Farm produce quality needs improving
Local farmers, farm produce processors and traders should meet local and international standards to increase the consumption of agricultural products and also enhance competitiveness against foreign rivals, heard a forum on farm produce consumption on July 19.
The forum, co-organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Dong Thap government in HCMC, was aimed at raising farm produce consumption for cooperatives in the northern region and the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.
Speaking at the forum, Nguyen Vu Toan, sales director of the Saigon Union of Trading Cooperatives (Saigon Co.op), said that Saigon Co.op’s retail chains consume over 200 tons of vegetables and fruits each day, and the retail chain operator expects to cooperate with localities and cooperatives with stable production of high quality agricultural products to meet customer demands.
However, poor traffic infrastructure and limited storage technologies have reduced the quality of Vietnamese farm produce, Toan said.
Additionally, domestic fruits are under pressure, due to rising imports of foreign fruits, he said, adding that supermarkets not only import temperate fruits from foreign markets to diversify their products, but also buy tropical fruits from Thailand and China due to their lower prices.
As such, Toan called upon Vietnamese farmers and farm produce processors to promptly change how they think about production, so they could meet requirements for the quality and quantity of agricultural products ordered by distributors.
In addition, operators of modern retail channels advised farm produce processors and farmers to further invest in design and packages to improve the value of products, as an important foundation when exporting to foreign markets.
Director of My An Cooperative in Dong Thap Province Nguyen Hong Nhanh, however, said that the cooperative was vague about standards of production to meet the requirements set by firms.
“The cooperative’s access to firms and supermarkets remained limited due to the shortage of information,” Nhanh said, adding that the cooperative is focusing on enhancing the quality of products to be placed on supermarket shelves.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam said the yield of agricultural production has grown over the past few years, but due to high market requirements, in terms of quality of products, it is necessary to re-organize production processes and set up material areas to ensure sufficient supplies.
The country is currently home to 9,000 firms active in agricultural production, but either the supply of farm produce or the market remains inadequate. As such, Deputy Minister Nam said that farmers should focus their production on meeting the market’s demand and customers’ tastes.
In recent years, cooperatives have played a key role in linking farming households and the market. Some 9.3 million farming households nationwide have joined cooperatives to produce large volumes of products for supply. As a result, the connection of products between firms and cooperatives need promoting.
A mere 24% of cooperatives have chain connections with firms in the country. “As planned, the figure will increase to 50% by 2025,” Nam told the press on the sidelines of the forum.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister Nam said he expected that through the forum, farmers and cooperatives’ awareness about agricultural production would be raised to turn out high quality products to gain trust from customers and firms.