Authorities seek drastic solutions for consumption of agricultural products

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan, on June 11, had a meeting with leaders of Vinh Long Province, and at the same time met purple sweet potato farmers in Binh Tan District to have a long-term solution to solve the problem about consumption for agricultural products in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Authorities seek drastic solutions for consumption of agricultural products ảnh 1 Minister Le Minh Hoan visits Thanh Binh Tan Sweet Potato Company Limited in Binh Tan District of Vinh Long Province. (Photo: SGGP)
Mr. Le Minh Hoan acknowledged that recently, agricultural products had faced difficulties in consumption, especially purple sweet potatoes of Dong Thap and Vinh Long provinces.

‘We need to find the root cause and long-term solutions to restructure the sweet potato industry to prevent the risk of oversupply and congestion. We should not blame the Covid-19 pandemic because before that, other agricultural products, such as shallot and mango, also experienced the same scenario,’ he said.

‘Therefore, we need to transform the growth model in agriculture in general and local agricultural products in particular; shift from the thinking of quantity and yield to quality; take added-value as the target instead of output,’ he added.

The higher yield does not mean the higher income, but the other way around. Therefore, it must follow the rules. Regarding this issue, the localities and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development need to consider long-term solutions.
Authorities seek drastic solutions for consumption of agricultural products ảnh 2 Minister Le Minh Hoan has a field trip at the purple sweet potato material growing area in Thanh Trung Commune in Binh Tan District of Vinh Long Province. (Photo: SGGP)
The preliminary report on the production and consumption of agricultural products by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vinh Long Province shows that the price of purple sweet potatoes has gradually declined from mid-March to now and is below the production cost, causing difficulties for growers. There have been no traders coming to buy purple sweet potatoes for export as in the past.

The area of purple sweet potatoes that is ready for harvest in the winter-spring crop is about 400 hectares. Through consumption support activities, the price of purple sweet potatoes did increase compared to before. Specifically, high-quality purple sweet potatoes fetched VND200,000 per quintal, and overmature and non-selected purple sweet potatoes about VND90,000-VND100,000 per quintal. With this price level, farmers suffer losses because the average production cost is about VND300,000 per quintal.

Mr. Tran Hoang Dong, Director of Dong Phat Food Company, said that for a long time, the export of fresh purple sweet potatoes is often through unofficial cross-border trade, so it faces many difficulties, especially from the beginning of the year to now.

Authorities seek drastic solutions for consumption of agricultural products ảnh 3 Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the output of purple sweet potatoes also decreases. (Photo: SGGP)
Ms. Nguyen Thi Lan Huong, Chairman of Viet Phuc Production and Import-Export Joint Stock Company, said that Vinh Long and Dong Thap provinces are good places for growing Japanese purple sweet potatoes. Currently, purple sweet potatoes are favored in Chinese and the ASEAN markets due to their high nutritional value. However, we need a methodical and long-term strategy and planning for the growing areas and GAP production. The main problem is how to manage the quality from planting to preliminary processing and packaging of finished products for export.

Minister Le Minh Hoan said that the transformation of the growth model and the restructuring of the agricultural sector could not be simply understood as allocating, shifting the scale, and increasing and decreasing within the industry. Instead, it is a journey of transforming the model, changing thinking, innovating methods, and raising awareness.

The State only plays the role of connecting the market, providing sufficient information, and supporting processing technology through cooperatives, so that cooperatives are strong enough to be a bridge with enterprises.

By Tin Huy – Translated by Thanh Nha

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