Overcoming technical barriers
Lychees grown in the northern province of Hai Duong officially went on sale on one of Vietnam’s leading online marketplaces, Lazada, on May 14. More than 3 tonnes have been sold since.
The fruit then became available on Sendo 10 days later, which sold 6 tonnes on the first day at VND18,000 (US$0.78) per kilo. The volume is projected to double within a few more days.
Lychees grown in Bac Giang province, dubbed Vietnam’s “lychee kingdom”, are to be sold on e-commerce platforms at home and abroad this month, including Alibaba and Amazon. The province also bolsters online purchases on websites such as dacsanlucngan.vn and vaithieubacgiang.vn.
Sales of lychees and other farm produce on online marketplaces require efforts from various stakeholders. A programme was piloted last year and is now proceeding in the face of COVID-19, said Hoang Minh Chien, Vice Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE) at the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
He noted that online sales face difficulties in supply, as it takes many steps for products to reach consumers and strict preservation methods are needed.
Quality commitments to customers are also a matter of concern because Vietnamese prefer to buy agro products in-person to directly examine the quality. When choosing products online, they need appraisals from relevant agencies and commitments from stakeholders in the supply chain.
The greatest barrier is the lack of knowledge among farmers about online sales, Chien pointed out, adding that many growers find it difficult to offer their products and attract customers on the channel.
Local authorities must devise incentives for farmers to apply digital technology in farm produce cultivation and consumption, he underlined.
Other agro products to hit e-commerce sites
Following lychees, other fruit in season will be sold on e-commerce platforms, in particular mangoes and plums from Son La, longans from Hung Yen, and dragon fruits from Binh Thuan.
Farmers are advised to diversify and thoroughly study demand in markets, build their brands, and pay due regard to packaging.
Vietnamese agro products will hold more advantages in the global market if digitalisation and advanced technology are applied efficiently, Chien said.
In March, VIETRADE joined hands with certain online marketplaces to sell agro products from Hai Duong after social distancing measures were imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.