11:26 (GMT +7) - Saturday 23/02/2019

Vietnam Today

Belgian Agriculture Minister to pay visit

Released at: 14:51, 31/01/2018

Belgian Agriculture Minister to pay visit

Photo: Embassy of Belgium

Minister to visit Hanoi from January 31 to February 2.

by Ngoc Lan

Belgium’s Federal Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Denis Ducarme, will pay an official visit to Hanoi from January 31 to February 2.

Mr. Ducarme will meet with Minister of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong to discuss current bilateral ties in agriculture and set out avenues for more fruitful cooperation in the future.

Belgium and Vietnam have a long tradition of cooperation in the sector and Belgian funding has helped Vietnam develop its dairy and aquaculture sector. A new and ambitious $14.8 million academic cooperation program was launched in 2017.

The two ministers will also witness a signing ceremony between Solvay and PetroVietnam to develop a high performing fertilizer that is less detrimental to water and soil.

Mr. Ducarme will also meet with Belgian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Beluxcham, the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, and take a tour of Puratos Grand-Place’s chocolate processing factory in northern Bac Ninh province to further understand the activities of Belgian enterprises in the country.

Puratos Grand-Place has been awarded a new credit of $1.5 million from the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) to further expand its activities in Vietnam.

It specializes in the processing of cocoa and has been striving to vertically integrate its production in the country. The credit will be used for a liquor grinding line in the Mekong Delta’s Ben Tre province.

Mr. Ducarme will also tour the Vietnam National University of Agriculture (VNUA), of whom Belgium is the largest development partner. The Belgian University of Liège has a structural cooperation with the university to boost academic performance.

In addition, specific research is being done on Pietrain pigs and an upgrading of post-harvesting fruit processes. Belgian development cooperation also supports an agricultural business incubator at VNUA.

The visit takes place during celebrations of 45 years of diplomatic relations between Belgium and Vietnam. Mr. Ducarme will also participate in the exclusive culinary event, “A Taste of Belgium”, which will showcase authentic Belgian cuisine and high-quality Belgian produce, at the Pullman Hotel in the capital.

Belgium and Vietnam have been important agricultural partners. The main orientations of development cooperation are green growth, water management, and innovation. Belgium has for example been pivotal in the development of the dairy sector.

In the field of academic cooperation, both Flemish as well as French-speaking universities in Belgium have long-standing partnerships with Vietnamese counterparts.

In agriculture in particular, Belgian universities have excellent cooperative programs with the Vietnamese National University of Agriculture in Hanoi, the Nong Lam University in Ho Chi Minh City, and Can Tho University in the Mekong Delta city.

The university cooperation has contributed to the development of Vietnam’s aquaculture sector and contributes to researching the adaptation of local agriculture to climate change as well as in food technology and safe food.

In addition to university cooperation, Belgian NGO Ricolto supports smallholder farmers in their transition to safe rice and vegetable production and the Trade for Development Center helps cocoa farmers get their cocoa certified as “Fair Trade” and to increase yields and incomes.

Friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Belgium and Vietnam have been developed over the last 45 years since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1973. Last year, the two looked back on the 40-year presence of the Belgian Development Cooperation in Vietnam.

In particular, Belgium has assisted Vietnam’s education sector through scholarship programs and knowledge exchanges. More than 2,000 Vietnamese have received a Belgian education. From being long-standing partners in development cooperation, Belgium and Vietnam have been maturing bilateral ties in different sectors.

Trade between the two countries hovered around $2.45 billion in 2016 and an increasing number of Belgian companies are investing in Vietnam.

User comment (0)

Send comment