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Apr 28 2011

Vietnam urged to rethink the plan to develop cassava plants

vietnam urged to rethink the plan to develop cassava plants

VietNamNet Bridge – Cassava products have been selling like hot cakes. Meanwhile, the consumption is expected to increase further in the next years. However, development programmers still have been called to reconsider the plan to develop cassava plants.

The rise of the cassava plants

It is now the second time that Vietnam has witnessed the boom of cassava plant since 1975. The first time occurred during the first years after the country’s union, when the rice and maize output was low. Just within three years, since 1979, the cassava growing area increased by two folds, to the record high of 461,400 hectares, while the output also climbed to the record high of 3.422 million tons.

Later, when Vietnam became a rice export power, cassava plants became less attractive in the eyes of farmers, who preferred to grow rice to earn money.

However, cassava plants, once again, have become “favored” by farmers, which have hindered the development of many other kinds of plants. The cassava growing area has increased by 7.6 percent to 496,200 hectares, while the output has increased by 15.7 percent to 8.522 million tons.

Vietnamese farmers have been rushing to grow cassava because they can see the high demand from the Chinese market.

In 2010, Vietnam exported 1.7 million tons of cassava products in total, of which, China alone consumed 92.4 percent. The percentage was 94.1 percent in the first two months of the year. Fresh cassava has also been carried out continuously to China across the border gates.

Why cassava?

While Vietnamese farmers feel happy with the money they earn from exporting cassava to China, experts have called on to reconsider the plan on developing cassava plants.

Nguyen Dinh Bich, a well known trade expert from the Trade Research Institute, said on Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon, that Vietnam is not the country which has advantages in developing cassava plants for export. In the world, only the countries with large area and thin population density can reserve many areas for growing cassava. This explains why in the world, only four countries have the cassava growing areas of more than one million hectares, namely Nigeria (3.8 million hectares), Brazil (1.8-1.9 million), Thailand (1.3 million) and Indonesia (1.2 million).

Besides Ghana, there are only three other poor countries in the world which have the cassava growing areas exceeding Vietnam’s, including Angola, Tanzania and Mozambique.

Regarding the yield; though Vietnam’s cassava output in 2009 was high at 16.8 tons per hectare, which was much higher than the average yield in the world, the figure is still lower than the average level of 20.2 tons per hectare in Asia and 22.7 tons per hectares in Thailand.

The demand for cassava is believed to increase sharply in the time to come, as enterprises need cassava to make many kinds of products. Cassava is being used in making seasoning powder, used in food industry. Especially, the demand for animal breeding alone is at 1.5 million tons per annum. Besides, Vietnam also has five ethanol factories and tens of other factories making alcohol of different kinds, which also need cassava.

However, Bich has pointed out that Vietnam cannot compete with China, even though the cassava yield has been increasing considerably in recent years. Since the cassava prices have been increasing too sharply, many enterprises have to shift to use other kinds of materials, which explain why the imports of maize and wheat have been increasing rapidly.

The third problem that experts have pointed out to persuade development programmers to put a brake on the cassava growing area development, is that while growing cassavas mostly serve the demand from foreign countries, Vietnam would lack land to develop other important farm produce, because the agriculture land fund will not be enlarged.

Statistics show that while cassava plants see “hot development”, the growing areas of many other kinds of plants has been decreasing. The cotton growing area, for example, has reduced by 6.9 percent per annum, while the sugar cane area by 1.3 percent per annum. Especially, the cashew growing area has been decreasing for the third consecutive years by 11 percent in total.

Source: TBKTSG

Apr 28 2011

HCM City names best tourism brands

hcm city names best tourism brands

VietNamNet Bridge – HCMC, the country’s biggest tourism center, last Saturday announced the best travel firms, hotels, travel websites, shopping venues and tourism service providers in the city.

Four businesses – Saigontourist Travel Service, Fiditourist, Ben Thanh Tourist and Vietravel – are all included in the lists of the top 10 inbound companies, 10 outbound companies and 10 domestic companies.

All these companies but Fiditourist are in the top five with the best e-commerce websites, together with Viet Media Travel and TST Tourist.

In the hotel category, there are five best five-star, five best four-star, and 10 best three-star hotels. The five-star Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers is the best hotel for businessmen, and the InterContinental Asiana Saigon is the best hotel for meetings.

The top ten shopping venues include Tax Plaza, Vincom Center, Zen Plaza, Miss Aodai, Parkson, XQ Saigon, Khaisilk and PNJ jewelry shops.

Tourist parks, restaurants and transportation service firms in the city are also selected for their outstanding services.

The city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism collaborated with the HCMC Tourism Association to organize the selection joined by tourism experts, customers and media to mark HCMC Tourism Day.

The four-day HCMC Tourism Day at the September 23 Park closed on Sunday. Around 80 tourism service providers occupy 140 of the 172 booths at the seventh annual event. Around 24 other provinces and cities joined to the gathering as well.

Source: SGT

Apr 28 2011

Vietnam musters its strength to develop sea and island tourism

vietnam musters its strength to develop sea and island tourism

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam is striving to name itself among the group of countries which have most developed sea tourism in South East Asia, together with Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. From now to 2020, Vietnam needs to form up five sea tourism regions with high competitiveness, namely Ha Long-Cat Ba, Lang Co-Son Tra-Hoi An, Nha Trang-Cam Ranh, Phan Thiet-Mui Ne and Phu Quoc island.

Sea tourism development on the focus

According to Nguyen Manh Cuong, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), sea and island tourism brings 70 percent of total revenue of the tourism industry and it is considered one of the five important sectors to develop the sea-borne economy.

The action plan on sea and island tourism development by 2020 would be divided into two phases, 2011-2015 and 2016-2020. Concrete programm will be drawn up for every stage of development, including the programm on heightening the social awareness about sea tourism and conducting general survey on sea tourism resources, making investment to develop infrastructure for sea tourism and building up specific tourism products, building up brands and promoting sea tourism and carrying out international cooperation to develop sea tourism.

The year 2011 has been declared as the national sea and island tourism year at a ceremony in the Phu Yen province, which should be seen as an important milestone in the implementation of the plan to develop sea tourism.

Phan Dinh Hue, Director of Vong Tron Viet travel firm, said that previously, 4-5 star reports, especially on coastal areas and islands, mostly received foreigners. However, the number of Vietnamese tourists has been increasing considerably. Vietnamese big companies now tend to ask travel firms to organize customer’s conferences, or staff meetings at 4-5 star resorts, especially the ones located near famous destinations like Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hoi An and Mui Ne.

Vong Tron Viet served such groups of tourists, which included 200-300 guests in Da Nang and Hoi An ancient town in 2010, and the first months of 2011.

“The high number of Vietnamese guests should be seen as a good thing for tourist sites. Vietnamese people always travel in the low season for foreign tourists. As such, tourist sites can have guests to serve all year round,” Hue said.

He went on to say that foreign travelers still like staying at high grade resorts in Hoi An, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc.

According to Vietravel, Vung Tau and Nha Trang were the top choices for domestic travelers previously. Now many other destinations have also become favorites to them, such as Phu Quoc, Con Dao and Hoi An.

One of the services which have attracted a lot of clients recently, is visiting islands with helicopters. In fact, in 2007-2008, the service was once provided by travel firms in Ba Ria-Vung Tau and some northern localities. At that time, the demand was low due to the high service fees. However, the demand has increased recently.

The Vietnam Helicopter Corporation has joined forces with Vitours to provide tours with 24-seat MI 172 helicopters and 12-seat EC 155B1. With the service, travelers can do the sightseeing of Da Nang City, Son Tra peninsula and Cu Lao Cham from the air.

Problems exist

Hue said that the demand always increases on weekends, which makes sea tourism centers overloaded. However, the biggest problem of the tourism sites is the lack and the low quality of services. Besides having sea bathing, travelers do not have the opportunities to go shopping or entertain themselves.

Meanwhile, some sea areas prove to have great potential to develop, but it is difficult to bring many travelers to the areas like Ha Tien, Hon Chong and Phu Quoc, due to the poor infrastructure, services or the lack of air routes.

The service fee increases on peak days which also cause big headaches to travel firms. A lot of tourism sites decide to raise service fees in the last minute just before the departure time. Hue said tourism sites can raise the fees on peak days, but the increases should not be higher than 50 percent of the fees applied to normal days and the increases should be informed in advance.

Source: TBKTSG

Apr 15 2011

Obama announces long-term debt cutting plan

obama announces long term debt cutting plan

The United States President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced its long-term debt plan, setting a goal to cut 4 trillion U.S. dollars over the next 12 years.

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech on the U.S. fiscal and budgetary deficit policy at the George Washington University in Washington, April 13, 2011. Obama proposed cutting ballooning U.S. budget deficits by $4 trillion over 12 years and called for talks with Democratic and Republican lawmakers to address the worsening fiscal woes.  (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

This deficit reduction is a balanced approach to maintaining economic recovery, Obama said in a speech at George Washington University.

Obama said his administration would take four steps to achieve debt balance, including savings on the defense budget, elimination of waste in healthcare spending, control of domestic expenditures and reform of the federal tax system.

The White House projected that Obama’s framework would reduce deficits as a share of U.S. economy to about 2.5 percent of GDP in 2015, and put deficits on a declining path toward close to 2.0 percent of GDP toward the end of the decade.

Obama said that tackling the U.S. budget deficit would require broad sacrifice. “We all have to make sacrifice but we do not have to sacrifice Americans.”

Meanwhile, Obama said that he would refuse to renew Bush-era tax breaks for wealthier Americans. “it is unfair to ask the elderly to pay more for health care while cutting taxes on the richest.”

Obama’s plan falls well short of the more than 5 trillion U.S. dollars in cuts over a decade proposed by House Republicans, and dismissed by Democrats as draconian.


Apr 05 2011

Japan starts releasing 11,500 tons of low-radioactive water into sea

japan starts releasing 11500 tons of low radioactive water into sea

The operator of Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant has started releasing water containing low levels of radiation, in a bid to stabilize the facility. The move follows another failed effort to seal a crack, where highly radioactive water has been seeping into the sea.

An aerial view shows Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima in this March 17, 2011 file photo.   (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

Tokyo Electric Power Company began on Monday to release more than 11 and a half thousand tons of contaminated water into the sea from Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. The water had been used to cool overheated fuel rods.

It is about 100 times more radioactive than legal limits, but TEPCO says it is not harmful to humans. The move will clear space in a waste storage building to put even more highly contaminated water from the Number 2 Reactor Complex.

The government approved the operation, calling it an emergency measure to ensure the safety of the plant.

Yukio Edano, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary, said, “We are already aware that the water at the Number 2 Unit is highly radiated. So as to prioritize to stop the leakage of this water into the sea at the earliest timing, we have to release the water stored in the exterior building of the unit, which also unfortunately contains radioactivity, but far lower than the highly contaminated water.”

The biggest radiation threat is still from Reactor Number 2, where highly radioactive water is flowing directly into the sea. Engineers believe the water is coming from a crack in a concrete pit at the facility. But their efforts of mixing sawdust and newspapers with polymers and cement to seal has so far proved to be unsuccessful on Monday.

In order to determine the exact route of the contaminated water, engineers used bath salts to help trace the leak. But TEPCO says the white liquid did not flow into the pit, so the water must be following out through other routes.

As a temporary measure, the company is planning to set up a giant silt curtain in the sea off the nuclear plant to prevent the spread of more contamination.

The government has urged TEPCO to act quickly to stop the radiation leaking from the nuclear power plant. (Source:


Apr 05 2011

Economic recessions always leave aftershocks on consumers: expert

economic recessions always leave aftershocks on consumers expert

VietNamNet Bridge – Even after the national economy recovers from recession, consumers will not restore the consumption habits they once had in the pre-recession period. Companies cannot apply the same marketing strategies in the post-recession period to restore their business.

There are always winners and losers in a recession: expert

FAST500 reports shows health and vitality of private businesses

At the ceremony to release the FAST500 report, the report of the 500 fastest growing enterprises in Vietnam, Professor John Quelch, who is well known as a mater of marketing art, now Dean of the China Europe International Business School CEIBS,  and former Associate Dean of Harvard Business School, shared his interesting findings about consumption trends in the 21st century in the post-recession period.

Consumers will think carefully when spending money

Economic recession causes unemployment and makes people’s income decrease. As a result, they have to be more frugal.

People will cut down the consumption volume and shrink their demands for products and services in both quality and quantity. He related that Tide, a well known detergent brand in the US, provides a wide range and hierarchy of products. It has a product with the words “standard detergent” on the packs, which means that the detergent is of good enough quality to clean clothes, but has the price lower than other higher class products. It is clear that consumers can choose to use this kind of detergent to save their money.

Price and quality are always the two things which have direct impacts on purchase decisions. In difficult periods, consumers can be easier about quality, but they will be very choosy about the prices.

Consumers will spend more time hunting for cheap products and compare the prices of similar products, listen to “consultancy channels” (families, colleagues or friends). Instead of going shopping whenever they like, consumers will reduce how often they shop and try to buy products for discount prices during sales promotions.

In a recession period, people cannot ignore brushing their teeth, or people cannot advise others to brush their teeth once a day instead of two times a day. They still have to purchase essential goods, but it is clear that consumption behaviors change considerably in the recession period.

Consumption tendency cannot be restored

A question has been raised whether or not consumers will restore consumption habits they had before the recession. The answer is “no.”

According to Professor John Quelch, a Deloitte’s survey showed that 26 percent of US consumers will not consume as much as they did in the pre-recession period. As for Avon, only 13 percent of people said they will restore their consumption habits. Meanwhile, Ford said it cannot return to the peak production age it once had in the past.

The research of the professor has pointed out that there are four main tendencies in consumption habits of consumers after the recession. Consumers tend to look to simplify consumption, consume responsibly,  serve themselves, and make online purchases.

Young consumers, for example, decide to choose one brand because the enterprise is committed social responsibility or makes contributions to solving global problems. Wall Mart in the US or Tesco in the UK, for example, are encouraging manufacturers to declare the carbon volume used in the manufacturing process and show the figures on the packs. This allows consumers to easier to make decisions when seeing the figures on the packs.

Online consumption will develop more strongly than ever because recessions give people more time to work on computers and surf websites, allowing them to discover the facilities computers and websites can bring.

Finally, the marketing expert stressed that in order to succeed in doing business, CEOs should not simply sit in their offices. They should spend time going to the markets and watching them. They also need to discuss with their staff and listen to input from clients.

Pham Huyen

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