Japan is a country with elite-level cuisine, so it is not too hard to understand that this market is especially concerned about food safety and hygiene.
Although the Japanese regulatory thresholds are not as strict as the US and the EU market, its set of criteria for checking imported products also sets very high requirements.
Regarding rice, there is a huge set of different test indicators with more than 600 items, focusing mainly on indicators of pesticide chemical residue and mycotoxins. Exporting rice to Japan is even getting more and more difficult as the annual set of evaluation criteria continue to be updated, adding new criteria or narrowing the permitted threshold. This is the reason why Vietnam does not have any rice consignments to Japan for a few years.
Due to failures of other companies when exporting goods to Japan in the past, An Dinh Company was a bit hesitant to approach this market during the past years although the main product of An Dinh Company is Japonica Rice – short grain rice, which was originated and developed in Japan; not to mention, the company’s products have met the evaluation criterias and are present in numerous supermarkets and restaurants in the US and Europe.
At the end of 2019, after receiving a lot of attention and enquiries from Japanese customers, especially the support of Itochu Corporation – An Dinh’s longtime customer, we decided to try to conquer this market.
In the very last days of 2019, thanks to the help and recommendation of Itochu Corporation, we sent the first sample of short grain brown rice to Japan to test the compliance with the prescribed criterias. After that, as the result for this first rice sample was meeting the standards, the process of preparing the batch of short grain brown rice to participate in the bid of supplying rice of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan had just begun.
In early February 2020, the next rice sample was directly assigned by an independent evaluator of the Japanese side to take samples and sent to Thailand, Japan for further quality testing. The results of this rice sample test would be included in the tender documents. More than one month of waiting, the results of a representative sample of the consignment passing all of more than 600 pesticide residue indicators was really a bright spot for us during the gloomy production period due to the impact of the epidemic Covid-19, which was booming at the time.
Although An Dinh has won the right to supply rice for a package of 300 tons of short grain brown rice, it was not until May 2020, after the rice export is permitted by the Vietnamese government again, could An Dinh deliver the goods. Right after the goods was ported, we continued to receive more good news: the final test sample of the shipment has also passed the final quality test.
An Dinh’s first batch of exports to Japan has opened up a new potential market for An Dinh. This export consignment reinforces our direction for the development of clean agriculture, with the selective and correct use of agricultural protection chemicals and fertilizers. Indeed, clean agriculture is difficult, but it is also the only way to the most sustainable customers of An Dinh.