Vietnam Seed Industry News

This page features a compilation and selection of Vietnamese seed industry news briefs, summaries and leads, with an emphasis on events that impact or affect provinces, regions, counties, cities and locales in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. 

The news covers trends and events regarding seed regulation, testing, legislation, phytosanitary issues, intellectual property rights, biotechnology (genomics, gene-editing) plant breeding, agronomy and cropping, with original sources linked.

This page will be updated throughout the year, with most recent briefs listed first.

Hoa Binh veg market survey during Tet holiday: Feb 16: According to a survey at a number of local markets in Hoa Binh Province, the price of green vegetables  such as kohlrabi, cabbage, and cauliflower had fallen after the Lunar New Year festival. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, traders in other localities did not come to buy vegetables and local farmers had to sell their produce at local markets in the city. However, according to market sellers, this year the sales of fresh produce after the Lunar New Year has decreased compared to previous years. Original story in Vietnamese here


Winter-spring cool weather crop protection advisory: Feb 28: The South Central Coast and Central Highlands provinces are being affected by cold temperatures and cloudy weather with scattered rain. The main crops in the region such as rice, maize, coffee, pepper, cashew, durian, dragon fruit, and cassava are at a critical stage and susceptible to pests and diseases. The Center for Plant Protection in Central Vietnam has assigned agencies in the various provinces to take an active role in monitoring the situation closely and inspecting crops regularly for signs of harmful pets and diseases. Particular attention is to be applied to rice, cassava, maize, pepper, cashew, coffee, durian, and dragon fruit. Original story in Vietnamese here


Tet flower sales slump: Feb 8: Flower growers in Gia Lai province are experiencing slow sales during what would normally be a busy Tet festival period, causing farmers to abandon their gardens and experience financial losses. Original story in Vietnamese here

Cinnamon cultivation in Yen Bai: Feb 7: Cinnamon is used in traditional medicine and is an important ingredient in many dishes. Cinnamon is concentrated in 4 growing areas: Yen Bai, Quang Ninh, Thanh Hoa - Nghe An and Quang Nam - Quang Ngai. In Van Yen district of Yen Bai Province the area for growing cinnamon is now nearly 50,000 hectares, and increasing between 1,800 to 2,000 hectares per year. This has resulted in an annual output of 6,000 tons of dried cinnamon bark; 63,000 tons of cinnamon branches and leaves; 300 tons of cinnamon oil; and 51,000 tons of ground cinnamon. Original story in Vietnamese here

Village co-operative turns to organic vegetable farming for higher profits: Feb 16: A group of 20 farmers from a village co-operative located in Lương Sơn District of Hòa Bình Province have been growing organic vegetables under the cooperative model since 2014. The cultivated area is about 20 hectares that was converted from rice fields. A range of seasonal vegetables are grown including tomatoes, cabbage, gourd, zucchini, cucumber, papaya, beans, lettuce and other leafy vegetables. The organic produce is quickly snapped up by buyers from Hanoi with production not able to meet demand. The farmers estimate that the profits from vegetable cultivation is around 5 to 6 times higher than intensive rice farming, achieving an average of income of 95-130 USD per hectare of cultivation per month. See news here

Pilot scheme of ST24 and ST25 rice varieties show encouraging results: (Feb 13) Cultivation of ST24 and ST25 rice varieties on a 60 hectare plot in Hồng Dân District, Bạc Liêu Province, shows the varieties possess good adaptability to local soil conditions and ease of cultivation, especially on shrimp-rice land. To encourage the production of ST24 and ST25 varieties, the agricultural sector of Bac Lieu province has organized 70 training courses on farming techniques with the participation of 2,600 farmers on soil improvement techniques, sowing, and cultivation. The scheme will be expanded to 3,500 hectares of land north of National Highway 1A in Bạc Liêu Province. See news in Vietnames here.

Biomass maize crop enjoys State seed support: January 2021:

For the winter cropping season of 2020, nearly 2,220 hectares of crops were sown in the district of Huong Khe; of this, biomass maize was sown on over 400 hectares. Currently, across the fields in localities in the district, farmers are focusing on taking care of winter crops with the hope of achieving and exceeding targets. This past year Hà Tĩnh Province has provided support in the form of seeds. More in Vietnamese here

Vinaseed’s award winning rice to be distributed via Vinmart outlets: January 2021: Ho Chi Minh listed Vinaseed recently signed a distribution agreement with the Vinmart supermarket chain to distribute the seed company’s famous ST25 rice products at Vinmart outlets across Vietnam. Vinaseed's ST25 rice is produced in a closed "field to table" model utilizing “purebred rice varieties'' produced using special symbiotic breeding and production methods that integrate with rice and shrimp farming at sites in Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau. Aside from this, the rice is processed, milled and packed using modern technology from Japan and Israel, and is produced under FSSC 22,000 certification standards. Since the ST25 variety won the World's Best Rice 2019 award, many counterfeit and copy brands have surfaced on the market. Read more in Vietnamese here

Rice ‘Tet aid’ requested for poor households in Quang Tri: January 2021: The Quang Tri Provincial People's Committee is seeking aid from the central government in the form of rice, having requested more than 807 tons of rice for people to consume during this coming Tet holiday. Concerned Quang Tri officials have identified 53,838 people living in 11,484 households in need to support rice for the  month, which equates to about 15kg / person / month. Those in need include poor households, ethnic minorities with difficult circumstances, affected by natural disasters, especially floods at the end of 2020. The rice is proposed to be divided as follows: over 466 tons distributed in Huong Hoa district; 285 tons for Dakrong district, while the districts of Gio Linh, Hai Lang, Vinh Linh, Cam Lo and Con Co island districts would be allocated between 1 to 21 tons, respectively. More details in Vietnamese media here

Seed aid for several disaster-stricken provinces: December and January 2021: The Prime Minister has assigned the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to issue without charge 615.8 tons of rice seeds; 130.48 tons of corn seeds and 1.48 tons of vegetable seeds in three provinces: Thua Thien Hue, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai as part of relief efforts following a number of natural disasters in late 2020. Specifically, Thua Thien Hue province will receive 210.8 tons of rice seeds, 24 tons of corn seeds and 1.48 tons of vegetable seeds; Quang Nam province 200 tons of rice seeds and 35 tons of corn seeds; Quang Ngai province: 205 tons of rice seeds and 71.48 tons of corn seeds. More details in Vietnamese here. The order follows similar news in late December, when the Prime Minister instructed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to issue 2,340 tons of rice seeds without charge; 500 tons of corn seeds and 40 tons of vegetable seeds in four provinces: Quang Tri, Quang Binh, Ha Tinh and Thanh Hoa. In that order, Quang Tri province was supported with 1,000 tons of rice seeds, 80 tons of corn seeds and 10 tons of vegetable seeds; Quang Binh province was supported with 640 tons of rice seeds, 120 tons of corn seeds and 10 tons of vegetable seeds; Ha Tinh province was supported with 500 tons of rice seeds, 100 tons of corn seeds and 10 tons of vegetable seeds; Thanh Hoa province was supported with 200 tons of rice seeds, 200 tons of corn seeds and 10 tons of vegetable seeds.The news was covered in several reports, here, here, here and here

APSA company sends vegetable seed aid: In response to several storm-induced flood and landslide disasters affecting Central Vietnam in October and early November 2020. East-West Seed Vietnam Flag of Vietnam (EWHMTD) has collaborated with the local authorities & seed distributors in 5 provinces and donated more than 20,600 leafy vegetable seed pouches. See photos on East West Seed twitter feed here

Disaster seed, seedling aide in Quang Nam: On January 12, a delegation from the central government visited the Tra Leng commune  in Nam Tra My district, Quang Nam province to distribute gifts and relief to households affected by storm-induced landslides last September and October. Nam Tra My district was severely affected in “storms No. 9 and 10”, which caused 19 deads, 13 to go missing, 33 injuries and  600 houses destroyed. Productive land was also affected. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has mobilized resources and advised the Prime Minister to support the province with VND250 billion in relieff, including 235 tons of seeds, chemicals and medicine. It was also proposed to provide 5,000 seedlings of durian and mangosteen to villagers in the Tra Leng commune, as well as other varieties of fruit trees that would be most suitable. Full story in Vietnamese here.

 

2020 News

Expand/Collapse

Vinaseed rated top Vietamese company again: December 2020:
Vietnam National Seed Group (Vinaseed) was honored as a top 15 listed enterprises with the best business performance for the third consecutive year. The list is part of "Assessment of Business Performance - Vietnam the Best Company (BCI)", which is administered by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Business Forum Magazine in collaboration with Research Institute and Business Development (INBUS), Vietnam Association of Accountants and Auditors (VAA) and the Vietnam Association of Business Administrators (VACD). 1,500 listed companies were survey in various categories including solvency, business efficiency, financial leverage, dividends, profitability, capital preservation and revenue. More details in Vietnnamese here

Seedless melons yielding fortunes in Nghe An: December 2020:
Thanks to the planting of year-round seedless lemons according to VietGAP standards, many farming households in Do Luong district (Nghe An province) are able to earn great returns. From the third year the  tree begins to bear fruit, yielding on average more than 1,000 fruits, or about 70-100kg / tree / year. More details in Vietnamese here

Pioneering coffee replanting in the Central Highlands: December 2020:
With favorable climate and soil, in Lam Dong province, there is a move to bolster the cultivation of high quality coffee. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Lam Dong province has been implementing a coffee replanting and grafting program since 2006. As a result, in the period 2013-2020, more than 73,100 ha have been covered: Most of the coffee areas after replanting stably yield 4.5 tons / ha,  with some up to 6-7 tons / ha. This is compared to the province's coffee productivity of 2.6 tons / ha in 2012, which has risen to 3.2 tons / ha in 2019. Read more here in Vietnamese media.

Ruby Queen corn trials show promise in Long An: December 2020:
Up to this point, Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Khanh, living in Hamlet 3, Binh Tam Commune, Tan An City, Long An Province has planted ruby red corn seven times since first trialing the new variety from Thai seeds in 2019. According to the instructions of the seed supplier, the variety has an average yield of about 10-12 tons / ha. Common yellow American corn and waxy corn sold in the market fetch only 3,000-5,000 VND / cob, while the ruby queen variety can fetch 3-4 times more. Feed grade corn is priced per kg and thus fetches inferior returns. More details in Vietnames here.

New crop protection, input fee schedule draft: December 2020:
The Ministry of Finance has completed a draft revision for the schedules of fees concerning the regulation of phytosanitary, biosecurity and crop protection and agriculture input products and services. The organizations responsible for fee collection include the Plant Protection Department (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), the Plant Protection Sub-Department, the Plant Quarantine Sub-Department, the Plant Protection and Cultivation Department. Details of the new fees are outlined in this Vietnamese article.  

Cherry blossoms in Sa Pa district: December 2020:
In the Sa Pa district of  Lào Cai province, there are two places to admire Japanese cherry blossoms (Prunus serrulata): one is on the campus of the People's Committee of Sa Pa district, near the bank of the lake in the center of the town; the second is a European flower garden in Ham Rong mountain eco-tourism area behind the church. The Cherry blossoms planted in Sa Pa stemmed from seedlings donated by the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Association on the occasion of Sa Pa's 100-year-old turn in October 2003. Unlike Japan, where the cherry blossom season usually occurs in March and April, Sa Pa cherry blossom around the western Christmas and New Year period, at the end of December. More details and photos here

Nghệ An Province tet flower planting commences: December 2020:
Many farmers in Nghia Dan district and Thai Hoa town in Nghệ An Province have started sowing of traditional Tet (Lunar New Year) season flowers, including various types of  chrysanthemum, lilies and roses. During this time farmers who usually grow other types of crops switch to flowers due to the prospect of earning high incomes from the flowers (up to 20,000 VND per flower), which are bought ahead of the Lunar New Year festivities, which are scheduled to take place in February, 2021. Farmers typically sow their own saved seeds from previous cycles. More details in Vietnamese here

 

August 2020

Thai Binh Seed Group lauded as leading seed brand in Vietnam
The Thai Binh Seed Group, an APSA member, has been recognized by Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for having the “most advanced brand identity” in the Vietnamese seed industry. According to this article, the seed enterprise had exceeded a sales target by 20%. Aside from this, the company was lauded for its efforts in human resources, technology and R&D, particularly with regard to the establishment of a 153ha Crop Research Institute, the first of is kind in Vietnam, and the development of a number of new leading quality rice varieties. The article goes on to mention an investment of more than VND 400 billion ($17.3 million) in mega projects, including a seed processing plant, Trade Center and other facilities to support its work. 

Vietnamese Macadamia cropping stats
The Vietnam Macadamia Association will look to bolster investments in cropping of the cash crop. According to this article, macadamia is currently cultivated in 23 provinces, spanning an area of about 16,400 hectares. Of this, 65 ha is for research purposes, and 480 ha is part of forestry extension projects; 7,500 hectares for commercial cropping, and another 8,355 ha is individual growers. This year the association expects output of fresh nuts to reach 5,300 tons: 2,030 tons in Dak Lak; 1,850 tons in  Lam Dong; 780 tons in  Dak Nong; 220 tons in Son La, 164 tons in Lai Chau and another 260 tons in other provinces. The average per hectare cost of planting and tending (not including investment costs for infrastructure such as in-field transportation, electricity and water) ranges between VND 130 to 340 million ($5,640 to $14,754) and macadamia harvested from trees that are 6-7 years old can yield between 1.1 - 2.8 tons, depending on planting density. This can increase by 15-20% per year after the seventh year.  On average, the price of (fresh) nuts per kg can fetch about VND 90,000 ($3.9)  / kg.

5-3 model saves expense, increases take-home for rice farmers
A “5-3” cropping model is yielding good results in the Dai Huu village, Cat Nhon commune of Phu Cat district in Binh Dinh province, where a trial was carried out by 14 rice farmers on a 2-hectares of paddy. The five in the model refers to five reductions: in the amount of paddy sown, as well as in the amount of nitrogen fertilizer, pesticides and irrigation water used, in addition to the reduction of post-harvest losses. The “three” refers to three increases: in productivity, quality of rice and economic efficiency. The farmers were supported with 50% of the seeds, as well as materials and fertilizers, and were given training and technical guidance on best production processes for intensive rice production, extending to knowledge on general nutrition management, and combining wet and dry farming methods to optimize rice growth, inhibiting harmful pests, reducing costs and improving productivity and economic efficiency for optimal land use. The pilot enabled farmers to reduce their investment costs while increasing productivity, finally achieving yields of 75 quintals per hectare, about nine more quintals / ha than control fields that didn’t apply the model. This resulted in farmers fetching more than VND19.3 million ($831.65) / ha -- VND 6.4 million ($275) more per ha than the control field. More details here.

Thai durian varieties brings good return for Quang Tri farmer
This article documents the success of one 68-year-old durian farmer in Quang Tri who is growing durian on his 20-hectare plot of land since 2008. Initially, he had issues with drought, but got fruit by the 6th year. Now after more than 10 years, he is getting between 150 - 250 kg of fruit, which brings him about VND 100,000 ($4.32) / kg. Aside from this r, this Vietnamese language article covers the trend, challenges and opportunities of durian farming in various parts of Vietnam. 

Making a good living from water lilies in Thua Thien Hue
Many initially thought that a resident of the Giang Hai commune, Phu Loc district, Thua Thien Hue province was crazy to invest in renovating a sandy swamp to grow exotic water lilies. But not anymore as he now makes over VND 2 billion ($86,300) per year from his trade. This Vietnamese language article documents how in 2013, Mr. Huynh Van Khanhimported lily seeds from Thailand and invested in improving  his land to have many shallow ponds.

 

June and July 2020

‘Safe vegetable’ cultivation to be expanded in Hanoi
Over the next five years the Vietnamese government will support expansion of “safe vegetable” cultivation in the capital. According to the Director of the Department of Crop Production and Plant Protection (Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development), Nguyen Manh Phuong, quoted in an interview on the Hanoi Moi news website, at present, vegetables are being cultivated on more than 5,044 hectares of land in the Vietnamese capital. This is distributed across 22 districts, towns and 151 concentrated vegetable production areas, with an output of about 700,000 tons, which feeds about 70% of the needs of consumers in Hanoi. According to the interview, the government will invest in bringing more cultivation under safe production standards that call for less use of chemicals. By 2025, the goal is to increase cultivation by 3,000 to 4,000 hectares. 

Trials of ‘purple coal’ rice variety underway
Members of the Hieu Thuan Organic Village Agricultural Cooperative (Hieu Thuan commune, Vung Liem district, Vinh Long province) are trialling a new “purple charcoal” rice variety (MS2019 RMTT) on an area of ​​35 hectares. According to the report by Nongnghieb,  the seed has initially showed good adaptability to local conditions, yielding the equivalent of traditional rice varieties -- five to seven tonnes per hectare. The type of variety, which is aromatic and high in nutrients, was reportedly introduced from abroad “by a monk” and has been registered with the Department of Crop Production for trial purposes. 

Company banks on successful horticulture seedling supply model
Nongnghiep Vietnam reports on the effective contracting and supply model of one horticulture company in the provinces of Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Dak Lak and Dak Nong. The firm, which was praised by the Dept of Agriculture and Rural Development, produces seeds and seedlings for farmers, and purchases and processes produce from them under contract. This covers hundreds of thousands of tons of vegetables and fruits, especially passion fruit, mango, avocado,and durian. Passion fruit is its main focus now. The company reportedly fronts the cost for the seed/seedling to the farmer who sells the passion fruit back to the firm at a minimum price of VND 6,000 / kg. According to figures, one hectare can yield 50 tons of fruits, and earn revenue VND 300 million per year -- half of that net. Vietnamese article here.

Leaf Mosaic Virus compounds crop woes in Ha Tinh
Leaf mosaic virus has ravaged no less than 200 hectares of cassava crop in the upper part of the rural Kỳ Anh district of Hà Tĩnh Province of the North Central Coast region of Vietnam. Reports Bao Ha Tinh Vietnam news, the disease has compounded crop failure issues from prolonged drought and bad weather

‘Biotechnology model’ for safe, efficient rice cultivation trialled in Thanh Binh
To meet demand for quality rice seeds ahead of the Summer-Autumn crop of 2020, the An Phong experimental seed production farm in Thanh Binh District of Dong Thap is trialing and demoing a number of special varieties on several hectares in accordance with processes outlined by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Seed requiremen was reported at about 50kg per hectare, and tthe model calls for the use of biological fertilizers and pesticides as well as plastic coverings to protect from pasts. The varieties reportedly have a cycle of 98 to 105 days. Nongnghiep Vietnam reports.

Promising results from LY2099 hybrid rice in Lang Son and Cao Bang
Nongnghiep reports on promising data on cultivation of the LY2099 variety of hybrid rice in the provinces of Lang Son and Cao Bang. In the former farmers had reported yields of 91.6 quintals per hectare, while trials in the latter achieved as much as 98 q/ha. 

Mekong delta rice sowing expanded with favorable conditions forecast
Locales in the Mekong Delta area of Vietnam are increasing the area of ​​autumn-winter rice sowing as weather and water resources are forecast to be favorable. As the rainy season has begun, the risks of saline intrusion in coastal estuaries has reportedly decreased and according to a hydrometeorology agency, this year it is unlikely that early floods will occur in the southern part of the Delta, with peak floods anticipated in late September. Hence sowing in Hau Giang will be expanded to span 40,000 hectares, up 1,500ha from the initial plan of 38,500ha; And while sowing on 68,000 ha has been completed in Kien Giang, the plan is to cover a total of 72,000 ha. Nongnghieb reports.

New soybean variety gets approval for Central Highlands, Central region
Vinasoy’s 02-NS soybean variety selected by Vietnam Soybean Milk Factory (Vinasoy) has been officially approved for circulation by the Department of Crop Production - MARD. According to this article in Vietnamese, Vinasoy successfully tested and developed soybean varieties in four regions across the country, including in rice land in the Mekong Delta and the North. After many years of research, the Vinasoy Soybean Application Research Center successfully created two new, non-GM soybean varieties VINASOY 01-CT and VINASOY 02-NS, which were grown and tested by the Department of Crop Production MARD, which issued a plant variety protection certificate in 2019. Recently, the Department announced approval of the variety for growing in the Central Highlands and Central regional. The variety is resistant to many pests and diseases, and can yield d 25-35 quintals (2.5-3.5 tonnes) / ha. 

 

May 2020

Amending Vietnam’s 10-year-old GM & Biosafety regulation
A proposal to amend Vietnam’s GMO regulations -- Decree No. 69/2010 Decree No. 69/2010 / ND-CP of June 21, 2010, covering biosafety of genetically modified organisms, genetic specimens and products of genetically modified organisms -- is in review, pending public commentary. Baochinhphu reports that current regulations saw five events of genetically modified corn issued biosafety certification and 39 of corn, soybean, cotton, alfalfa and canola granted certificates as animal feed. The new decree addresses the need for integrating GMO regulations with other relevant legal strictures. Full details of the draft ammendments (in Vietnamese) and commentary on it can be found here. .

VNR20 rice high yielding & profitable, affirms evaluation
The Tuyen Quang Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Office sponsored a conference to evaluate Vietnam National Seed Corporation (VINASEED) VNR20 rice variety. It was concluded that the promising variety -- first planted by 144 households on 9.5 hectares in Tan Ha, Phường La and Tuyen Quang wards during January 2020 -- is pest resistant and offers yield stability. The Vinaseed-developed variety produced in Tuyen Quang rice with a seed-to-husk ratio of 89.6% while yielding 255 kg per rod (5.0292 meters): farmers’ 953,000 Dong investment thus reaped a return of 2.17 million (US$93 dollars). Nong Hieb reports.

‘World’s Best Rice’ backed by PVP, assures MARD
Voted the World’s Best Rice at the 11th World Rice Trade Conference last November in Manila, Vietnam’s long-grain Vietnamese jasmine fragrant rice, or ST24 variety received its plant variety protection certificate or PVP (No. 28. VN.2018) from the Department of Crop Production (MARD) in 2018. According to Kinh Tedothi report, a MARD representative affirmed on 15 May of this year that his department has inspection and supervision authority, and that if ST24 rice -- developed over two decades -- is produced or traded without written consent from the PVP holders it is a violation of law and will any such infringement will be prosecuted. The brand is registered with Soc Trang Province’s Department of Industry and Trade.

Hanoi Pushing high-tech agricultural projects
Hanoi published a list of 11 direct investment projects for 2019 - 2025, including seven high-tech agricultural production projects with total investment of 5,200 billion dong (US$222,966). Examples of Vietnam’s recent agricultural breakthroughs include: Kinoko Thanh Cao Import and Export Co., Ltd. (My Duc district) an investment valued at nearly 70 billion dong (US$2,999,255.70) to produce 30 tons of Enoki mushrooms monthly using modern Japanese technology, bringing revenue of 1.8 - 2 billion dong (US$85,693.02); and Hanoi Materials and Seed Joint Stock Company, which invested 8 billion dong (US$342,772.08) to build a modern-tech tissue culture room, and plant seven hectares of flowers in Me Linh and Soc Son districts. Bao Dautu reports.

Nha Ho new grapes, other crops show promise for SW Vietnam
The Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences’ Nha Ho Cotton Research and Agricultural Development Institute since 2016 has introduced 22 new asparagus, 9 guava, 9 mango, 8 custard apple, 8 jackfruit, 7 longan;  as well as several promising apple and grape varieties, which are suitably adapted to the local climate and soil in Ninh Thuan Province and the greater south-central region of Vietnam. These varieties have high yield potential, good quality and are stable. The NH 01-152 grapes are grafted on to wild grape rootstock, producing large fruit weighing from 0.5 kg to over 1.5 kg per bunch, are wine red when ripe, lightly aromatic, with crisp firm meat and moderate sweetness -- making for great market popularity. Bao Tin Tuc reports.

Persistent drought in Central Vietnam
The Vietnamese government continues to implement measures to cope with drought, heat, and saltwater intrusion in the Central Region and Central Highlands. The Prime Minister’s Office issued Directive No. 04 / CT-TTg effective since January has mandated for provincial and metropolitan Peoples’ Committees “not to let people suffer from water shortage for domestic use” and to focus on remedial measures. The ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Natural Resources and Environment, and Industry and Trade were likewise notified and coordinating efforts as drought persist through May. Hardest hit are Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan provinces. Bao Chinh Phu reports.

Terrace melons in the heart of Hanoi
Nguyen Thi Thuong Huyen, 38, is now producing some 300 kg of melons annually in 70 pots on her 30 square-meter terrace in rainy Hanoi. Going into her fourth year since her first successful grow in 2017, she cultivates a number of varieties, including Korean, Thai, Pear, and Cabernet melons. Quality is evaluated using a fruit sweetness meter. Each crop, in batches of 15 - 20 plants, takes 65 - 90 days; fruits average 1.8 - 2.5 kilograms each, and typically sell for 100,000 dong (US$4.29). “Some,  such as Japanese melons, sell for up to 500,000 dong (US$26.49),” Mrs Nguyen said, adding she can harvest up to six times a year. Eva Vietnam reports.

SOFRI’s ‘Plant Hospital’ and Advisory Center
The Southern Fruit Research Institute (SOFRI) long has been a core resource in development of Vietnam southern provinces’ fruit, vegetable and flower industries, credited with many varieties of fruit trees, bioproducts, processes and models for quality vegetable and fruit production. SOFRI guidelines also ensure food hygiene and safety in the Mekong Delta, Southeast and Western provinces. Now, in collaboration with research agencies and businesses, the Institute has established both a “plant hospital” and a “center for advice, introduction and supply of good seedlings, agricultural materials and garden tools”, aiming to facilitate transfer of technical advances, market information, specialty fruit trees, high quality agricultural materials, and bio-organic preparations to farmers. SOFRI seed, planting techniques and tissue propagation technology are used in cultivating fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, and tissue culture flowers such as chrysanthemum, gerbera, bell flower, petunia, orchid, and rose. Nongnghiep reports

‘Superior quality’ hybrid rice for north-central coast
The LY2099 hybrid rice variety reportedly offers both superior productivity and quality, and is easy to cultivate. The three-line hybrid is planted widely in the North Central Coast province of Thanh Hoa under differing soil conditions, climatic sub-regions and levels of cultivation. The variety features high productivity and tastiness, and is less expensive than many other hybrids. On mechanized farms, a 500 square-meter plot produces 350 kilograms of dry rice. A kilogram sells for 7,000 dong (US$0.30). The typical investment is 1.1 million dong (US$47.17) -- returning 2.4 million dong (US$102.92) for a net income of 1.3 million dong (US$55.75). LY2099 is produced by Yen Bai Seed and Livestock Center in collaboration with the Viet Seed Co., Ltd. and received recognition as a new plant variety from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as of November, 2018 (Decision No. 4401/QD-BNN-TT). Nongnghiep reports.

Peanut Farmers’ abundant yields in Minh Hoa 
Mountainous Minh Hoa District’s winter-spring peanut crop this year in the North Central Coast province of Quảng Bình has been good, and prices are high. The district agricultural office reports nearly 770 hectares planted to peanuts, with excellent growing conditions and fewer pests, affording a “much higher” ratio of tubers -- and thus greater yield -- than in previous years.Groundnut averages reached 2,300 kilograms per hectare (an increase of 50 kilograms y-o-y). Many locales are seeing production up to 2,500 kilograms per hectare, with total district output estimated at 1,800 tons. Nongnghiep reports.

Breathing new life into stale coffee plantings
The Vietnam - Sustainable Agriculture Transformation (VnSAT) Project is revivifying aged coffee plantations in Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Nongnghiep reports that cultivators with 20-year-old plantings in 2015 found their coffee beans’ quality had worsened, with decreasing productivity and many sick or dying trees. VnSAT advised they should be entirely uprooted, the soil cleansed, plowed under and left to dry for six months, during which period all old roots were incinerated. “Everything differed from our traditional ways,” said one farmer of methods promoted by the Western Highlands Agricultural Science and Technology Institute (WASI) and VnSAT. She started re-planting her one-and-one-quarter hectare plot during the Lunar New Year period in 2016: “Every job must be meticulously performed according to strict rules,” she said. “It’s scientific.” Results are plain to see: Central Highlands coffee plantings are once again green and vibrant.

 

April

Access to inputs, fertilizers, crop protection products initially a challenge
According to this article in BaoHoaBinh news, many agricultural supply stores at the beginning of April were forced to close due to restrictions announced via a March 31 notice from  the Department of Industry and Trade, which did not exempt such shops.  By April 10, however, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development issued a proposal to ease the restrictions to ensure essential commodities for agricultural production were accessible during lockdown, coordinating with relevant departments to ensure food security. 

Fresh veg cooperatives city cooperation ensure stable food supply in Hanoi
Soha Vietnam reports on the successful approach of the Chuc Son Fresh Vegetable Cooperative, which has been cooperating with businesses and other cooperatives to ensure stable supply of produce to consumers in Hanoi. According to the article, the cooperative has nearly 40 members cultivating crops on more than 65ha, including mainly vegetables and fruits in order to feed demand in Hanoi. Output is cited to be from 7 to 9 quintal of vegetables per day, which is sold directly to consumers at special points of sale set up at apartment buildings in addition to traditional markets, supermarkets, hospitals, and retail chain stores. The article also mentions efforts of another organic agriculture cooperative in Dong Anh District, which has its vegetable products affixed with QR codes; the cooperative is working directly with leading agrofood supply and retail chains. The article also provides estimates on monthly demand in Hanoi for various types of agricultural products as follows:  Rice: 92,970 tons; fresh pork: 18,594 tons; beef: 5,230 tons; chicken and duck: 6,198 tons; vegetables: 84,100 tons. Accordingly, production within Hanoi can supply much of this demand including 58% of the demand for meat; 70% for fish; 90% of poultry eggs and 65% of fresh vegetables. 

Cooperatives go online during lockdown
Likewise this article highlights how vegetable and farm cooperatives are mobilizing and adapting to supply direct to consumers via online channels and apartment points of sale. 

Free rice ATMs supply food to the poor
ATM-like automated rice dispensing machines have been installed throughout Vietnam to supply people with rice rations during a time when residents are under strict lockdown. Such machines were initially set up in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, before being introduced in Hue and Danang, reports Vietnam Plus

On those in Danang, the Da Nang City Young Businessmen Association set up free ‘rice ATMs’ to in Danang. The first was installed at Trung Nu Vuong Street in downtown Hai Chau district before being spread to more locations in Hoa Vang, Cam Le, Thanh Khe and Lien Chieu districts. The association had initially collected 40 tonnes of rice from donors in the city, and would gather more to supply the free rice ATMs through the end of June.

Melon production trending in an Giang
VTV.vn reports on the growing trend of ‘hi-tech’ cultivation of melon in An Giang province, inspired by techniques and methods from the US and Japan, melons are now grown throughout An Giang province, including in Tinh Bien, Phu Tan districts, Tan Chau town, Chau Doc city and Long Xuyen city Cultivated varieties come from both Vietnam and Japan, and are tropical varieties that love the sun and high temperatures. Melons are reportedly fetching from 55,000 to 60,000 VND / kg. 

Watermelons still selling in Phu Ninh
At this time, farmers are beginning to harvest watermelons in the district of Phú Ninh of Quảng Nam Province. This year, watermelon was planted on some 300 hectares in the district, including in Tam Phuoc, Tam Loc and Phu Thinh, despite worries that sales would be impacted by the Covid-19 situation. Nonetheless, watermelons are fetching 5,000 VND per kg farmgate prices, reports Nonghieb.

Ups and downs of cucurbits growing in Thach Ha
Baohatinh Vietnamese news reports on challenges and opportunities of growing various cucurbit crops in Thạch Hà, a rural district in Hà Tĩnh Province, including zucchini and pumpkin.

Ag officials guide farmers to protect spring rice in Kien Xuong
The district crop planting station in Kien Xuong, Thai Binh province is leading a campaign to guide farmers in taking pest and disease preventative measures for various varieties of spring rice planted on roughly 11,000 hectares. The measurers include surveillance, monitoring and pesticide spraying. News here.

Farmers switching from rice to maize
Considering the hardships of drought impacting rice cultivation in Binh Dinh province, many upland farmers in places with poor irrigation and rainfall trends are switching from rice to maize, reports Nongnghiep News.

Exporters oppose proposal to suspend rice exports
Baodatviet reports on some opposition to a draft proposal regarding the export management plan to continue exporting sticky rice, parboiled rice, organic rice and fragrant rice, and temporarily stop exporting low-grade rice (IR 50404 variety cited) through to the end of June 15, citing sufficient reserves. 

Extra crop cycle conversion constraints in Binh Dinh
Despite 10 years of efforts to implement three rice crops per year in Binh Dinh, many farmers still prefer the two-crop cycle due to a number of challenges with the former and advantages of the latter, highlighted in this article in Vietnamese

Varieties yielding up to 9 tonnes/ha of rice in Binh Dinh
Trials of two new rice varieties -- VNR20 and VNR10 -- of the Central Seed Joint Stock Company are showing much promise in Binh Dinh, according to this report, which cites yields of between 85 and 90 quintals per hectare. 

Flower crop integration improves rice productivity
By strategically planting certain types of flowers near paddy crops, researchers at the An Phong Experimental Farm for Production of Varieties in the Thanh Binh District of Dong Thap Province say that yields can be improved while expenses can be reduced. This is based on the concept that certain types of flowers can attract beneficial insects such as butterflies, spiders, and bees that can serve as predators of yield-inhibiting pests and thus also reduce dependency on pesticide applications. Vietnamese report here

Rains blamed for sesame root rot
Seseme farmers inf Ha Linh commune in Huong Khe of Ha Tinh province have reported crop losses from intensive rain, which has been blamed for the perishing of sesame plants due to root rot. According to BaoHaTinh news, the village currently has about 80 households planting black sesame trees with a total area of ​​more than 15 hectares, but estimates show that 70% have been lost or damaged.

 

March 2020

Food supply secure in wake of covid and swine flu
The Masan Group Joint Stock Company has joined heads with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development since the African swine flu to minimize food supply impacts through strengthening its supply chain network to ensure stable supply of necessities at stable prices. Re. Covid-19, Masan has developed a coping strategy… Vietnamese news here

Winter-spring cropping ‘a victory’
Through field visits of MARD mission and reports from localities showed that the Winter - Spring crop 2019 - 2020 in the South Central region and The Central Highlands has achieved a comprehensive victory. The area of ​​rice production in the whole area in this crop is estimated at 314,200ha, down 5,300ha compared to the previous season; productivity was estimated at 66.28 quintals / ha, an increase of 2.16 quintals / ha; production is estimated at nearly 2 million tons, an increase of more than 33,000 tons compared to the 2018-2019 winter-spring crop. Vietnamese news here

Vietnamese rice flourishing thanks to good varieties
A report suggests that Vietnamese rice has an advantage due to varieties with high yields, short cycles while competitors suffer from drought, low quality, Vietnamese report here

Demand for rice surges in Hanoi
According to a report by Nongnghiep, the Vietnam National Seed Group (Vinaseed), a major rice supplier with some 2,000 distribution points in Hanoi has reported an increase in demand for rice in local markets. In March, the company has increased staff and distribution agents to meet demand while employing price stabilization mechanisms in accordance with government guidelines. . 

Market minded tissue culture propagation
This article in Vietnamese language highlights some of the practical work being carried out at the Center for Advanced Application of Science and Technology in Ha Tinh province, which offers training and services geared useful for local agro-entrepreneurs, including tissue culture plant propagation for commercial breeding purposes. Among the species being propogated here include bananas and orchid species. Also, in related news, In recent years, the Center for Applied Science and Technology (S&T) Can Tho has implemented two projects on propagation of tissue transplant flowers at city and central levels 

Soc Trang specialty rice to the next level
Efforts to expand the Soc Trang delta rice brand (ST25) was recently voted world’s best) expanding breeding and cultivation in Delta region

Breaking down salt stress for rice cultivation
Bao Vinhlong reports on capacity-building efforts by the Agriculture Department of Can Tho University, where research has contributed to improved knowledge and understanding of soil salinity challenges and solutions in rice cultivation in dry and saline conditions. Recently the department organized a workshop to prepare participants for the upcoming Summer-Autumn planting cycle,  by focusing on the effects of salinity and hot weather conditions. The workshop covered best practices, including soil preparation, liming, seed prep and sowing management; while also looking at the use of short-cycle salinity tolerant rice varieties such as OM5451, OM2517, OM6976, OM6162, OM9921, GKG1, OM6677. 

Rice seed multiplication in An Phong
An Phong Experimental Production Farm (Dong Thap Plant Joint Stock Company) has produced and restored more than 8 hectares of rice seeds of all kind, details here.

Vietnam’s popular durian variety thrives with IP protection
This article in Vietnamese language highlights the background of Vietnam’s famous Ri6 variety of durian, which has enjoyed trademark protection from Vietnam’s National Office of Intellectual Property since 2002. The variety was developed by breeder, Mr. Sau Ri in the 1990s and had won a number of awards. Today millions of its seeds are planted across the country for domestic consumption and export.  

Counterfeit rice seed packages story in Vietnamese

Seedless grape breeding in Ninh Thuan
Grape growers in Ninh Thuan are developing new, seedless grape varieties to  compete with imported grapes. Among the varieties include Ha Den grapes, which in their second year of trials, have an average output of over 1.5 tons / sao (360 square meters), and can yield two to three harvests / year, fetching market prices of between 120,000 to 150,000 VND / kg.

Leaf mosaic virus inflicts cassava crops
Nearly 2,600ha of cassava (cassava) infected with the leaf mosaic virus, the raw material area of ​​Quang Ngai province is in danger … Latest statistics of the Department of Crop Production and Plant Protection - Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (Agriculture and Rural Development) of Quang Ngai province, the province now has 2,583 hectare. More than 1,400 hectares of cassava infected with leaf mosaic virus in Phong Dien, Quang Dien and Huong Tratowns  in Thua Thien Hue province …in order to support the damaged farmers, Phong Dien District People's Committee agreed on a level of 2 million VND / ha for disposal of the infected cassava for the infected area of ​​over 70% and 1 million VND. / ha for infected areas less than 70%. KM94 cassava variety is a popular variety used by people today. This variety has been recommended by the provincial agriculture department to be less infected with the use rate of about 90% of the area. 

Drought woes
Five provinces, including Kien Giang, Ben Tre, Tien Giang, Ca Mau and Long An, have declared a drought and salt emergency. Compared to the historical salinity drought of 2015-2016, this year's drought season has far exceeded. Saline intrusion has affected production and livelihoods since December 2019 and continues to increase so far. Drought and salinity have affected 10/13 provinces in the Mekong Delta (except An Giang, Dong Thap and Can Tho). There are about 95,600 households who are facing difficulties during drought, salty water. 

Forestry planting in Thai Nguyen
In 2020, the whole Thai Nguyen province plans to plant 4,000 hectares of new forests, a decrease of more than 1,000 hectares compared to 2019, in which mainly grown quality trees such as acacia and cinnamon. In particular, afforestation under the program of sustainable forestry development is 1,597 ha, alternative afforestation 50ha, planting 500 thousand scattered trees, striving to maintain forest cover 

7 new acacia hybrids for forest
The Research Institute for Seed and Biotechnology (Vietnam Academy of Forestry Sciences) has successfully selected 7 new hybrid acacia varieties, including BB055, BV350, BV376, BV434, BV523, BV584 and BV584. These 7 varieties have been recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, allowing for dissemination to produce under Decision No. 761 / QD-BNN-TCLN, dated March 6, 2019.

Thai Binh Seed Group holds annual meeting
...in which it reviewed its works in 2015 to 2020 and laid out strategy and targets for 2020-2025 period. News here.

 

February 2020

200 infringement violations dealt with in Dong Nai in 2019
Baodongnai.com.vn reports that according to the Steering Committee against smuggling, trade frauds and provincial counterfeits, in 2019, authorities in the southeast Vietnam province handled more than 200 infractions related to agricultural products, with fines and enforcement expenses contributing to a figure cited at 2.3 billion dong ($99,190). Of the cases, 39 were related to infringements or infractions concerning plant protection chemicals and/or plant varieties; the rest were related to fertilizer, animal and aqua feed businesses.

Realizing returns from F1 hybrid peppers 
One 27-year-old university graduate farmer is realizing success with a chili pepper cultivation venture in the Dau Tieng town, Dau Tieng district. According to a Vietnamese news report, the young man had rented a hectare of rubber-plantation land, which he re-purposed to grow F1 chili peppers from a "leading Dutch [sic] two red-arrows seed company". Giving special attention to best cropping practices, including soil, spacing, drainage, fertilizer application and the use of plastic mulching and tarpaulin, for example, the farmer has reported initial harvests 120kg from his initial trial on 1,000 square meters. The  market price at about 25,000 VND per kg and the farmer anticipates to be able to get two crops per year, with a four-month cropping cycle each.   

Seasonal watermelon farmers not discouraged by rising rent prices
Even though the cost to rent land in parts of Nhu Xuan and Thanh Hoa districts is surging, the returns from watermelon farming for many outweigh the rising costs. According to a Vietnamese report by Baongnean there are nearly 40 farmer households renting land in the two districts with an area of ​​about 70 ha in different areas of  to grow watermelon in the summer-spring. Rents were cited to be around 10 million dong per hectare per three months; but returns can fetch as much as 150 million dong per hectare. 

Cassava farmers struggle with drought, leaf-mosaic virus
A Vietnamese news report from baophuyen in February relays that cassava farmers in the Son Dinh commune (Son Hoa district) are suffering losses due to both abiotic and biotic stresses; namely drought-conditions and the leaf-mosaic virus. Some farmers report losing as much as half of their anticipated crop. 

DECEMBER 2019 & JANUARY 2020

‘No ban of GM’ variety imports in new Crop Production law
Vietnam’s “Law on Crop Production Regarding Plant Varieties and Crop Cultivation” comes into effect 1 February. Detailed guidance for the new law, which supersedes the 2004 Ordinance on Plant Varieties, was published in December 2019 via Decree No. 94/2019/ND-CP (Decree 94).  See comprehensive Vietnamese coverage on Danviet.vn,  benews.vn here as well as on Cuctrongtrot.gov.vn here. The bill became law when the Vietnamese parliament approved it in late 2018. According to one law firm familiar with the legislation “Decree 94 removed the provision prohibiting the import of genetically modified plant varieties into Vietnam that was included in the draft version released in May 2019.” The new law also includes a list of 10 specified types of genetic material that are effectively banned from exporting: These include select types of rice varieties, parent lines of hybrid rice and hybrid maize lines and genetic material of Vietnamese Ginseng and various varieties of of selected fruits, including mango, durian, dragonfruit, orange, apricot, tea, grapefruit, lychee, longan, and Vietnamese. The full list of these varieties is listed in Appendix I of the new law, which can be viewed here (Vietnamese language).  

Seed associations as solution for PVP management
Nongnghiep Vietnam reports on a recent conference organized in Soc Trang  by Vietnam’s Department of Crop Production and Plant Protection. The meeting was titled “Current status of plant variety management and proposed solutions in the coming time in the provinces and cities in the Mekong Delta" (translation) and attended by government officers and seed industry representatives. It sas revealed that the formal seed registration and protection system covers between 50 and 65% of seeds utilized in the Mekong Delta region, while the remaining non-formal system seed poses a number of IP and quality control and compliance related challenges. The Department of Crop Production proposed emphasized the need to strengthen the role of  sowing seed associations in organizing the production and supply of sufficient sources of plant seeds. 

Story behind ‘2019 World’s Best Rice’
A renowned rice breeder and professor shares the story, in Vietnamese language, behind efforts to breed new rice varieties in Vietnam, leading to the release of the famed ST 24-25 variety that was last year selected as best in the world, besting other famous Cambodian and Thai varieties. The article, in Vietnamese, also talks about rice variety conservation efforts in the  Mekong Delta area.  An English version of the story can be found here: