fishing boats are watched by vessel monitoring systems (VMS) that are required on boats. Doãn Đình Tránh, deputy commissar of the province's Border Guard Command, said: “The Border Guard Command continues to inspect the installing of VMS in fishing boats and to manage VMS.” The guard command inspects fishing boats going in and out of fishing ports and only allows boats that meet all legal requirements. It strictly penalises fishing boats that violate legal regulations on fishing activities, especially boats that do not install a VMS or turn off the VMS when they are fishing at sea, according to the officer. Firms help to improve IT human resources in Viet Nam Representatives from 100 businesses and non-traditional education and training units signed a commitment to provide training for human resources in the digital revolution in Viet Nam. Nguyen Thanh Nam, Founder of FUNiX, told an online conference last week that the annual demand for information and technology (IT) jobs has increased up to 47 per cent in the past few years. However, the current IT training units meet only 40 per cent of demand. The co-operation between businesses and non-traditional education and training units would be the right way to ensure the IT human resources supply. Dinh Anh Huan, chairman of Seedcom said Vietnamese IT engineers have the ability to work in all countries around the world. Experts said Viet Nam has opportunities to compete in the world market in IT sectors that have potential such as mobile gaming, blockchain, internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). The country could become a centre to provide high quality IT human resources for the world. Nguyen Duc Tai, CEO of Lumi smart house, believed that Viet Nam’s IoT products, especially in the smart house area could compete with big firms from China. Pham Quan, CEO of Onesoft, said Viet Nam has a certain position in the game programming industry with some game studios in the Top 15 worldwide. Five out of 10 leading game studios in Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific belong to Vietnamese people. Tran Viet Hung, founder of STEAM for Vietnam, said providing IT training for young people would help build a firm supply of human resources for the future. STEAM for Vietnam has organised classes with 5,000 pupils a day to teach IT for Vietnamese children nationwide. “We expect to co-operate with businesses to mobilise a big force of humane resources for the IT sector,” said Le Minh Duc, managing director of FUNiX. E-commerce groups welcome rush of agricultural products E-commerce platforms and food-tech companies are boosting the sales of agricultural products, especially in the time of social distancing in many localities. After only a week in cooperation with Shopee, Quyet Thanh Moc Chau Co-operative in the northern province of Son La sold seven million tonnes of plums, the seasonal agricultural products of the north. Phan Thi Hoa, deputy general of the co-operative, told VIR that sales are one-third higher than before the initiative was created. The co-operative has also started selling on Voso and Sendo. “We gained the highest revenues through Sendo because, in addition to seasonal agricultural products such as plums we sell dried fruit, which is our typical product,” Hoa said. Quyet Thanh Moc Chau Co-operative gathers more than 20 households with over 60 hectares of agricultural land, specialising in growing seasonal fruits. It has been over a month since the co-operative registered and sold plums on e-commerce platforms. “E-commerce platforms boost consumption. The number of orders is high with plenty of customers nationwide. Selling on these platforms is also leisurely – we don’t have to drive and urge people to buy our products at traditional markets, which wastes a lot of time,” Hoa said. This is also the first year that Quang Chau Longan Co-operative in the northern province of Hung Yen has put its longan on Sendo. According to director Nguyen Tien Nen, sales on the platform have occupied about 50 per cent of the total output. This year, the cooperative’s longan output is expected to reach about 3,500 tonnes. At the start of this month, Hung Yen longan was introduced on Sendo, receiving a subsidy of around 35-50 per cent. Households in the co-operative are instructed on how to package and sell products, and farmers can directly livestream to introduce products and actively take orders on the platforms. Taku Tanaka, CEO of Kamereo, the Vietnam’s first tech enabled supplier for restaurants and hotels, stated that once farmers coordinate with e-commerce platforms there will be many benefits, such as stable demand, big demand per purchase, and better prices compared to selling to dealers in farming areas, as middle stages in the supply chain are cut. Along with Sendo, Voso, and Shopee, the likes of Tiki, Postmart, and Lazada are also launching programmes to stimulate the consumption of agricultural products. Shopee signed a cooperation agreement in mid-July to promote trade and distribution of longan and agricultural products of Hung Yen. In the third quarter, it will deploy the programme in other provinces such as Dong Thap, Binh Thuan, Dak Lak, and Can Tho. Along with focusing on promoting and advertising, Shopee also helps farmers to research and convert seasonal agricultural products to year-round products through methods such as freezing and drying. Likewise, apart from e-commerce platforms, food-tech companies like Kamereo also provide platforms to support farmers. Unlike most e-commerce platforms, the company is operating in the business-to-business space where smaller businesses like mini-stores, supermarkets, and food shops are customers. The website and mobile app are tailored for such usage. “As we focus on fresh produce, we have a facility to keep vegetables fresh in our fulfilment centre. Our fulfilment centre is active all the time, receives goods from farms at midnight, then delivers to customer door stop within the following day to ensure freshness. Currently, restaurants cannot operate due to lockdown, but retail shops still can. We are supporting more and more retail shops and supermarkets to have fresh produce in their stores every day,” Tanaka of Kamereo said. Along with e-commerce or food-tech platforms, there are more websites and applications that are run for the purpose of connecting farmers and consumers. Last month, the Ministry of Industry and Trade launched a website on agricultural food and products, which links with other food sites so that seasonality products are shown to a large number of buyers. Besides that, farmers can directly sell their products through other modest-sized websites or applications such as Agriculturalvn and Vidas, which function as intermediary tools between sellers and buyers. In particular, websites and apps like Chotot and Muabannongsan even allow users to express their needs via post to seek sellers. Therefore, once farmers join these platforms, they have chances to trade more by actively connecting with buyers. Groups such as Online Agricultural Products on social networks also attract more customers. Tanaka believed that buying fresh produce online is still not popular with many consumers as Vietnam has lots of small retail shops, wet markets, and modern retail shops. “Due to the recent lockdowns, many consumers experience buying fresh produce online for the first time because many wet markets close and people avoid going out often. The question is whether buying fresh produce online will become a habit afterwards. Each player might seek different value propositions like competitive price, quality, or convenience,” he said. Linkages between farmers and retail companies spur sales in Tien Giang despite pandemic Farmers, agricultural co-operatives and retail companies have strengthened linkages to guarantee sales outlets for farm produce in the Mekong Delta province of Tiền Giang amid travel restrictions during the pandemic. Vegetable co-operatives, for example, in coastal districts have increased sales during the pandemic. Trần Nhật Hoàng Nam, deputy director of the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the vegetable co-operatives had previously sold 2 – 3 tonnes each a day, but sales had risen to 3 – 4 tonnes a day during the pandemic. Sales went up for various reasons, including high demand from local markets, higher vegetable output because of favourable weather, and the efforts of co-operatives to increase linkages with retail companies. The Phú Quới Trade - Service – Agriculture Co-operative in Gò Công Tây District, for instance, has 107 farmers who grow 100ha of vegetables and have secured outlets. Võ Minh Luân, director of the co-operative, said besides securing outlets, the co-operative buys vegetables from its members at a price of VNĐ100 – 300 a kilogramme higher than market prices. The co-operative has also signed farm contracts with nonmember farmers to buy and sell their produce to retail companies. It has linked up with retail companies to buy pork, chicken, fish and essential food items to supply to local people. Animal husbandry co-operatives have also set up linkages with retail companies, including companies in HCM City, to supply their products. In addition, rice co-operatives have guaranteed outlets for their members to grow rice on large – scale rice fields. “The linkages among farmers and companies have been promoted effectively, especially for vegetables and rice,” said Nam. The province has established 95 linkages between farmers and companies to secure outlets for agricultural products, including crops and aquatic species. It has told co-operatives, companies and production establishments with OCOP products under the country’s "one commune – one product"(OCOP) programme, to register their products for sale on e-commerce platforms. Thirty co-operatives and 13 companies have also signed contracts to sell their products to supermarkets and convenience store chains. As a result, they have increased their sales during the pandemic by 3 – 5 times compared to before the pandemic, according to the department. Tiền Giang's agricultural co-operatives have earned total revenue of VNĐ141 billion (US$6.2 million) so far this year, up 11 per cent against the same period last year, according to the department. The province has 166 agricultural co-operatives with  40,782 farmers and 310 co-operative groups with more than 50,000 farmers. COVID-19 production suspension hampering timber exports Vietnam's timber and wood products raked in 9.6 billion USD in the first seven months of this year, up 55 percent year on year. (Photo: congthuong.vn) Suspension of production at local wood processing enterprises due to the COVID-19 pandemic is having effects on exports, according to the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (VIFOREST). Many enterprises processing and exporting furniture and handicrafts under the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts and Woodworking Association (HAWA) had received orders from foreign importers until the end of 2021, said the association Vice Chairman Nguyen Chanh Phuong. Nguyen Van Sang, director of the Viet Products Import-Export Joint Stock Company (Viet Products), said that the company had a number of new customers in the US market, leading to an increase in export orders in 2021 of 30 percent year on year. This year, the Duc Thanh Wood Joint Stock Company, a large producer of wooden home products and children toys, had set an export target of 17 million USD, an increase of 15 percent year on year. However, by the end of February it had completed nearly 50 percent of its goal, said Nguyen Thi Ngoc Diep, the company's deputy general director. The pandemic had made people in other countries stay at home and had a greater need to shop for home products, said Diep, adding that supply chains from China had broken so the customers had moved to Vietnam. In addition, some large buyers had increased orders for Vietnamese enterprises due to good product quality, she said. However, the pandemic has caused wood processing and export enterprises to face stagnation in production and delivery because 65 percent of workers in this industry have been laid off due to the pandemic, according to VIFOREST. The southern key region had 265 wood processing enterprises with a total of 119,300 employees before applying social distancing. However, only 141 enterprises are now in operation, with 30,700 employees. HCM City, Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Tay Ninh have had 134 wood processing enterprises suspend production due to having COVID-19 cases or being unable to implement the “3 on-site” model, which involves on-site production, dining and rest. Businesses implementing the model have high costs due to the COVID-19 testing of thousands of employees. Meanwhile, during the production process, enterprises still have to import materials, auxiliary materials, chemicals, packaging, and other necessities and also implement import and export procedures at banks, customs and seaports. Their staff face a very high risk of COVID-19 infection, the association said. Therefore, VIFOREST has proposed that the Government allows the association and the businesses to buy COVID-19 vaccines and give free vaccinations to workers. In addition, it said the Government needed to give financial support to wood processing businesses. The support includes reduction or delay in paying corporate income tax and other kinds of taxes, delay of social insurance payments, and land rent exemption for this year. The Government also should allow enterprises to extend loan dues and restructure debts, it said. The association has requested the Ministry of Industry and Trade to add raw material of the wood processing industry to the list of essential goods to avoid difficulty in transporting raw material for production. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam exported 10.3 billion USD of timber, wood and forest products in the first seven months, a year-on-year increase of 55 percent. Of the figure, timber and wood products raked in 9.6 billion USD, up 55 percent on the same period of last year. The major export markets of Vietnam's wood and forest products in the first seven months included the US, Japan, China, the EU and the Republic of Korea, accounting for over 90 percent of the total export value. The largest export market was the US with 5 billion USD, up nearly 94 percent year on year. Other large markets were China, 814 million USD, up 27 percent; Japan, 704 million USD, up 17.2 percent; and the RoK, 453 million USD, up 12.8 percent. Vietnam surpassed China as the largest supplier of bedroom furniture to the US. The export value of bedroom furniture to the US reached 991.4 million USD, up 69.8 percent year on year. Meanwhile, the export of Vietnam’s wood to France and wider Europe has ample room for growth. Vietnam is currently the sixth largest provider of wooden furniture in France, but only makes up 4.5 percent of the European nation’s total import values. Experts forecast that Vietnam’s timber and wood products exports to Europe would surge in the latter half of 2021. By that time, COVID-19 is expected to be brought under control and European countries are projected to loosen restriction measures and facilitate trade flows. The recovery of the European economy and the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement will be the driving forces for Vietnam's export of timber and wood products to this market. Russian consumers taste Vietnamese red flesh dragon fruit A total of 10 tonnes of red flesh dragon fruit were shipped to the Russian market on August 20, according to the Thuan Chau district People's Committee in the northern province of Son La. The red flesh dragon fruit originates from Thuan Chau La district and has recently proved popular among Russian consumers thanks to its high quality and sweet taste. Over the past two years local producers of the tropical fruit have been able to affirm  product quality in the demanding market through the application of advanced science and technology in agricultural production. These moves have contributed to significantly improving product value and stabilising output, helping local farmers to maintain production especially in the context of complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic. A local farmer in Thuan Chau district revealed that his family has earned a stable income since cultivating dragon fruit, as the fruit has great potential for export and domestic consumption in comparison to tea products. Sustainable agriculture: economic backbone of Mekong Delta province The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang is focusing on three key areas -- crop cultivation, animal husbandry and seafood -- to maintain sustainable agriculture as the backbone of its economy. The province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is working with localities to monitor weather conditions and inform farmers promptly about proper cultivation schedules and farming techniques that help prevent crop disease. Le Huu Toan, deputy director of the department, said the province, which is the country's top rice producer, has already sown two rice crops, with high-quality varieties accounting for 80 percent of the total area. It aims to have annual paddy output of 4 million tonnes this year, up 1.3 percent against the plan this year. In animal husbandry, by the end of the year the province will breed mostly pigs (more than 261,250), as well as oxen, cows, buffaloes and hundreds of thousands of poultry to supply to markets. By 2025, biosafety breeding methods will be used at all large-scale pig farms, 80 percent of medium-scale pig farms, and half of small-scale pig farms. In seafood production, the province this year targets 510,000 tonnes from the sea and 293,000 tonnes from aquaculture. It aims to harvest 136,000 tonnes of brackish-water shrimp this year using breeding models like industrial farming, extensive farming, advanced extensive farming, and shrimp – rice farming. To prevent disease outbreaks, it is strictly managing schedules for brackish-water shrimp. It is also expanding industrial shrimp models to produce a large output for export. Marine aquaculture Toan, deputy director of the department, said under the province's seafood development plan, brackish-water and marine aquaculture will be expanded. With a coastline of more than 200km and 143 large and small islands, Kien Giang has the largest number of floating cages for marine aquaculture in the delta. By year end, it aims to have 5,500 floating cages for breeding marine fish, 250ha for pearl oysters and 25,560ha for other bivalve mollusk species. Concentrated marine fish breeding areas will be developed in island communes like Kien Luong district’s Hon Nghe commune, Kien Hai district’s Lai Son commune and Ha Tien city’s Tien Hai commune. The communes breed marine-fish species such as cobia, grouper, snapper, yellow fin pomfret and seabass. Bivalve mollusk species such as blood cockle, green mussel, yellow clam and ark clam will be bred mostly in mudflats along the coast in Kien Luong, Hon Dat, An Bien and An Minh districts. Pearl oysters are bred in Phu Quoc city. To develop marine aquaculture, the province is teaching farmers breeding techniques for marine fish in floating cages and bivalve mollusk species. Farmers are also encouraged to have identification codes for their legally registered floating cages. Seafood catch   Kien Giang, which has one of the largest fishing boat fleets in the delta, will restructure its fishing industry based on natural seafood resources. The province’s sea area has natural resources of about 145,000 tonnes, with an allowable catch of more than 100,000 tonnes. Near-shore fishing activities will be reduced to protect natural seafood resources, according to the department. Overfishing and destructive fishing activities have reduced the amount of natural seafood in the sea. Currently, about 9,880 boats are used for fishing activities, including 9,433 fishing boats and 448 logistics boats for offshore fishing. But by 2025, the province will eliminate 2,550 fishing boats, mostly near-shore boats, and will help fishermen find other jobs. To ensure they are following fishing regulations, the activities of fishing boats are watched by vessel monitoring systems (VMS) that are required on boats. Doan Dinh Tranh, deputy commissar of the province's Border Guard Command, said: “The Border Guard Command continues to inspect the installing of VMS in fishing boats and to manage VMS.” The guard command inspects fishing boats going in and out of fishing ports and only allows boats that meet all legal requirements. It strictly penalises fishing boats that violate legal regulations on fishing activities, especially boats that do not install a VMS or turn off the VMS when they are fishing at sea, according to the officer. Transport firms seek simplified procedures to access relief package  Almost two years since the first Covid-19 outbreak, the transportation sector remains among the hardest hit by the pandemic. While the latest government support package worth VND26 trillion (US$1.1 billion) is already available to businesses affected by the pandemic, many transport firms that are at the brink of bankruptcy have not been able to access this package. Since Hanoi adopted the social distancing measures under Prime Minister’s directive No.16, like many other transport firms, Ninh Quynh company was forced to suspend operation. “Long before the order for social distancing in Hanoi was issued, we had a significantly scaled-down operation as there was almost no passenger,” the company director Nguyen Duy Ninh told The Hanoi Times. With the latest support package seen as a lifeline for many, in reality, however, only a handful could access this package, Ninh added. “Under the program, firms are eligible to seek loans at 0% interest rate at the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies on the condition that they have temporarily closed operation due to the pandemic. But the most important point is that the company in the subject is required to not have a history of bad debt at the time of applying for a bank’s loan,” Ninh noted. This is the bottleneck that prevents many transport firms from accessing this latest relief package." Almost two years since the first Covid-19 outbreak, the transportation sector is among the hardest hit by the pandemic, which in turn severely impacts firms’ revenue. “In order to keep business running at this moment, the majority have to seek banks’ loans, and for many, bad debt is inevitable,” Ninh continued. In the case of Mai Linh Taxi Company, Director Nguyen Cong Hung told The Hanoi Times that the company is allowed to operate at 50% of its capacity and 50% seating capacity. This, however, puts the firm in a position of being unable to be entitled to the support program. “We are trying to keep 200 cabs operational in Hanoi and the Ho Chi Minh City by getting the authorization of transporting people to hospitals and health facilities,” Hung said. On this issue, Former Chairman of the Vietnam Automobile Transportation Association (VATA) Nguyen Van Thanh told The Hanoi Times strict requirements to access the package is making it hard for transport firms to benefit from the program. “Policymakers should ensure the feasibility of supporting policies so that all intended beneficiaries could receive such benefits,” Thanh said. Sharing Thanh’s view, current VATA Chairman Nguyen Van Quyen expected the Government to ease qualification requirements for more firms to gain access to the program and aid the recovery of the transport sector. “More interactions between the authorities and business community are needed for these policies to work,” Quyen told The Hanoi Times, adding social policies should ensure their flexibility and feasibility in long term. "For the time being, the Ministry of Transport has proposed additional supporting solutions for transport companies, including a 30% cut in road maintenance fee for passenger transport companies, 10% for trucks, along with lower toll fees for vehicles passing through BOT tollhouses," said Tran Bao Ngoc, Director of the Transportation Department under the Ministry of Transport. Sugar companies enjoy sweet earnings Many businesses in the sugar industry reported fruitful earning results for the fiscal year 2020-2021. Lam Son Sugar Joint Stock Corporation (LSS) reported revenue of VND831 billion (US$36.4 million) in the fourth quarter of the 2020-2021 fiscal year, with profit after tax of VND16 billion, up 82.5 per cent and 120 per cent respectively. For the whole year, the company achieved revenue of VND1.85 trillion, and profit after tax of VND24 billion, up 9.3 per cent and 27 per cent respectively. Son La Sugar JSC (SLS) achieved profit after tax of VND164 billion for the whole year, up 38 per cent, but revenue decreased compared to the previous year, down 23.6 per cent to VND801 billion. SLS exceeded its profit target for the year by VND138 billion. In the fourth quarter of the year, SLS recorded profit of VND76 billion, up 31 per cent year-on-year and contributing 46.3 per cent to total annual profit. Thanh Cong - Bien Hoa Joint Stock Company (SBT) reported revenue of VND14.9 trillion, up 15.6 per cent, with profit reaching VND674.6 billion, up 86 per cent. In the fourth quarter, the company's revenue reached more than VND4.15 trillion, up 10.2 per cent over the same period last year. Profit after tax reached VND195 billion, down 9.3 per cent. SBT attributed the positive growth to the company's effective sales policy, market share expansion in product segments and optimisation of supply chains and well-controlled input costs. Kon Tum Sugar Joint Stock Company announced fourth-quarter revenue of VND80.4 billion, equivalent to the same period last year. However, thanks to the lower cost of goods sold, the company's profit after tax reached VND3.34 billion, a strong increase compared to VND900 million the previous year. In the whole year, the company recorded a revenue of VND248.2 billion, up 62 per cent year-on-year, and profit after tax reached VND5.87 billion, up 196 per cent. The strong recovery of world raw-sugar prices drove the positive results. According to the International Sugar Organisation (ISO), in the first half of June 2021, the price index of raw sugar and white sugar remained high. The average price of white sugar in June was $449.1 per tonne, slightly lower than in May but still higher than in March and April. The average price of raw sugar over 6 months also rose from the previous months. In the domestic market, sugar prices also benefited from a new policy. The imposition of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy taxes by the Ministry of Industry and Trade on sugar from Thailand limited imports, making supply and demand more balanced, pushing up sugar prices. Le Trung Thanh, vice chairman of Lam Son Sugar Joint Stock Corporation Board of Directors, said that the price of finished sugar had increased by 20 per cent compared to the same period last year. "LSS has careful preparation steps, expecting a new fiscal year with more prosperous business results,” he said Thanh said the company spent VND30 billion to invest in growing sugarcane, fertiliser and farming techniques. As a result, the number of farmers returning to sugarcane farming increased by about 20 per cent compared to the previous year, ensuring growth in the new period. The purchase price of raw sugar cane had increased sharply in recent years, from 900,000 to VND1.1 million per tonne, and was expected to increase to VND1.2 million per tonne in the new crop, he said. However, in the short term, sugar enterprises were facing challenges due to the fourth outbreak of COVID-19. If the pandemic was well controlled, all production and business activities would return to normal, especially the sugar enterprises as they mainly served the domestic market, he said. “The transportation of goods to factories is also limited, drivers must comply with regulations on disease prevention and COVID-19 testing,” he added. An industry insider said when the Ministry of Industry and Trade applied anti-subsidy and anti-dumping taxes on sugar imported from Thailand, there were cases of more sugar being imported from other countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia. The imposition of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy taxes on refined and raw sugar imported from Thailand would last for five years, officially effective from June 16, 2021, he said. This was expected to remove difficulties and challenges for local sugar businesses who had to compete with cheap Thai sugar flooding the domestic market. Realtors urged to adapt to changes in customers behavior The Covid-19 outbreak in major cities in Vietnam has somewhat frozen the real estate market and put many real estate agents into a difficult situation. Experts urged realtors to quickly adapt to changes in customer's behavior to have a better chance of survival. Vice General Director of the real estate website batdongsan.com.vn Nguyen Quoc Anh made the suggestion at a conference discussing solutions to help real estate agents overcome the pandemic on August 20. With social distancing measures in place in cities including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, or Binh Duong, constructions of many property projects were forced to be temporarily suspended, along with limited contacts between realtors and customers. A number of real estates firms have to scale down operations and struggle to keep the business running at the moment. Meanwhile, General Director of Dai Phuc Land Company Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong said the most challenging issues at the moment for property project owners are the lack of working capital and capabilities to pay debts. “The majority had to secure bank loans or other financial sources to fund their projects,” she added. The pandemic made the situation worse as many are unable to sell their products or carry on construction, Huong continued. To give a clearer picture of the situation of real estate brokerage, General Director of real estate service company DKRA Vietnam Pham Lam said for the past three months, 50% of companies in Ho Chi Minh City recorded revenue below 10%. “Companies without a source of income are struggling to boost sales as they were forced to scale down operation,” Lam said. The market outlook, however, remains promising as the Director of CBRE Vietnam Duong Thuy Dung said demands for apartments in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in the first six months of this year exceeded supplies, which leads to rising prices in the market. Sharing Dung’s view, Nguyen Quoc Anh from batdongsan.com.vn noted interests for housing rental or purchase have surged 54% year-on-year during the period. “Firms should adopt IT and e-commerce in their interaction with customers during the social distancing period, which could also be seen as a way to enhance customers’ experience in looking at each property project,” Anh added. Long An Province farmers get bumper winged yam harvest, high prices Farmers in Long An Province’s Thuận Hoá District are getting a bumper harvest of winged yam and high selling prices. Trương Văn Siếm, who grows it on 4ha in Thạnh Hoá Town, harvested 15 tonnes of the root per hectare and sold them for VNĐ15,000 (65 US cents) a kilogramme, earning VNĐ100 million ($4,360). The price has doubled since last year, according to the district Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development. The weather has been favourable for growing winged yam this year, he said to explain the high yields. The district, the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province’s largest producer of the crop, has more than 2,700ha under it, mostly in Thuỷ Đông, Thạnh An, Thuỷ Tây, and Tân Tây communes and Thạnh Hoá Town. Its Bến Kè winged yam is well known for its delicious taste. The root is used for making soups, cakes and other dishes. With their average yield of 15 tonnes, farmers earn VNĐ100-120 million ($4,360-5,230) per hectare, the bureau said. The crop has helped the district’s farmers escape poverty in recent years and enjoy a stable life. Nguyễn Kinh Kha, head of the bureau, said winged yam had become one of the district’s key farm items. To further develop winged yam cultivation, the bureau planned to strengthen agriculture extension activities to teach farmers new techniques and expand efficient intensive-farming models, he said. Thuỷ Đông Commune, which has 1,200ha under winged yam, the highest in the district, established a club for farmers in 2014 to exchange experiences and join hands to grow the crop. Nguyễn Văn Đinh, a local farmer, said, “In the club, I was taught farming techniques and promised guaranteed outlets, which will prevent a situation of prices being pushed down by traders.” The club has tied up with the Bến Kè Agriculture Service Co-operative to acquire techniques to grow winged yam based on Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards and guarantee outlets for its members. Phan Thành Dũng, director of the latter, said: “The co-operative buys winged yam to sell to supermarkets, suppliers and companies in and outside the province, especially in HCM City.”   "The high prices for the crop are also because travel restrictions to contain COVID-19 mean people prefer to buy agricultural produce that can be stored for a long period," he said. The co-operative supplies more than 2,000 tonnes annually for domestic consumption and exports. It is expanding its linkages with farmers, especially for growing white-flesh winged yam to meet the market demand. The district’s alum-affected soil is ideal for growing the crop. In the past farmers could only grow one crop a year between the 11th and seventh lunar months, but farmers have been able to grow two in recent years after the district built dykes to protect agricultural lands from flooding during the rainy season when the Mekong River overflows. The province People’s Committee has decided to register for geographical indication certification for the district’s Bến Kè winged yam, and the Department of Science and Technology is completing the procedures. Saigon Co.op bears losses on essential products to benefit customers Saigon Co.op’s retail networks have absorbed losses to keep the prices of many essential products unchanged in the last few months since the fourth wave of COVID-19 began. Its supermarkets have experienced an overload in both offline and online sales in the period, with customers mainly buying fresh food (more than 75 per cent), the category with the lowest profit rate, it claimed. Its supermarkets are absorbing the costs of finding new supply sources, transportation, quarantine, wastage, and others, it said. In addition, amid the pandemic several new costs have emerged such as those for quick and PCR testing of employees and drivers, support policies for employees and rising shipping costs, it said. Thus, for instance, it sometimes sells chicken eggs at lower than cost price, it said. Many Co.opmart, Co.opXtra, and Co.op Food stores had to close temporarily after infections were found, hitting revenues. Saigon Co.op recently announced discounts on more than 2,000 essential products to continue supporting customers during the hard times caused by the pandemic. From now until August 25 Co.opmart, Co.opXtra, Co.op Food, and Co.op Smile will cut prices by 15 to nearly 50 per cent on products like seafood, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, personal hygiene products, disinfectants, and household utensils. Saigon Co.op said it would also continue co-ordinating with local organisations to deliver goods to households, isolation areas and field hospitals. Mekong Delta urged to ease hurdles at waterway checkpoints to ensure delivery of farm produce Farmers, businesses and traders in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta have called for simpler inspection procedures at waterway checkpoints to ensure speedier circulation of agricultural products. Delivery of farm produce in the Mekong Delta, especially the summer-autumn rice, has been interrupted as 19 southern provinces and cities are under social distancing rules under Government Directive 16. Several traders in Tien Giang Province said that social distancing and travel restrictions were preventing farmers from transporting their produce, disrupting supply chains and causing rice prices to fall. The number of waterway checkpoints is too high, and the cost for COVID testing is prohibitive for many drivers, according to traders. Some drivers have quit their jobs for fear of contracting COVID-19, making it difficult for businesses to transport goods and increasing the cost of hiring drivers. Ho Van Chiu, a rice trader in An Giang Province, said it now took up to five days for a boat to transport rice from Kien Giang to An Giang compared to a maximum of three days previously, doubling the cost. “You now have to have a certificate of rice purchase from the point of departure to the point of rice collection, and a negative COVID test certificate,” he said. “The cost for a rapid test is nearly VND1 million per test. Many boat owners or traders have stopped buying due to the high test cost.” "Boat operators are required to present a negative test done within 72 hours, but some of their trips last longer than the period, which means their travel pass has expired," he said. Boat operators are also being asked by some provincial authorities for their destination, but many of them travel around and do not know in advance where they will stop. Le Huu Toan, deputy director of the Kien Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said it was important to reduce the number of procedures and documents to facilitate transport and consumption of agricultural products in the region. To clear waterway checkpoints, boat owners who come to Kien Giang Province, for example, to buy agricultural products are required to present many documents, including confirmation of departure, a travel paper issued by their local authority, a negative test both at departure and at destination, and a destination confirmation. Trang Truong Thanh, deputy director of Soc Trang Department of Transport, said the department would create favourable conditions for agricultural products to be transported smoothly in and out of the province, including on waterways. Tran Van Lau, chairman of Soc Trang People’s Committee, said that provinces in the region should improve coordination. “Provinces need to join hands in COVID prevention, while resolving the consumption of goods such as agricultural and aquatic products in the region.” Colonel Vo Van Chinh, head of the Waterway Police Department of the An Giang Province Police, said: “We are ready to create conditions for traders to transport agricultural products 24/7, provided that there is a negative COVID-19 certificate.” “We are giving priority to agricultural products transported during this period.” Nguyen Tan Nhon, deputy director of Can Tho Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said it was necessary to set up hotlines in each of the 13 cities or provinces to promptly solve problems for traders and businesses transporting farm produce. He said the Ministry of Transport should soon provide a “green channel” on waterways that will give priority for the transport of essential items including farm produce. Transport disruption due to pandemic prevention regulations has meant rice traders have been unable to buy the grain, which has caused prices to fall by 24 per cent since May, according to a report from the Viet Nam Food Association. Viet Nam strives to be a global seafood processing centre Viet Nam is aiming to become one of the world's top five seafood processing countries. The Prime Minister recently issued Decision 1408/QD-TTg approving the development of the seafood processing industry over the next 10 years. The plan aims to develop a modern, efficient and sustainable seafood processing industry, meeting the needs and regulations of the consumption market; improve competitiveness and continue to integrate deeply into the global value chain. The target is for the growth rate of processed seafood production to reach more than six per cent per year by 2030. The proportion of export value of value-added processed seafood products reached an average of over 40 per cent, in which shrimp reached 60 per cent, pangasius 10 per cent, tuna 70 per cent, squid and octopus 30 per cent, and other aquatic products 30 per cent. The scheme aims to form a number of modern seafood processing corporations and enterprises, with economic potential and management level at a world-class standard. The value of seafood processing for domestic consumption is expect to hit VND40 - 45 trillion (US$1.7 – 1.9 billion), contributing to the value of seafood export turnover of about $14-16 billion. To achieve the objectives, the plan sets out necessary tasks such as organising the control and development of raw materials for aquatic product processing from farming, exploitation and importation to meet the needs of processing enterprises and suitable for domestic consumption and export demand; comply with the conditions and regulations of Viet Nam and international practices; ensure the requirements of traceability, avoid origin fraud, and trade fraud. It also set a goal to attract investment to form large seafood processing corporations and companies with economic potential and world-class management; step up the processing of products with high added value, which focus on key product groups and develop seafood consumption market. The scheme has six projects, priority tasks for implementation with a total cost of VND420 billion. Nearly $44 million to upgrade Nam Nghi Son and Quy Nhon marine fairways The Ministry of Transport has just approved an investment policy to renovate and upgrade the marine fairway to ports in Nam Nghi Son in the central province of Thanh Hoa and the central province of Binh Dinh’s Quy Nhon marine fairway with a total amount of nearly VND1 trillion (US$43.5 million). The Ministry of Transport emphasised that the renovation and upgrade of the Nam Nghi Son marine fairway will enhance investment attraction, make full use of the seaport infrastructure capacity, and serve the socio-economic development of Thanh Hoa Province and the region. It is expected that the dredging volume of the project is about 3.5 million cubic metres with a total estimated preliminary investment of more than VND567 billion, using State budget capital in the medium-term public investment capital plan for the 2021 - 2025 period. The expected completion time is 2024. The Ministry of Transport said the other project would help meet the demand for goods passing through Quy Nhon port area. The total project investment is expected to be VND421 billion, using the State budget capital in the medium-term public investment capital plan for the period of 2021 - 2025. The project implementation period is from 2021 to 2024. The Ministry of Transport said that both projects have the Maritime Project Management Board assigned to implement appraisal reports and organise the implementation of next steps to ensure compliance with provisions and laws on construction, bidding and related regulations to ensure the quality, progress and efficiency of the use of project capital. Australia delays conclusion on anti-dumping probe into Viet Nam’s painted steel strapping The Anti-Dumping Commission of Australia (ADC) has announced the fifth extension of time granted to issue the final report on an investigation into the alleged dumping and subsidisation of painted steel strapping from China and Viet Nam. Accordingly, the due date for the final report issuance is now extended to October 26, 2021, the Trade Remedies Authority of Viet Nam cited the ADC notice as saying. The ADC also officially concluded that Sam Hwan Vina Co Ltd, the largest Vietnamese exporter in this investigation, No 553, has dumped painted steel strapping, but the dumping margin is less than 2 per cent, so it decided to terminate the probe into this firm. With an export turnover of about US$4.6 million, the Sam Hwan Vina Co Ltd accounts for 83 per cent of Viet Nam’s exports of the product, the authority said. The investigation into the remaining businesses of China and Viet Nam will continue. The ADC is due to report to the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology in respect of this investigation on or by 26 October this year. The applicant for this probe may request a review of the decision within 30 days of the notice publication, according to the ADC. Meanwhile, ADC has just issued an official notice on the termination of the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation on precision pipe and tube steel imported from Viet Nam and Taiwan (China). After an investigation, this agency concluded there had been no dumping of the goods by exporters from Viet Nam. Besides, the total volume of goods exported to Australia from Taiwan and Viet Nam over the investigation period was negligible. The investigation into the alleged dumping of the goods from China and Korea will continue. Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/SGGP/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes

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