Important input for the Natural Ingredients sector in Vietnam from SIPPO Advisory Board Member Boris Rafalski

SIPPO can call on a network of expert advisors to support SIPPO's export promotion activities. In this capacity, Boris Rafalski, CEO of SoulSpice, visited important cultivation areas in Vietnam in the Natural Ingredients sector. He visited Vietnam with the assistance from Biotrade and SIPPO Vietnam team and had good discussions with Ms. Hoang Thi Lien, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Pepper and Spice Association (VPSA).

Boris Rafalski Visit to Vietnam

Boris Rafalski, the CEO of SoulSpice and a long-standing and respected member of SIPPO's Advisory Board, was first introduced to SIPPO Vietnam at the SIPPO Global Meeting in 2022. Boris' presentation about his company and its sustainable, high-quality spice sourcing practices impressed SIPPO Vietnam and their colleagues worldwide, which is why all SIPPO countries invited him to visit them on site.

Closer contacts at Biofach 2023
Thanks to the efforts of Biotrade colleagues at CRED (Center for Rural Economy Development), who connected Boris with Vietnamese companies at Biofach 2023 and invited him to join them, one of the Vietnamese spice companies became aware of SoulSpice and a trial order was placed. Because of the impressive quality, Boris decided to travel to Vietnam to visit the company and exchange ideas with the SIPPO country team, also to find out more about SIPPO's approach to helping BSOs build capacity. 

Visit to the cultivation areas
SIPPO Vietnam took this opportunity to support and coach the BSO Vietnam Pepper and Spice Association (VPSA) and the exporter Dace in planning buyer missions and accompanied Boris's team on site. During the trip to the production areas, Boris explained the market trends for the premium Natural Ingredients sector. He particularly emphasised the need to build partnerships to implement a long-term vision. He highlighted the great value of biodiversity in Vietnam's Natural Ingredient sector, which give Vietnamese spices a very special taste. 

Successful talks with BSO Vietnam Pepper and Spice Association (VPSA)
After the site visit, Boris also visited the SIPPO Vietnam office and met with Ms Hoang Thi Lien, Chairperson of the Vietnam Pepper and Spice Association (VPSA). The exchange highlighted the role of the BSO in the development of the sector and Boris confirmed his positive assessment of the BSO approach that SIPPO has been following for several years. He also provided the VPSA with helpful insights into the premium sectors of Natural Ingredients and sustainable sourcing and marketing practices. He particularly emphasised the importance of partnership and transparency as core values.

Image building and sustainability strategy
He also made two important suggestions for the VPSA as a leading BSO in Vietnam, based on Boris' experiences in India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia:  First, he said, it is important to build an image as a quality partner with products of first-class standard, and second, to develop a sustainability strategy for the sector. Boris will thus also support the SIPPO team to accompany VPSA on this path.

The reaction to Boris Rafalski's visit was extremely positive: "We very much appreciate your advice and support, and we look forward to welcoming you back to Vietnam soon!"

Video with Boris Rafalski during his visit in Vietnam

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