Hanoi, Vietnam - 19. Juni 2017

Biotrade Initiative to Develop Natural Ingredient Sector in Vietnam Financed by SECO

Hanoi, 20 June 2017 - The BioTrade SECO project organized the Vietnam Project Launching Ceremony of the Regional BioTrade Project South East Asia. The new project is financed by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), a Swiss Government Agency, and implemented in Vietnam by HELVETES Vietnam, a Swiss-based, international Non-Government Organization. The total funding of the project for Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar is USD 4.9 million. Fund allocation for Vietnam component and Vietnam PMU is USD 2.7 million from 2017 to the end of 2020.

BioTrade refers to the collection, production, transformation, and commercialization of goods and services derived from native biodiversity using the criteria of environmental, social and economic sustainability. Natural ingredients are processed products from plants, animals, and microorganism collected or cultivated in the wild or domesticated and produced in an ecological way, without the use of any petrochemicals. Natural ingredients are used in many ways in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic or food industries for commercial purposes as natural ingredients and have considerable market value.

South-East Asia is one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots and Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar are amongst the most biologically diverse countries on earth. With a growing annual demand of 10-15% worldwide, natural ingredients sourced from this biological resource represent a huge business potential - particularly on international high-end markets, where customers are willing to pay a premium for sustainably produced and fairly traded goods.

According to Mr. Miroslav Delaporte, Head of Cooperation at the Embassy of Switzerland in Vietnam, “This project aims at conserving biodiversity through sustainable trade of natural ingredient, in which it focuses on increasing the competitiveness of local exporter and producers, developing livelihood for rural population and taking into account BioTrade principles”.  Despite this, the sector has not yet reached its potential to become a leading export sector in Vietnam. “That sector has been facing challenges such as threats to biodiversity and economic development of the rural population, for instance, the over exploitation of biodiversity-based resource from natural forests for exporting to low quality market (like China) currently is threatening the social, environment and livelihood of upland farmers and banning export opportunities for local companies.  ”, Mr. Nguyen Que Anh, Director of Vietnam Star Anise and Cassia Manufacturing and exporting JSC shared.

To unleash the great economic and environmental potential of this sector, the project will focus on the collaboration with (i) 12 companies in Vietnam and 20 companies in total to establish export oriented value chains, following Ethnical BioTrade Principles, (ii) service provider to eliminate/reduce service related bottlenecks slowing growth the natural ingredients sector and (iii) Government and other institutions and stakeholders to establish a conducive enabling environment for the BioTrade sector.

“Over the next 3 years, we will work to increase the competitiveness of local exporters and enable them access to high-end markets, while providing better income and jobs opportunities for harvesters and producers. By incorporating the principles of Biotrade, we will ensure that, biodiversity is protected and encouraged during this process.”, Andrew Wilson – Regional Project Manager, Helvetas Vietnam shared.



BioTrade refers to the collection, production, transformation, and commercialisation of goods and services derived from native biodiversity under the criteria of environmental, social and economic sustainability. BioTrade was initiated by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), to support the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity http://www.biotrade.org/aboutPRINC.asp

About SECO

The overriding objective of Switzerland’s international cooperation is sustainable global development that will reduce poverty and global risks. The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) focuses globally on Economic Development Cooperation aimed at sustainable economic growth in its partner countries by promoting the integration of the partners into the world economy, by strengthening domestic competitiveness and by optimizing global partnership in cooperation. Each year, Switzerland spends about 1.9 billion Swiss francs on development cooperation and transition assistance to countries. Vietnam is one of the key priority countries that benefit from this assistance. www.eda.admin.ch/hanoi


HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation in Vietnam: HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation (HELVETAS) is one of the most experienced and largest development organisations in Switzerland. It came into existence on 1 July 2011 with the merger of two organisations: Helvetas (founded 1955) and Intercooperation (founded 1982). As a politically and denominationally neutral association, HELVETAS is supported by over 100,000 members and sponsors, as well as 12 regional groups of volunteers. HELVETAS is working in Vietnam since 1994, in the sector of Agriculture & Forestry, Governance & Peace; Water & Sanitation and Rural Development. www.vietnam.helvetas.org


Do Quang Huy - National Programme Officer SECO - Embassy of Switzerland in Vietnam

Phone: +84 24 3934 65 89 (ext. 803976)

Email: huy.doquang@eda.admin.ch

Le Ngoc – Communication Officer – HELVETAS Vietnam

Phone: +84 24 3843 1750  

Email: ngoc.le@helvetas.org