Saigoneer

BackEat & Drink » How Farming Technology Could Improve the Quality of Vietnamese Produce

How Farming Technology Could Improve the Quality of Vietnamese Produce

As farmers struggle to keep up with demand for fresh produce in Vietnam, safe and effective farming technologies may be the answer.

Since becoming a lower middle-income nation, demand for higher-quality goods has grown among Vietnamese consumers, reports Forbes. According to the news outlet, Vietnam was home to just 47 supermarkets in 2005; today, there are 975 nationwide.

With such a dramatic increase in volume, however, farmers are struggling to keep up, and a host of food scandals involving everything from coffee to rice and cooked meals have left shoppers suspicious of local produce. According to Dr. Dao The Anh, director of Hanoi’s Center for Agricultural Research and Development, these consumer concerns are forcing a change in local food production and supply chains.

“In the past there was a very short value chain, but now it’s longer and consumers are requiring more and more labeling on vegetables. In the wet market, you can buy produce for a cheaper price but now with the rising income level in cities, consumers shop more at the supermarket. As a result, you need proper labeling on products — but up until now, there’s still a lack of information in regards to the origin of the products so sometimes consumers don’t trust it,” he told Forbes.

While local farmers may be slow to adjust, larger corporations are beginning to recognize the shift in consumer demand: Vingroup’s VinEco recently put US$44 million into the hygienic production of fresh vegetables for its Vinmart outlets.

Vinamilk imported 220 certified organic milk cows over the summer and now offers organic products to consumers. Even Saigon’s municipal government has launched a five-year plan to elevate the quality of local food production.

But even with these initiatives under way, farmers are in a bind, as the supply of products like organic fertilizer is limited. Though local food producers are able to make their own, this process takes up to three months, slowing their overall output. This is where Dr. Anh’s efforts come in.

"We are working with Japanese and Korean companies to import microbiological technology which will reduce the time from [two to three] months to just one day. This is really important because farmers in Vietnam have small spaces, so if they produce at low productivity, their income is really low and they won’t be able to stay in the agriculture sector,” he told the news outlet.

Moving forward, Dr. Anh hopes to encourage more farmers to implement these changes in food production. As he points out, the benefits go both ways: by increasing the quality of food production and packaging, consumers gain safer products and peace of mind, while farmers are able to sell their produce at a higher price.

Dr. Anh is optimistic the trend will catch on: “If a farmer sees that his neighbor is incorporating traceability and good packaging into his products, then he’ll also decide to do the same thing and it becomes like a social movement.”

[Photo via Tanimura & Antle]


Related Articles:

Vingroup Now Sells Greenhouse-Grown Vegetables

Saigon Has Failed at Food Safety Management: Official

Saigon Launches 5-Year Safe Produce Plan


Related Articles

in Eat & Drink

Da Nang's Taiwanese Taco Shop Is out of This World

It's fair to be skeptical of Mexican food in a country like Vietnam. Despite the best efforts of chefs across the country, tacos in Southeast Asia can often wind up being oceans away – both literally ...

in Eat & Drink

Funky History: The Romans Made Fish Sauce, Too

Nước mắm holds a hallowed place in Vietnamese cuisine. In all its forms, it is a staple, found in kitchens and on tables throughout the country. But while fish sauce is often considered Vietnam’s – an...

in Eat & Drink

Hanoi Launches Mobile Testing Labs to Promote Food Safety

Hanoi recently launched three mobile food testing labs in an effort to reassure consumers and promote food safety.

in Eat & Drink

Hanoi's Communist Cafe Chain Comes to Saigon

Set foot inside the newly opened southern branch of Cong Caphe and you'll instantly feel like a giant. The endless array of tchotchke lining its concrete walls and wooden shelves – transistor radios, ...

in Eat & Drink

Ice Cream Wars: Japan's Frozen Treat Makers Take on European Firms in Southeast Asia Market

Southeast Asia’s dessert market is getting some healthy competition as Japanese companies join the fray, hoping to take a piece of the pie from their European counterparts.

in Eat & Drink

International Pop-Up Restaurant to Open This Week in Saigon

When James Sharman starts talking about the last three weeks, he gets a little wide-eyed. His hands animate each story, hovering above the table. Between sips of coffee, he launches into tales of squi...

Video »

BUDX HCMC