Southern region seeks to ensure goods supply amid social distancing
Nineteen southern cities and provinces have devised plans to ensue sufficient supply of essential items like vegetables, fruits and meat amid the lockdown starting Monday.
HCMC people do the shopping in supermarkets when the city imposes social distancing order. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dat.
Nguyen Van Dong, director of the Ba Ria Vung Tau Department of Industry and Trade, said: "Our province is still active in supplying goods to the market."
In Ben Tre, people have rushed to markets and supermarkets to hoard groceries, resulting in partial shortages.
In response, authorities have begun a scheme to distribute vouchers for shopping either on even or odd days, Nguyen Thi QuynhAnh, deputy director of the province Department of Industry and Trade, said.
"Goods are sufficient now, basically meeting demand."
Creating green corridors for goods transport, especially in waterways, would strengthen food supply in Vinh Long, Ben Tre and Tien Giang provinces and HCMC, and keep supply chains intact, she said.
Nguyen Phuoc Thien, director of the Dong Thap Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province has ensured sufficient supply of vegetables and fruits, and sought to increase the availability of food.
Food producers and distributors said they have made plans to ensure uninterrupted supply after the southern region begins social distancing.
Pham Thanh Hung, deputy general director of Ba Huan Corporation, told VnExpress that his firm’s two factories and three farms have workers staying there so it can ensure sufficient supply of poultry eggs and meat to HCMC and some southwestern provinces.
VFood too has workers staying at its livestock farms to ensure uninterrupted production and prevent Covid-19 spread.
"We are worried about only one thing: the lack of coordination between provinces in transportation," its general director, Truong Chi Thien, said.
Supermarket chain Saigon Co.op said it has devised various plans to cope with evolving situations.
At a meeting between localities and the ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development and Industry and Trade on Sunday, Ba Ria Vung Tau’s Dong said demand for goods would surge but their transport to his province would be difficult due to disease control measures, causing prices to rise.
In the last few days goods supply chains in HCMC, Dong Nai and Binh Duong have been broken sometimes. People in HCMC have had to queue at markets, supermarkets and convenience stores for a long period of time only to find empty shelves. Online distribution channels are congested.
Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien said the Covid outbreaks could worsen, leading to the breaking of food, foodstuff and medicine supply chains if transport is obstructed. So, he warned, "under no circumstances should the supply chains of essential goods be broken."
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said cities and provinces should not close down wholesale and traditional markets but let them function as usual after taking all necessary measures to prevent contagion.
They should also increase the working hours of supermarkets and mobile retail outlets, and penalize people found hoarding goods or profiteering.