Clean vegetables account for little in market


HANOI – The program to grow clean vegetables has been launched for ten years but the product now accounts for only 7-8% of the total vegetables output in the market due to consumers’ confusion over what products are really clean, said the agriculture ministry.


Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu, deputy minister of agriculture, said at a seminar in Hanoi on Tuesday that after ten years, the area under clean vegetables cultivation accounts for only 1-2% of the total in the country.


Growing clean vegetables now faces many difficulties, especially in the procedure of getting certificates, building brand names, the process of monitoring, testing and distributing the products, Thu said at the seminar on Vietnam’s standards Good Agriculture Practice, or VietGAP.


“It is now hard to distinguish between clean vegetables that are certified with those that are not, and customers have lost their faith and walked away from the product although they are still willing to pay higher for the qualified one,” she said.


Nguyen Thi Kim Oanh, head of business of the Hanoi Safety Food and Vegetable Trading Floor, said due to shortcomings in management, the vegetables market in Hanoi and Vietnam in general is now very confusing.


It is almost out of control to manage the origin and quality of vegetables in the market, even with those sold in supermarkets where quality is usually better assured, said Oanh.


“The situation has caused customers to lose their faith, and when a clean vegetables producer presents their product, even with guarantee for its quality, they still don’t believe it,” she said.


“Demand for clean vegetables which meet VietGAP standards is still large, but the number of VietGAP vegetables produced and sold in the market is small, and farms that grow vegetables following the standards have not developed as being expected,” she said.


The head of the Dai Lan Cooperative in Hanoi City’s Thanh Tri District said his cooperative now has more than 20 hectares of land growing clean vegetables observing VietGAP standards but is facing many difficulties in distribution and consumption.


Dealers signed contracts to buy clean vegetables but just cooperated for 1-2 months and quitted due to low consumption as prices of vegetables produced by his cooperative are 15-20% higher than prices for normal veggies.