Can Vietnamese businesses go to the world by R&D?

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Huro Probiotics – a member of The PAN Group has just been announced to participate in the Covid-19 preventive product research, development and production project called SPOR-COV with two other UK partners, Destiny Pharma and SporeGen. Unlike a specific immunotherapy approach such as a vaccine, SPOR-COV is a product aimed at stimulating the natural (innate) immune system to enhance its protection against viruses; At the same time, it is capable of simpler production and storage, thereby reducing production costs.

Huro Probiotics được đối tác đánh giá cao về năng lực nghiên cứu và khả năng mở rộng sản xuất ở quy mô công nghiệp.

Huro Probiotics is highly appreciated by its partners for its research capacity and ability to expand production on an industrial scale. Photo: Huro Probiotics.

In the framework of this UK Government funded project, Huro acts as a supplier of raw materials to research into human clinical trials and develop standardized manufacturing technology at an industrial scale in the future. When the research process is completed, Vietnamese enterprises will also receive technology transfer, localization of domestic production and export of SPOR-COV products.

Huro’s story is the latest example of the investment direction in R&D (research & development) that the PAN Group’s member businesses have pursued over the years. It also shows that Vietnamese businesses can completely go to the world, participate in solving global problems thanks to research and development. Previously, Vietnam Seed Corporation (Vinaseed), another member of PAN, exported the first batch of high quality rice to the EU after the EVFTA Free Trade Agreement took effect. Before that, by the end of 2019, this enterprise exported to Europe 2,000 tons of rice with a value of about 2 million USD, which is twice the average price of Vietnamese rice exported.

To be exported to this fastidious market, Vinaseed’s rice batch has to undergo a thorough preparation process from the best rice variety in the country, quality control from seed selection and cultivation by Japanese technology and also ensuring clear traceability. In addition to building and developing standard VietGap material areas, Vinaseed had to invest in a modern production line that met the Dutch Food Safety System (FSSC 22000) standard. Similar examples were also recorded with other products of the group such as shrimp of Sao Ta Food Joint Stock Company, and Lafooco’s cashew nuts with the aim of enhancing and bringing agricultural products, food of Vietnam to the world.

Để chuẩn khai thác các thị trường cao cấp như EU, từ năm 2019, Vinaseed đã đưa vào hoạt động Trung tâm Công nghiệp chế biến hạt giống và nông sản hiện đại bậc nhất Việt Nam ở tỉnh Đồng Tháp, với công nghệ đồng bộ từ Nhật Bản. Ảnh: Vinaseed.

To prepare to exploit high-end markets such as the EU, from 2019, Vinaseed has put into operation the most modern center of seed and agricultural product processing industry in Vietnam in Dong Thap province, with synchronous technology from Japan. Photo: Vinaseed.

The trend of investment in R&D in Vietnamese enterprises is not only limited to traditional industries, but also has strengths. Recently, a quantum optical company named Viet My cooperated with R&D center to buy equipment to carry out advanced training on operating microchip equipment for 25 specialists at a cost of over 100 billion VND. . As a result, the company has produced the 2,000th wafer chip for export, marking the first time a Vietnamese company self-researches, produces and sells high-end semiconductor chip components on the world market.

Not only domestic enterprises, right after entering the Vietnamese market, German-based group Bayer also has many solutions for cultivation, thanks to research and development of plant science activities. Late last year, Bayer launched an innovative fungicide, marketed under the Iblon brand. Based on the active ingredient isoflucypram, the new wheat fungicide gives superior disease control on cereal crops, making plants healthier and more productive.

The long-term success of crop science, says the head of the crop science division of the business, lies not in selling more products, but in providing growers with personalized, enabling solutions. They harvest better using fewer resources such as water, land, inputs and energy. This solution is mainly based on the R&D process.

With the achievements from research and development activities, Vietnamese farmers will have less “a cold, two frosts”, have better crops and do not have to fall into the ‘bad season’. The investment in R&D, the application of world scientific advances to agricultural production is an inevitable trend, helping businesses to break through and improve competitive opportunities for the industry and the economy. Because Vietnam is one of the few countries strongly affected by climate change, sea level rise and rapid urbanization make agricultural areas tend to shrink.

However, in reality, the investment in research and development activities as mentioned above by private enterprises is still not much. This activity in Vietnam is mainly focused on improving products, improving existing technological processes, designing new products, applying new technology processes and finally coming to R&D.

In addition, Professor Bui Chi Buu, former director of the Southern Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology, said that out of about 600 billion VND invested in agricultural science annually, 50% is spent on R&D activities, equivalent to 300 billion dong, about 15 million USD. The rest of the money is used to pay wages. Compared to other ASEAN countries, Vietnam’s spending on this activity is much lower, equivalent to about 1/10 and 1/7 compared to Thailand, the Philippines, even only 1/600 compared to South Korea. – The country with the top rate of investment in R&D activities in the world in 2019.

In addition, “not in a year has Vietnam used up 2% of total budget expenditure, equivalent to 0.5% of GDP invested in science and technology according to the rate approved by the National Assembly”, Professor Bui Chi Buu said. Accordingly, Vietnam is not listed in the list of 10 countries with the largest investment in R&D.

In the current strong integration trend, choosing a sustainable direction, providing safe and nutritious products, bringing high values to farmers, consumers and society like PAN is the way to go. An uneasy path that requires financial resources and set goals. However, if you can do that, trade and cooperation opportunities will open up for businesses, not only rice but also many other agricultural products.

Source: – Translated by