During an online conference held by the ministry in Hanoi earlier this week, high-ranking officials, local leaders and businesses across the country discussed current challenges and limitations faced by agricultural producers in recent months, especially in light of the many recent lockdowns that have gone into effect to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Some 1,300 supply points and 58 depots have been built to distribute over one trillion tonnes of agricultural products per day during the most recent lockdown imposed in Ho Chi Minh City, the country's largest economic hub and home to more than 9 million people, according to a ministry report.
During the lockdown, the ministry established numerous websites and hotlines to connect and support sales of agricultural products. The ministry has introduced combo sales such as the 10-kg combo of products for VND100,000 (US$4.4), which has quickly become a best-seller in the southern city. Similar combo sales have also been rolled out in other provinces under lockdown in the Mekong Delta including the provinces of Binh Duong and Tien Giang.
In the future, the programme will help connect suppliers, producers, retailers and consumers. It will also provide producers with management training, digitalisation guideline and geo-tagging support and serve as a platform for local leaders to work with agricultural experts and policy-makers.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan said the programme was designed to assist producers find the right markets, both domestically and internationally.
"It's the market that gets to decide what will be produced," Hoan said.
"Hopefully, the programme will help producers learn how to read the market demand and to produce the right products.
"Meeting market demand is the first step. The next step is to scale up production and minimise cost. Once we have high-valued products, it will be that much easier to find consumers."
The programme will also start collecting information on speciality products of localities across the country to build a database, which will support central and local government agencies in planning and in providing warnings and guidance on agricultural production in a timely manner.