Vietnam Seed Industry News 2020

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.

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 2018According 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: