Value Chains for natural ingredient products, Vietnam

With over 4000 plant species which can be used as ingredients in pharmacy, cosmetics, etc, Vietnam found itself in favorable position to become an internationally recognized supplier for biodiversity derived natural ingredients. However, the industry is yet to be developed.
Government of Switzerland with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland (SECO) as representative, set up the pilot project of “Development of BioTrade activities within the Natural Ingredients sector” to support Vietnam. Being implemented for over three years from 2012 to June 2015, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Vietnam is responsible for the implementation of the project in partnership with four pioneering phyto-pharmaceutical companies.

The approach by the project was determined as value chain approach, in which all actors in each value chain are involved (and supported). Firstly, five value chains for five different natural ingredients were selected as pilot models, and these value chains were developed in compliance with international standards (namely BioTrade and GACP-WHO). In order to do so, BioTrade project provided technical trainings to farmers/collectors, finance for small-scale infrastructure and machinery, and helped connect with international union (Union for Ethical BioTrade) and certification body for standards certifying. In addition to that, the project organized capacity building activities for member companies, including B2B marketing, marketing communication, trade promotion, etc. in preparation for these companies to set up a network with each other and discover the international market. Last but not least, BioTrade project represented the industry to work with the authorities, helped generate a fostering policy and regulatory environment for the development of the natural ingredients sector.

The project received positive responses from the private sector, research institutes, and non-government organizations seeking to develop feasible natural ingredient value chains and to improve new market access for BioTrade compliant products. The project was also welcomed by the Vietnamese government, notable the Ministry of Health and got other ministries support (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Industry and Trade).

This is a project mandate implemented on behalf of SECO.

project impact

499 farmer households saw an increase in their incomes of at least 10% after joining the project


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