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17/04/2020 - 17:50

Overcome the pandemic with production integration

The COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting the production and consumption of agricultural and aquatic products. Relevant authorities are adopting the immediate and long-term solutions in order to assist farmers in dealing with unsold stocks and heading towards sustainable manufacturing.

Mr. Ho Dang Khoa, Head of the Provincial Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Sub-department

Thua Thien Hue Weekly has an interview with Mr. Ho Dang Khoa, Head of the Provincial Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Sub-department (NAFIQAD, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development).

Could you give information about the present consumption situation and reasons for the stagnation of agricultural and aquatic products in the province?

Due to the overall fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the provincial area, agricultural and aquatic products in stock are mostly 245 tons of whiteleg shrimps, 44,000 red tilapias and 80,000 poultry in the districts of Phong Dien, Quang Dien, Phu Vang and Phu Loc.

Regarding whiteleg shrimps, sales of the crop yield in late 2019 remain stagnant as a consequence of low demands from the Northern market, low prices (VND 150,000 for 50 counts per kilo) and overdependence on traders. Shrimp farmers have the tendency to postpone the sale until high prices. Currently, there still exists over 14 ha with the output of 254 tons of shrimps being unsold, concentrated in the areas of Phong Hai, Dien Hoa and Dien Huong.

At present, on-sand shrimps are consumed in smaller quantity and at a lower price when compared with previous years. Specifically, the shrimp prices range from VND 150,000 for 40 counts per kilo, VND 135,000 for 50 counts per kilo to VND 118,000 for 60 counts per kilo.

With regard to red tilapias, apart from being consumed within and outside the province, the majority is mainly exported to Laos in the form of border trade. However, Lao government has raised the quality standards for aquatic imports, requiring the products to be traceable.

Since 2019, poultry prices have remained stable because of the impacts of African hog cholera. As there are fewer diseases in the province, many pig farming households have invested and converted into poultry farming, comprising chickens and ducks, which makes the quantity of poultry soaring. The total poultry population presently consists of 3.2 million chickens and 800,000 ducks.

On the other hand, the market price for pork is gradually stabilizing at VND 70,000 per kilo, which is equivalent to the price prior to the African hog cholera. Correspondingly, consumer demands for pork increase whereas the demands for poultry decrease, causing poultry to pile up in inventory.

As regards the consumption of agricultural and aquatic products, the concept of integrated production chain is usually brought up. What are the integrated chains that have been established in the province and how effectively are they operating?

Establishing integrated production chains will benefit manufacturers, businesses and consumers. In order to build a chain, every link, from the original manufacturers to points of sale, must be subject to certificate verification and continuous supervision for every stage, making it traceable to each stage. A gap in the chain will result in its failure to be authenticated.

Since 2017, the Provincial Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Sub-department has provided increasing assistance in building and connecting supply chains of safe farm produce, which contributes to the efficiency enhancement of production and builds consumers’ trust in high-quality agricultural products for domestic use and export.

Could you please clarify?

The Sub-department has supported, verified, supervised and certified 17 items at 6 points of sale for 11 integrated chains in the province as safe products in the chain, including aromatic rice (BT7), glutinous rice (DT39-QL), jasmine rice (J02-QL), Japonica rice, HV1 rice, pork, ham, water spinach, broccoli, cucumber, green grapefruit, chicken, banana and chicken egg.

Besides, the use of QR code is piloted in the sale of 14 agricultural products, including rice, vegetables and meat, that are traceable back to any stage, from the original production one to the sale one, 6 of which are from Que Lam Agricultural Organic Products One Member Company and the remaining 8 products are from Limited Hue Viet Organic One Member Company Limited.

In general, these chains have linked manufacturers, enterprises, distributors and consumers together since being established. The products in the chain, whose consumption is stable, are high-quality and subject to regular food safety verification from appropriate authorities.

A typical example is the A Luoi “Dwarf Cavendish banana” sold to Big C supermarket operations in Central Region and Central Highlands with sales volume of 16 tons per month. Another instance is the consumption of roasted and alive chickens of the farming household of Vu Van Tu, residing in Thuy Phuong ward, Huong Thuy town, which registers 3,500 chickens per month.

What are the solutions and recommendations that the Sub-department offers to farmers?

Cooperating with other specialized Sub-departments on a regular basis, we support them in supervising, certifying the safe products in the chain, authenticating certified products at sales of point and enhancing the construction of production regions of safe meat and vegetables. Agents in the chain are encouraged to participate in E-commerce exchange via several channels, such as Zalo, cooperative economics, etc., for the purpose of quickly promoting the products to consumers and adding links to the chain.

The Sub-department also cooperates in the education and training practices to improve local officials’ qualifications and propagates the quality management procedures for agricultural and aquatic products in many shapes and forms, including radio, television, fliers, slogans, and so on. Dynamic subjects, such as enterprises, cooperative economics, businesses and distributors, are encouraged to actively connect and support other agents in integrating into supply chains of safe agricultural and aquatic products and expanding points of sale for farm produce in the chain.

Does that mean clean production linked with integrated chains will be the long-term model towards which the agriculture is heading?

That’s right! Agricultural production regions that apply the VietGAP and organic farming standards will continue to be formed. Enterprises, large-scale manufacturers and processors will receive support in building and operating with adherence to the standards of HACCP, ISO, and so on.

Connecting with purchasing enterprises has laid the foundation for implementing safe food production following the value chain model in the provincial area. The manufacturers of agricultural and aquatic products that have been granted the food safety certificate are recommended to participate in safe farm produce fairs in order to promote agricultural products of Thua Thien Hue province.

Thank you very much!

By HA NGUYEN

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