The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted localities nationwide, while many agricultural products are in the harvest season such as lychee, longan and dragon fruit, putting pressure on the circulation of farm produce.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is developing a standard agricultural products consumption system for the sector. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan spoke to local media about this issue.
What plans does the ministry have to ensure domestic consumption of farming products and promote exports amid the COVID-19 pandemic?
Whether there is the COVID-19 pandemic or not, the domestic agricultural market still has an oversupply of farming products in the harvest season.
In June, the MARD will work with the Viet Nam Women’s Union Central Committee and the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union to build regular consumption models for the agricultural products of farmers in pandemic-hit areas to meet the demand for consuming farm produce. Such solutions will help farmers sell their products to ensure both the quality of products and pandemic prevention. The co-operation will form a consumption system from the central level to localities.
In addition, the ministry will work with the Vietnam Retailers Association to develop programmes to connect supply and demand.
There is a lack of connection between production and consumption in the domestic market, creating redundancy in some places. For example, Vinh Chau purple onions cost from VND5,000-6,000 per kilo in Soc Trang Province which grows this farming product, while that price surges to VND45,000 per kilo in Dak Lak Province due to low supply.
Therefore, the ministry will work with agencies to select a few areas in Ha Noi, HCM City and some other localities to launch standardised consumption models for agricultural products during the pandemic.
Based on those models, the ministry will develop a distribution system to support the consumption of agricultural products and protect the farmers from the pandemic.
Along with that, the ministry also proposes the Government support businesses and individuals transporting agricultural products because if the transport of agricultural products is slow, they will be damaged.
In the long term, we need to establish a two-way information channel. Of which, 15-20 days before harvesting a kind of farm produce, the departments of agriculture and rural development in localities must inform the ministry of the time of starting to harvest this product. Then, the ministry will work with distribution systems to have suitable plans for consumption. This will avoid the situation when after harvesting, the farmers face difficulties in selling their products due to oversupply. This is not sustainable development of agriculture.
In the context of the pandemic, many localities have built scenarios for consuming agricultural products. For example, there is a scenario that 90 per cent of the lychee output will be consumed on the domestic market. Are these scenarios possible?
Nobody knows how the pandemic will develop next week and beyond. The work that needs to be done now is to open the market.
This week, some deputy ministers of agriculture and rural development will go to the northern border gates to work with the commercial agencies of China.
The ministry also holds meetings with distribution systems to have solutions on consuming lychees to reduce risks.
Now, Bac Giang Province is just at the beginning of the harvest season, so it needs to estimate lychee output and export volume shipped to China and other markets. The ministry will work with distributors to consume lychees in the domestic market.
The current urgent situation requires the ministry to have a long-term and sustainable consumption solution, but not waiting for oversupply and implementing consumption solutions.
What solutions will the ministry use to promote the consumption of agricultural products?
Departments of agriculture and rural development in localities must identify their responsibility not only to help farmers produce agricultural products but also to consume those commodities. That is a change from agricultural production thinking to agricultural economic thinking.
There must be a connection between production and the market to promote efficiency in the consumption of agricultural products.
The ministry also has many solutions from promoting digital transformation to connecting market information between co-operatives and distributors.
The ministry will develop a regularly updated database for the distribution system with information about farm produce to be harvested in provinces and their output. Then, the distribution systems will prepare plans for warehouses, transportation and consumption of the products.
In addition, it will develop a method of transportation from the farms to the distribution system based on the post office system. This will limit the risk of COVID-19 infection and have faster consumption. VNS