Director General of the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture visits one of the spices exporters participating in the Biotrade project

Press releases, 26.04.2023

On the occasion of the visit of H.E. State Secretary Christian Hofer, Director General of the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) to attend the 4th Global Conference on Sustainable Food Systems Program in Hanoi, the Center for Rural Economy Development (CRED) has organized a visit to Son Ha Spice and Flavourings Co., Ltd (Son Ha). Son Ha is one of 23 companies in the natural ingredients sector supported by the Biotrade project to comply with standards for socially, environmentally and biodiversity sustainable value chains. The Biotrade project is funded by Switzerland through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Mr. Christian Hofer, Director General of the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) (in the middle, blue shirt) and the delegation at Son Ha Spice and Flavourings Co. Ltd
Mr. Christian Hofer, Director General of the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) (in the middle, blue shirt) and the delegation at Son Ha Spice and Flavourings Co., Ltd © BioTrade Project

Mr. Christian Hofer was accompanied by Mr. Alwin Kopse, Head of the International Affairs and Food Systems Unit at FOAG, Mr. Werner Gruber, Head of Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland, Mr. Do Quang Huy, National Program Manager of SECO, and Ms. Tran Nhu Trang – Country Representative of the Swiss Import Promotion Program (SIPPO). During the visit, the Son Ha company presented the results achieved over the last two years of collaboration with the Biotrade project. Notably, Son Ha is one of the first companies in Vietnam and in the world that has achieved the Union for Ethical BioTrade / Rainforest Alliance (UEBT/RA) certification for its cinnamon value chain in Lao Cai and Yen Bai provinces thanks to the technical support of the Biotrade project. In addition, the company is taking a leading role in implementing a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) to contribute to biodiversity conservation in its sourcing areas. It also actively works in addressing sectoral issues through participation in the public-private dialogue organized by the Biotrade project. The delegation and the company also exchanged views on the opportunities and challenges for natural ingredients in general and spices in particular for export to Europe, including the Swiss market.

H.E. State Secretary Christian Hofer, said: “By conserving biodiversity, promoting socially and environmentally sustainable production, and supporting marketing of these products to international markets, the Biotrade project contributes to a more sustainable production in Vietnam and, at the same time, to the goals of the Conference on a Sustainable Food System, which aims to ensure long-term - sustainable - access to sufficient and healthy food throughout the world.” 

The visit re-affirms the important role of businesses in promoting sustainable production and trade of products of natural origin and the great export potential of such products to international markets.  Switzerland's support through the Biotrade project has greatly increased awareness of the potential and benefits of meeting international sustainability standards in the natural ingredients sector, in line with biodiversity conservation values, for businesses as well as the environment and sustainable food systems.


State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO

SECO is the Swiss federal government`s centre of excellence for all core issues relating to economic and labour market policy. It is SECO’s aim to contribute to sustained economic growth, high employment and fair working conditions, by creating the necessary regulatory, economic and foreign policy framework. SECO's Department of Economic Cooperation and Development is in charge of planning and implementing economic development and cooperation activities in middle-income countries, Eastern European countries and new member countries of the European Union.

Vietnam is a priority country of Switzerland’s economic development cooperation, which is implemented under the responsibility of SECO. SECO’s main goal is to support Vietnam in achieving market-oriented, sustainable growth. To this end, SECO’s support will focus on promoting reliable economic framework conditions and an innovation-friendly business environment that will allow Vietnam’s private sector to thrive.

Website SECO


Center for Rural Economy Development (CRED) is a leading Vietnam-based Non-Profit Organization (NGO), working for the elimination of poverty and greater inclusion of disadvantaged groups including the poor, women, youth and ethnic minorities in sustainable development and economic growth. CRED is a pioneer organization working with market system development (MSD) which enables CRED to connect the communities, local business and producer groups with high-quality service providers to promote sustainable production practices, enhance export readiness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Website CRED


Helvetas is a non-governmental organization, founded in 1955 in Switzerland, currently has more than 100,000 members, sponsors and 12 regional volunteer groups. Helvetas has been operating in Vietnam since 1994 in the fields of agriculture, forestry, governance, water, sanitation and rural development. Currently, Helvetas Vietnam's programs focus on sustainable and inclusive economic development; Specific issues on climate change and vocational skills development are also taken care of by Helvetas.



For further information, please contact:

Nguyen Thi Lien, BioTrade Project Manager

Tel: +84 (24) 3237 3907 | + 84 988 906 619