Mr. Will Mackereth, Nestle Vietnam: Nestle Business Strategy in Vietnam

Developing an Agricultural Value Chain in the Mekong Region

World experts from business and academia came together at the Sheraton Hanoi Hotel, Ha Noi, for a National Policy Dialogue Forum on December 14. The Forum discussed agricultural value chains in the Mekong region.

The event was co-organised by the the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), and Ministry of Industry and Trade, Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

As agriculture moves away from a traditional model in which agriculture, although employing a significant sector of the workforce, contributes only a low percentage to GDP, the Forum discussed the future of agriculture in the region – its opportunities and challenges – especially from the public policy perspective, to ensure agricultural can attain higher value added.

Keynote speaker, Prof. Sisira Jayasuriya, Director of the Centre for Development Economics and Sustainability and Professor of Economics at Australia’s Monash University, discussed how regional and global economic developments, together with pressures on the natural resource base, are opening up huge opportunities but also posing major challenges for agriculture in the Mekong region.

There were two panel discussions following the keynote speech.

The first, which consisted of representatives from Viet Nam’s Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) and Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD), in addition to Prof. Jayasuria, looked at issues including agricultural restructuring, the need to link domestic firms and farmers with export destinations, and branding.

The second panel took a business perspective on how to develop an agri-business friendly Mekong region. Panelists touched on issues including procurement policies (Nestle Vietnam Ltd), the role of supermarkets in meeting the demand for quality produce (AEON Vietnam Co. Ltd), logistics and connectivity (Nippon Express Vietnam co. Ltd) and the importance of branding for agricultural products (VinEco Agricultural Investment).