Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Lao salt producer gears up for export market

Mar 18. 2016
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By News Desk
Vientiane Times

VIENTIANE - The Veunkham Salt Co Ltd in Xaythany district, Vientiane, is improving its management structure and product quality with a view to boosting exports.
In terms of product certification, the company only has a salt quality certificate from the Ministry of Health since it began operations back in 1996, the company’s Managing Director Bounthavy Chounlamany told Vientiane Times on Wednesday.
Recognising the need for international certification, the company is now working towards the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) and International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) quality guarantees. These would give the company a competitive edge and allow expansion into the Asean and East Asian markets.
Bounthavy was certain that these certificates would enable the company to increase exports and said they would attempt to obtain these important industry standards next year.
The company is currently working with international organisations to improve their operations and prepare for inspections that would monitor and certify product quality. 
“Some Asean and East Asian nations such as Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Japan and the Republic of Korea are interested in our products because they are chemical free and natural. But they still have to be certified as meeting international standards,” Bounthavy said.
With government support, the company has sent its staff on training courses in management and technical issues so they can learn from other Asean nations as well as international organisations.
“We have also exhibited our products at various events in Laos and other countries,” Bounthavy said.
In previous years, the company has exported its products to Chinese Taiwan, the Republic of Korea and Japan as well as some Asean countries, but the quantities were small as the factory was not prepared for the export market.
Veunkham Salt is one of seven salt producers in Laos and supplies mainly domestic consumers, with a 25-30 per cent market share.
The company always tries to improve product quality and packaging to meet market demand. All of their salt is iodised and fluoridated and comes in 12kg, 1kg, 500g and 250g bags.
Over the past five years, the company has been focusing on improving quality and seeking foreign markets.
“Improved quality will boost our business and enable us to expand into other countries, both in the region and further afield,” Bounthavy said.
The factory has the capacity to produce about 15-20 tonnes of salt a day but domestic demand remains limited so the factory does not produce to full capacity.
Bounthavy said the company’s products were 100 per cent natural and high in calcium and she believed they had strong potential for success in overseas markets.
 

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