Domestic support for agri-exports
A backup of agricultural products to be exported to China began to be cleared at the Lao Cai border gate from January 12, but hundreds of thousands of tonnes of fresh fruit are also being picked up by domestic retailers and processing businesses in order to support consumption domestically.
According to Tran Kim Nga, foreign relations director of MM Mega Market, the company is deploying a programme to consume dragon fruit from the Mekong Delta provinces at 21 of its centres nationwide at non-profit selling price for the upcoming holidays.
“Dragon fruit will have a dedicated area for display where the most customer traffic is expected, and we are also implementing action in which they will be sold on trucks at the premises of Mega Market in order to easily reach customers,” Nga said.
In addition to supporting consumption at direct selling points, MM Mega Market’s own e-commerce channels such as MM Click & Get will offer the above items, with an expected initial output of at least 100 tonnes.
Meanwhile, BRG Retail general director Nguyen Thai Dung said that the unit will deploy non-profit sales for Vietnamese agricultural products that are difficult to export, such as fruit and seafood, through its BRG Mart supermarket system in seven provinces and cities.
With the available technology infrastructure, BRG Retail is also promoting the sale of agricultural products on its online shopping application system and has prepared a cold storage system to store seafood and fruit.
“The demand is increasing domestically so we want to cooperate with farmers and businesses. With the quality and appearance of products that meet export standards and the non-profit selling price of BRG Retail, consumers will certainly accept it,” Dung said.
On the first morning after border gates at Ha Khau (China) and Kim Thanh (Lao Cai) restarted customs clearance, around 50 containers of dragon fruit, mango, and jack fruit were successfully exported, but other border gates to China have not yet received information about allowing normal customs clearance.
Recently, the Ministry of Industry and Trade suggested that businesses strengthen the implementation of activities to connect supply and consumption, as well as promote purchasing and domestic consumption of fruit products in the harvest season.
Responding to the call, supermarkets such as Big C, GO!, BRG, Hapro, and Co.opmart are promoting the consumption of some fruits to relieve pressure on farmers. It is expected that these supermarket systems will buy about 30 tonnes of jackfruit and dragon fruit per week.
A representative of Central Retail Group in Vietnam, which runs Big C and GO! stores, said that the business has organised to buy dragon fruit directly from farmers and cooperatives to sell at supermarkets in the south. Central Retail’s system also processes food and drinks from dragon fruit such as bread, jelly, smoothies, and juice.
“Central Retail can also support Vietnamese-standard agricultural products to foreign retail systems, not only in Thailand but also in Western markets such as France, Germany, and the United States,” the representative said.
Along with retail businesses, agricultural processors and e-commerce platforms are also getting involved. Tiki currently has five warehouses in Ho Chi Minh City and two in Hanoi, but will soon add three more in the house and one in the capital for localities and businesses with agricultural products that have been clogged up in the system.
Dong Giao Food Export JSC (Doveco) meanwhile noted that it is buying about 100-150 tonnes of agricultural products of all kinds every day, especially mango products. Doveco is also purchasing more bananas, dragon fruit, and pineapples to serve the processing line, as long as the items’ quality is assured.
Experts said that besides being too dependent on one market, the mistake of businesses and farmers today is to focus only on exports and forget about the domestic market.
“The potential of the domestic market is huge. We need to actively change our mindset. The government also has a policy of multi-market, multi-benefit,” said Tran Thanh Nam, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Nam noted that state agencies are ready to help businesses remove obstacles, and issues that exceed their powers will be reported by the ministry to the government for a reasonable solution. The ministry will also coordinate with Chinese authorities to continue speeding up the process of customs clearance.
Exporting enterprises are also being encouraged to invest in technology or cooperate with processing enterprises to find a more sustainable direction for exported agricultural products.
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