On the other hand, there are some fortunate businessmen like Mr. Do Quang Hien of the T&T Group, for who the Covid-19 pandemic has been a golden opportunity to make a breakthrough in farm produce, and he has seen his company soar at a time when other businesses were collapsing.
Success during pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic has been described by experts as a natural sieve that will gradually sift out incompetent companies from those companies with well-prepared long-term plans and strategies. As an example, the T&T Group has seen amazing success during the pandemic. In April 2020, the T&T Group’s affiliate T&T Agriculture Company Limited signed an online contract with the US company Marquis Energy Global to import raw animal feed worth USD 115 mn. Later in the month, Marquis Energy Global delivered 48,000 tons of distiller dried grains with solubles to the Vietnamese T&T company, with the remaining amount delivered shortly afterwards.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, business activities had slowed down in 2020 and sources for raw animal feed ran short in the country, resulting in soaring prices of animal feed. This made it very difficult for farmers. Therefore, the T&T Group imports eased animal feed manufacturing in the country and stabilized the market price. In the long run, the T&T Group’s remaining imports from Marquis Energy Global will help stabilize the supplies in the market and solve the problem of shortage of raw animal feed.
By August 2020, the T&T Group continued to make an even greater impact on the market in the farm produce sector in general and the cashew sector in particular, when it successfully entered into a contract to buy 150,000 tons of raw cashews from the Ivory Coast. It was the total amount of cashews the government of Ivory Coast had at that time. This business deal was the second time that the T&T Group had bought in a record amount, because it had previously bought 176,000 tons of raw cashews from Tanzania under a contract considered the biggest in the history of the cashew industry in the world.
Farming not for amateurs
Agriculture in Vietnam has great potential. Vietnam has rich soil, and though many companies are doing well in farm produce, it is certainly not a field for amateurs, and not all investment in farming is fruitful. The two above-mentioned trade deals worth millions of US dollars indicate that the T&T Group has not been affected by the pandemic at all, but instead has flourished much more strongly because it dared to take chances and used it advantages, resources and expertise to promote production and grow its business. By the end of 2020, the T&T Group and its strategic partners had imported nearly 2.5 million tons of raw animal feed at a turnover of approximately USD 559 mn, making up 16% of the country's total import turnover of animal feed.
The two cashew import contracts set world records and placed the T&T Group as the biggest raw cashew importer in the country. In 2020, the T&T Group also exported a total 400,000 tons of cashew products. In 2021, the T&T Group plans to import 600,000 tons of raw cashews and will continue to increase its manufacture and export of cashew products. Most notably, the T&T Group trade deals were carried out through international bidding. A representative from Tanzania's Cashew Association said that the T&T Group is a prestigious Vietnamese trade name. It has been big in bidding, due to its good understanding of the market and effective coordination and more importantly it has long-term trade strategies and visions in Ivory Coast and Tanzania.
The T&T Group succeeded in beating other companies from many countries including India, China, Singapore and UAE and becoming the number one buyer in 2020 in the Ivory Coast and Tanzania. It has made a profound impact on the cashew market in Africa and around the world. It has not only earned a good reputation abroad, but also maintained a stable supply chain of raw cashews, stabilized the price of goods for domestic needs and made it possible for Vietnamese cashew manufacturers to minimize risks and maximize profits for future sustainable development. This will play a pivotal role in making Vietnam the world number one in manufacturing and export of cashew products in the future.
A representative from the T&T Group said it is making concerted efforts to stabilize the price of raw cashews in the market and set reasonable prices of delivered raw cashews. Mr. Trương Sỹ Bá, Chairman of Tan Long Group, a strategic partner of the T&T Group, says that the T&T Group wants to buy as much as possible and stabilize the supply of goods in Vietnam as well as in the world markets in an effort to stabilize the price and income of cashew farmers in Vietnam, while also contributing to stabilizing the supply of cashews, in the most sustainable, effective and ethical way.