|People buy organic vegetables at a supermarket in HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HCM CITY — HCM City consumers’ willingness to again spend on organic foods to improve their health after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic is fuelling their development, experts said.
Organic foods are ubiquitous at modern retail outlets such as Co.opMart, Tops Market, MM Mega Market, Bách Hóa Xanh, Kingfoodmart, and Satra supermarket systems, and consumers could buy them at reasonable prices, they said.
At Tops Market An Phú supermarket in Thủ Đức City, internationally certified organic vegetables for a family are sold at just VNĐ30,000 (US$1.3) per pack of 0.3kg.
The supermarket also regularly launches promotions, offering prices much lower than those of imported goods of similar quality.
Kingfoodmart supermarket in Bình Thạnh District sells organic vegetable packs at prices of VNĐ5,500-20,000 to consumers’ delight.
Products with organic and environment-friendly certification are increasingly seen in supermarket shelves, shops and websites, with milk, fruits and vegetables, spices, coffee, and tea among the most popular.
For instance, Organica, which sells imported and local fruits, vegetables and many other products, is a familiar name to many consumers.
To meet the increasing demand for organic products, retailers and businesses are seeking collaboration with and investment in organic agriculture themselves to reduce costs.
Saigon Co.op has rolled out a number of products under the Co.op Organic brand such as rice; cucumber, squash, tomato; choy sum, mustard green, water spinach; and basa fish fillet and black tiger shrimp.
According to market research company Nielsen, more and more consumers want products that are good for their health and do not harm the environment.
But companies in the field face many challenges.
Thái Như Hiệp, director of Vĩnh Hiệp Co., Ltd, said: “Organic agricultural products are favoured by global consumers and will be an inevitable requirement for making agriculture sustainable, but organic production in our country faces many difficulties.
“The cost of analysis of samples and evaluation to grant organic certification is high. It usually takes two to three years or even longer to fully meet the requirements, while the validity of the certification is only for one year, and producers must routinely apply for reassessment.”
His company has faced difficulties in expanding the scale of organic farming because productivity and yields are not high, farmers do not have the habit of taking notes about their daily farming activities and their knowledge about organic production remains low, he said further.
Inputs such as fertilisers for use in organic production are still not widely available and are expensive.
“To sustainably develop organic agriculture, it is necessary to apprise farmers, businesses and consulting officials about standards through seminars, workshops and training courses.”
“The Government needs to strengthen promotion of organic produce.
“Establishing domestic organisations for analysing and certifying organic production is imperative to reduce costs.”
To achieve sustainable development, city farmers have been focusing to build concentrated and safe production areas, develop key products and attract investment.
HCM City plans to make urban agriculture modern and sustainable, focusing on restructuring and development of new-style rural areas, Nguyễn Hồ Hải, deputy secretary of the Party Committee, has said.
The city would develop hi-tech and clean agriculture and foster research and use of bio-technology to create high-yield and -quality varieties, he promised.
Nguyễn Thanh Xuân, chairwoman of the city Farmers Association, said agricultural output last year was worth nearly VNĐ18.6 trillion (US$823 million), an increase of 13.7 per cent from 2020.
The city has 113,664 hectare of agricultural lands and around 50,000 people working in the sector.
Most of its produce is consumed in the city, while items like ornamental fishes and flowers and spices are also exported. — VNS