At a recent seminar in Nghe An Province, the speakers noted that the agriculture segment of the economy has strived to improve seed, build better irrigation works, and apply VietGAP standards, but nevertheless little progress has been made in resolving fundamental food safety concerns.
Compounding the problem, they said, over 90% of agriculture products are unprocessed commodities that have little added value—which in turn lessens profitability and sustainability.
In addition, numerous problems have been noted in the post-harvest handling and preservation of produce that results in excessive spoilage and particularly low quality of product by the time fruits and vegetables hit the retail markets.
Amid the significant consumer doubts regarding food safety, agriculture produce in Vietnam cannot command a higher retail sales price because consumers would rather opt to purchase foreign produce, which they perceive as safer.
In particular, they noted that JICA and Nghe An Province have joined hands to strengthen the value added production chain for all agriculture products such as livestock, produce, aquatic products, etc. using a hi-tech agricultural model.