Conference addresses bottlenecks in agricultural product traceability system

June 26, 2024 - 14:58
Building a traceability system for agricultural products is one of the important contents of digital transformation in the agricultural sector, but the process still has many problems that need to be resolved by relevant authorities.
A customer checks the origin of agricultural products at a supermarket. – Photo

HÀ NỘI — A conference highlighting the significant opportunities and challenges farmers face in embracing digital transformation and implementing a traceability system for agricultural products took place on Tuesday.

The event was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in collaboration with the Việt Nam Farmers' Association and the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Participants heard that agricultural product traceability relates to tracking, identifying, and following information about a product unit in each production, processing, and distribution stage. Origin tracing is one of the important aspects of digital transformation in the agricultural sector.

However, for farmers, the traceability of agricultural products still has many difficulties and limitations, from simply not being aware to being able to implement digital transformation in agriculture. Many do not understand the role, importance, and effectiveness of digital transformation, so they have not proactively learned, researched, and applied digital technology, according to the principal of the Việt Nam Farmers' Union School of Officers, Nguyễn Khắc Toàn.

Director of Bình Minh Organic Agriculture Traceability, Nguyễn Ngọc Hải, said many farmers still have limited ability to access digital technology proactively and need support in training and education.

Statistics from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) revealed that only 38 out of 63 localities have implemented traceability lines across Việt Nam.

“There are still few production and business organisations and individuals in Việt Nam proactively building, deploying, and applying origin traceability systems following international standards through the application of new technology in the field of information technology and barcodes, in accordance with international standards to create favourable conditions for the process of exporting products and goods and improve reputation and brand in domestic and foreign markets,” said Dr. Vũ Quế Anh, a representative from MoST’s Department of Science and Technology for Economic Technical Branches.

To date, the majority of agricultural products of cooperative enterprises and cooperative groups have used traceability; however, the current application of software does not meet national and international standards.

To remove those difficulties and improve the effectiveness of digital transformation applications and product traceability, State agencies, such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Science and Technology, need to popularise national standards, national technical regulations, and documents to guide businesses, production facilities, and solution service providers in building traceability systems, said Hoàng Trọng Thủy, an agricultural expert.

“For cooperatives and Farmers' Associations, it is necessary to mobilise and organise farmers to trace the origin of agricultural products belonging to the group of food, exported food, and essential agricultural products for people's consumption,” said Thủy.

In addition, local cooperatives and the Việt Nam Farmers' Associations need to promote training for farmers to change their behaviour from recording field and farm diaries on paper to recording with smart electronic devices. They can then connect with consumers and geographic information management systems (GIS) to create a traceability system.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that it will continue to upgrade and expand the ministry's agricultural product traceability system, both in terms of building and expanding features and software functions, and investing more in purchasing hardware devices and servers.

According to the Việt Nam Farmers' Association, digital transformation has opened up great opportunities for its members and farmers. It has helped increase productivity, production efficiency, and quality of agricultural products, saving costs in agricultural production by optimising resource use, accessing new markets, better risk management, improving knowledge and skills for farmers, increasing operational efficiency of the agri-food value chain, and traceability. — VNS