|An okras farm at hamlet 2, Hoa Loc Commune, Tam Binh District, Vinh Long Province. A survey by the Viet Nam Standards and Consumers Association shows that up to 90 per cent of consumers cannot identify safe vegetables. — VNA/VNS Photo Pham Thi Binh
HA NOI (VNS)— Up to 90 per cent of consumers cannot identify safe vegetables, according to a survey by the Viet Nam Standards and Consumers Association (VINASTAS).
The survey was taken in six northern provinces and cities between 2011 and this year.
Consumers only know what vegetables are safe through certifications provided by grocery stores, said Nguyen Manh Hung, VINASTAS general secretary.
The majority of shoppers often think all green and fresh vegetables are safe but this not so, Hung said.
Safe vegetables are grown using the minimum of pesticides and chemical fertilisers, reducing toxins.
"Many grocery shops claim they sell safe vegetables but it is hard to verify," Hung said.
Hung added that consumers face difficulties in getting information about where to buy safe vegetables, although his association publicises 60 stores that sell safe vegetables in Ha Noi on the website www.rausach.nguoitieudung.com.vn.
But shops that sell safe produce find it hard to compete with grocery traders in traditional markets because the prices of these vegetables are often double that of normal ones.
Eduardo Sabio, regional representative of VredesEilanden Country Offices (VECO) in Viet Nam said the northern provinces of Phu Tho and Lang Son have been taking part in a pilot scheme supported by VECO since 2008 to grow safe vegetables.
Le Toan, head of Phu Tho's Plant Protection Department, said land for planting vegetables now only meets 30 per cent of local demand.
The province's Viet Tri City plans to broaden the area for planting by up to 160ha by 2015, he added. — VNS