Seminar discusses ways to add value to farm produce

Improving production technologies, designs and packaging are among the important factors that could add value to Vietnamese farm produce, businesses have said.

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A safe vegetable production farm in the Mekong Delta

Nguyen Thi Cac Thuy of Tay Cat Co., Ltd said to improve traditional products, producers needed to adopt technology, do research to enhance product quality and improve product designs.

If businesses were constantly innovating, regardless of their scale they could enhance the value of their agricultural products, she told a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on October 21.

Le Thi Thanh Lam, deputy general director of Saigon Food JSC, said her company sold products such as fresh porridge, processed seafood, frozen seafood, and vegetables, and besides improving product quality and offering competitive prices, it had also changed the packaging of its fresh porridge products many times since launch.

These had helped the company increase market share and win consumers’ trust, she added.

According to experts, the agricultural sector needs to develop modern value chains, enhance linkages between various stakeholders and strictly conform to good agricultural practices, food safety standards and product traceability to ensure development.

Vo Phuong Thuy, deputy director of the Dong Thap provincial Department of Industry and Trade, said in the past the department used to help farmers find outlets for their produce, but now it would connect them with distributors and large businesses for the two sides to work out their requirements.

It also often provides farmers and businesses with market information to enable them to meet consumers’ demands.

Seo Fumio, deputy general director of AEON Vietnam’s purchase division, said AEON’s first priority was to ensure customer safety followed by convenience.

Agricultural products and specialities, especially fresh vegetables and fruits, need to have certificates such as VietGap, Global Gap and Organic to be able to enter AEON supermarket shelves.

There are many aspects that farmers in the Mekong Delta need to improve, according to Fumio.

Firstly, they, and Vietnamese farmers in general, mostly focus on output but should shift it to improving product quality.

Farmers sell their products through many layers of middlemen, and as a result consumers do not know the origin of products.

Delegates agreed that besides ensuring consistent quality and obtaining production certificates, enterprises would need to also ensure product traceability.

They should research market trends to come up with the right products, they said.

Organised by the Business Association of Vietnamese High Quality Products and the Business Studies and Assistance Centre, the seminar was a pre-event of the 2019 Mekong Connect Forum to be held in Can Tho next month.

VNS/VNA