HANOI - A poultry breeder in Hoa Binh northern province is finding opportunities within the domestic market, as Viet Nam braces for inclusion into the World Trade Organisation.
Truong Cao Son, 35, says that with expected fierce competition coming from foreign companies entering the country, inventive methods are needed for domestic suppliers to remain competitive. One such idea the former agriculture student came up with was to import a special breed of chicken from Egypt and stick stamps on their eggs.
"It's the first egg in the country registered at the Intellectual Property Department. These eggs have been sterilised by ozonic water and packed in specialised boxes. Customers don't have to worry about counterfeits because the stamp is affixed to the shell," he says.
Although Son's eggs sell at market for VND2,200 each, markedly higher than Vietnamese eggs, he has seen sales rise over the last 12 months to 30,000 eggs per day.
The breeder believes that when Viet Nam joins the WTO, domestic agricultural production will face many challenges but there are still greater opportunities for at least 30 per cent of products farmed in the country.
"Of the domestic fowls we breed, we have been concentrating on the species of ga ri or ga H'Mong because they are Vietnamese delicacies," he says.
If the breeding sector wants to compete with foreign firms, they would do well to heed Son's advice and focus on speciality breeds.
Son was young, ambitious and armed with a degree from the Ha Noi Agricultural University. He bounced around between research institutes and State-owned companies, until 2000 when he decided to leave Ha Noi for Hoa Binh Province.
It was here that he decided to go into business for himself and establish his first breeding farm. Initially his farm specialised in breeding ga ri (small breed fowl), later on with raised capital of VND60 million, he formed Lac Hoa Ltd.Co, a company that provides breeds for other farmers.
Through hard work and an unquenchable love of poultry, Son turned his humble farm into Lac Hoa group, which he founded early this year. Having spent tens of billions of dong, Lac Hoa now includes a poultry-feed processing plant, a farm development company, a safe foodstuffs processing plant, and a gene preservation centre.
Ever aware of branding, he went on to register his trademark as 3F (Family Fresh Food) at the Intellectual Property Department.
"We built the 3F trademark with a hope that customers would recognise that we are a safe food source and feel comfortable purchasing our products" .
"It is really important that we ensure our fowls are clean and safe, even during the influenza epidemic," Son says.
Not content to rest on his laurels, Son has plans to push the company in new directions. He has already secured contracts to provide Ha Noi restaurants with ga ri (small breed of fowl).
Large-scale poultry breeding has been established in the provinces of Ha Tay and Hoa Binh, and a rare-breed preservation centre at Bac Ha District of Lao Cai province has also been set up. With his love of the chicken spurring him on, Son has also been co-operating with scientists at the National Institute of Cattle Breeding to preserve and develop rare animal breeds in the country.