more organic vegetable farms
|A farmer in Tan Phu Trung
Commune in HCM City’s Cu Chi District waters organic vegetables. —
VNA/VNS Photo Pham Do
BA RIA-VUNG TAU — More
than 600 scientists, managers, company representatives and farmers from 32
provinces in the south met in Vung Tau this week to discuss ways to expand the
cultivation of vegetables and herbs grown under safe, hygienic conditions.
Speaking at the
conference, Dr. Tong Khiem, director of the National Agriculture Promotion
Centre, said that food safety must be a top priority and called for reduced use
of pesticides on all farms nationwide.
"In recent years,
contaminated vegetables have been assumed to be the cause of outbreaks of
disease or illness," Khiem said. "Early this year the Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Development issued strict regulations on production and
certification of clean vegetables, but progress has been slow."
Other speakers at the
conference offered several suggestions to improve the industry, including
setting up zones for cultivation areas, using Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
standards on all farms, and simplifying procedures needed to test the quality of
The forum was jointly
organised by the National Agriculture Promotion Centre, the Nong Nghiep Viet Nam
Newspaper and the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Agriculture and Rural Development Service.
Dr. Ngo Quang Vinh, a CEO
of the Southern Agriculture Science and Technique Institute, said only 10 per
cent of the domestically grown vegetables consumed in the country were
considered "clean", that is, farmed with few pesticides and clean
"In Ha Noi, one
hundred and eight out of 478 vegetable farms were found to have insufficient
conditions for clean vegetables," he added.
Dr. Tran Khac Thi, deputy
director of the Vegetables and Fruits Research Institute, said the country’s
total number of vegetable farms covered 643,970 ha in 2006, with an estimated
9.65 million tonnes of output.
"Over the last five
years, the quality of vegetables improved significantly, with annual vegetable
export value averaging between US$235 and $300 million. The main markets are
mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan," Thi said.
"However, the current
area used for planting clean vegetables is still very modest. In the six
northern provinces, it’s only 15,739 ha."
Nguyen Huu Huan, deputy
director of the Plant Protection Department, said: "Our farmers are able to
produce clean vegetables, but the Government has not issued nationwide
Thi said consumers had not
been provided with information on the importance of using hygienically grown
vegetables and were reluctant to buy them.
responsibilities of government agencies had also contributed to the problem, he
Farmers attending the
conference in Vung Tau said that consumers did not buy vegetables grown under
these conditions because they were often 5-10 per cent more expensive than other
vegetables and there was no government certification.
Mai Thanh Phung, an expert
with the National Agriculture Promotion Centre in HCM City, said scientists,
managers, farmers and companies must work together more closely to set up a more
effective system. — VNS