Innovation in agriculture against COVID-19
by Thanh Thao

The pandemic has forced Vietnam’s agricultural sector to upgrade. Cooperatives have adopted new strategies to guarantee a stable income for farmers even during the fourth wave.

Ho Chi Minh (AsiaNews) – In Vietnam the fourth wave of COVID-19 has affected the agricultural sector and the production of tropical fruits, but at the same time, it has stimulated innovation.

Traditionally, agricultural products are consumed on a seasonal basis because of limited refrigeration capacity. Nevertheless, to avoid waste caused the coronavirus, farmers have adopted new strategies to sell their products locally and internationally.

In An Nhơn, a town in Đồng Tháp province, agricultural cooperatives have obtained more than a thousand hectares of land to cultivate longan (a typical tropical fruit) for export.

The Islands of Bạch Viên and An Hòa export almost 32,000 tonnes of fruit per year, but “even with the epidemic, the longan was sold at a high price”, explained Lê Văn Hùng, director of an agricultural cooperative in An Hòa, “because we met all production standards and obtained several certifications.”

Cao Lãnh district has dedicated 40 per cent of its territory to mango and other products, part of a pilot project for the reorganisation of local agricultural production.

Võ Vièt Hùng, director of the Mè Xèèng Mango cooperative, told AsiaNews how they started selling mango online.

“In order to sell goods online, the cooperative set up its website to bring information about mango trees to customers.”

It is “thanks to the transparency in production and the quality of mangoes that we have managed to guarantee a stable income for farmers” even during the pandemic.

In Long An province however, climate change had negatively impacted pitaya (dragon fruit) production even before COVID-19. Many cooperatives have been forced to sell the products at reduced prices due to oversupply.

Some farmers in Châu Thành district did manage to sell at normal prices thanks to high production standards. The use of pesticides and fertilisers is controlled and cooperatives keep a register to trace products’ place of origin.

In the province residents want the government to do more to connect locals with each other and create a stable and sustainable production chain.