Links in value chains of farm produce need strengthening

08:35 | 13/06/2018 Society

(VEN) - Farm produce value chains enable farmers to access markets on a sustainable basis. However, only half of those chains are operating effectively. Vietnam Economic News’ Thanh Ha spoke with Dao The Anh, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS), a member of the Vietnam Agricultural Alliance, about this issue on the sidelines of the 2018 Spring Agriculture Forum.

links in value chains of farm produce need strengthening
Dao The Anh, Deputy Director of the VAAS, a member of the Vietnam Agricultural Alliance

Could you tell us about the development of produce value chains in Vietnam?

There are about 700 safe produce value chains in Vietnam, only half of which are operating efficiently. Problems are found in almost all stages of the value chains, including pre-production, production, post-harvest and export processing. Pre-production problems include high input costs, abuse of fertilizers and pesticides, and excessive use of water. Meanwhile, the production scale is quite small and connections between producers are lacking. Substandard technical processes, excessive use of labor, and unstable quality still exist.

The postharvest loss rates are 32, 14 and 12 percent for vegetables/fruits, meat and seafood, respectively, relatively high loss rates compared to other countries in Southeast Asia. Other problems include lack of standard warehouses, poor transport and packaging services, and involvement of too many intermediaries.

Processing weaknesses include poor technology, low added value, and small-scale and scattered operations. Intensive processing and byproduct processing need to be developed.

The quality and price of exports remain low, and many export products remains unknown to consumers, while quality and food safety control and market information need to be improved.

What are the difficulties in developing farm produce value chains?

Finding leading businesses willing to work with farmers, especially poor farmers and small-scale producers in remote areas is a major difficulty. Another difficulty is farmers’ limited awareness of production organization and planning and cooperation with partners and businesses.

The state has policies on promoting value chain-oriented farm produce, but many of these policies remain problematic and need to be made more practical. Some current regulations and policies are being revised in accordance with actual development demands.

How can Vietnam ensure sustainable development of farm produce value chains?

To develop farm produce value chains, it is necessary to reform associations, to strengthen the governance and competitiveness of these chains, continue to enhance the linkage between enterprises and cooperatives, promote public-private partnerships, develop infrastructure and logistics chains, and build standards, trademarks and food safety and quality certification systems. The state should also provide preferential credit for businesses so they can purchase farm products at stable prices.

The fourth industrial revolution is expected to promote intensive development of production and energy and material efficiency, reduce negative impacts on the environment, and improve product and service quality and production capacity. In this context, satisfying consumer demands for transparent information about product quality, origin and brand is an urgent need.

Thanh Ha