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Fruit farmers find profits in diversity

Update: March, 07/2015 - 09:20

Quality and uniqueness are the keys to infiltrating the world agricultural market, Dao Duc Huan, deputy director of the Centre for Rural Development, told Nong thon Ngay nay (Countryside Today).

Vietnamese farmers recently introduced many new products appreciated by consumers. Can this trend continue?

Diversification of farm products to meet the increasing demands of consumers has improved the incomes of many farming households. In my opinion, this entirely supports a market economy. It is based on the following three thoughts.

Firstly, when people's incomes are increased, their consumption will change toward high quality and diversity. That's why during the recent Tet festival, farmers introduced into the market quite a lot of new agricultural products, including fruit to display on the alter such as phat thu (finger citron or Buddha hand), Dong Tao chickens or wild ducks. The new products sold like hot cakes, particularly in urban areas.

Secondly, new production models have been introduced based on these innovations and consumers' tastes. And finally, the introduction of these products gives Vietnamese agriculture certain advantages, illustrating the rich cultural diversities and traditions of our people in different regions.

With proper investment, work diligence and some scientific knowledge, farmers in many localities have produced special pomeloes worth 10 times or more than those of traditional ones. But to have new products, farmers often work alone. What's your position on this?

The tendency to develop special products by farmers is highly appreciated and the move should be encouraged.

Farmers' innovation and creativity in turning out new products, like buoi ho lo (wine gourd pomelo) or square watermelons and others, have been highly appreciated by consumers. But, we cannot forget to mention the Government's policies to enable farmers to turn their innovations into life.

A case in point is the new breed of Dong Tao chicken. During Tet, a Dong Tao chicken was once worth a tael of gold (some thousands of dollars) in the market. However, to produce the chickens, it took the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Hung Yen People's Committee and some key farmers to implement a five year project to restore the breed. The project was a solid foundation for reviving the interest in the tasty birds.

Don't you think to turn out new products, farmers have to face many difficulties and challenges, including capital investment and labour?

That's why, the name of a special product in Viet Nam is always associated with the geographical name of a locality or a region. For example, the words Dong Tao tells the consumer where the chicken comes from. That's why maintaining the quality and name of the product is very important. Sometimes, special products from certain localities are rejected by consumers due to their poor quality.

Should the Government issue policies to help provide farmers with stable markets for their special products?

Yes, the farmers are in need of Government support. In my opinion, the MARD and Government should have policies and measures to help find markets for farmers' products, particularly special products.

Many of our special agricultural products, including wine-gourd pomelos, Dong Tao chickens or Ho chicken, can be exported. Meanwhile, other products, such as Hoa Loc mangoes, Nam Roi pomeloes, thanh long Binh Thuan, Buon Ma Thuot coffee, are much sought after in foreign markets due to their high quality. This is the biggest advantage of our agriculture products. — VNS

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