Việt Nam ensures supply and quality of export farm produce

October 12, 2022 - 18:44
Việt Nam has already received permission for the official export of 100 tonnes of Đắk Lắk's durian to China. The move is good for negotiating the export of other local agricultural products from Việt Nam's regions. However, Việt Nam needs to find solutions to export more of Việt Nam's agricultural products. Lê Thanh Hòa, deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Product Processing and Market, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, spoke to Vietnam News Agency about this issue.

Can the first batches of durian officially exported to China also open up opportunities for other agricultural products?

In recent years, the Chinese market has had more strict requirements on animal and plant quarantine for agricultural products, especially tropical fruits and vegetables.

Getting permission for the official export of Vietnamese farm produce to China has faced many difficulties, especially during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, China still maintains its 'zero COVID' policy, so it has greatly influenced the assessment of risks when opening the market for Vietnamese fruits.

Therefore, China changed inspection activities from offline to online. It applied new regulations on online inspection for the first time for Vietnamese durian, including planting areas and packing facilities.

In the future, other fruit and vegetable products such as sweet potatoes, coconuts, pomelo and avocados would be considered for official export to China as proposed by Việt Nam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Many other markets also require assessment of risks for Vietnamese farm products, including tropical fruits, exported to them before they officially open their markets for those products.

Therefore, Việt Nam needs to prepare very carefully, from the Government, research agencies, and businesses to farmers.

What are the weaknesses of Vietnamese agricultural products?

In recent years, Việt Nam's fruit and vegetable exports have made great growth. However, the country does not have a good production process for agricultural products, including products for export.

In addition, the quality of goods has not yet been uniform, and supply has not been stable. Therefore, even when we are permitted to export farm produce to a market, but there is not enough supply for the market, creating a disruption. So, it will also greatly affect the development of the export market and the position of that product brand in the export market.

We need to harmonise production in different regions. For example, the season of Vietnamese durian is from April-May to November-December depending on the region.

Durian fruits ripen in Khánh Hòa Province first, then Lâm Đồng, Đắk Lắk, Bến Tre and Tiền Giang. Therefore, we must ensure the supply meets the market regulations on the coded planting areas and the packing facilities.

If Việt Nam does not ensure supply and quality, it will be very difficult because Việt Nam not only exports durian to China but also Malaysia and Thailand. China will also consider opening the door for durian from Cambodia and the Philippines so competition will increase.

What mechanisms and policies has Việt Nam implemented in trade promotion activities supporting farmers and businesses?

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is the major office in trade promotion. It has enhanced cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in increasing trade promotion activities for Vietnamese fruits and vegetables at fairs, such as the Berlin agricultural fair, a food fair in Dubai and fairs on trade promotion for export within ASEAN. These activities still take place every year.

In addition, the trade promotion activities for farm products are held to introduce many products for domestic and international markets.

Việt Nam is an exporting country but it does not have any activities to attract customers as well as importers of Vietnamese farm products. We always bring our products to foreign fairs.

Việt Nam needs to have fairs at the international level to attract partners of countries importing agricultural products in the world.

What are the limitations in connecting supply and demand for agricultural products?

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and other management agencies have worked closely in promoting exports.

However, we see problems in the connection between the localities and the central management agencies and businesses.

In the future, this connection needs to be improved. This is not only in the interests of enterprises but also for the benefit of society and the farmers who produce that agricultural product. That will ensure the interests of the State, businesses, and farmers.

In addition, the ministry also continues the programmes of connecting through overseas Vietnamese trade offices and large supermarkets to bring our agricultural products through their global supermarket system such as Central Group of Thailand or Aeon of Japan.

Getting export permission is difficult but keeping the export market is even more difficult. What advice do you have for businesses and farmers?

Getting permission for exporting products to other markets takes a long time. China recently has requirements on export products to the market, while markets such as the US, Australia, Japan or South Korea also have much more difficult regulations.

To maintain the export markets, we must ensure quality and food safety in all stages from cultivation of agricultural products to meet the standards of the importing country.

For coded planting areas and packaging facilities, they must always keep stability in the quality and supply of agricultural products for export. VNS