It is not easy to grow organic food in Vietnam

By Tung Anh - Feb 03, 2018 | 07:56 AM GMT+7

TheLEADERWhile the demand for clean and safe food is increasing, the supply to the market is limited for a number of reasons.

It is not easy to grow organic food in Vietnam
Organic vegetable production is not enough to supply for the market.

As the economy grows, people's incomes are rising, and the demand for "good" and "safe" organic products has been prioritized in people’ life.

Besides the market system, a number of organic food shops with higher prices appear in many places, especially big cities. Organic products are also displayed in supermarkets.

According to experts, the food market is currently divided into three groups including non-certified conventional food, certified food which is clean and safe and superior products which are organic products.

"Organic and safe vegetables cost twice or triple as much as the price of non-certified vegetables; however, they are usually sold out at nearly 11 am every day. This shows that the consumption habits of people, especially in Hanoi, has changed. They want to use organic vegetables that have the clear origin," said Tran Ngoc Thanh, vice chairman of the Vietnam Organic Agriculture Association.

Currently, many models of production and consumption of organic products have been established throughout the country, such as the Clean Agricultural Production Systems of Vingroup, TH Group, Saigon Union of Trading Co-operatives (Saigon Co.op), Vien Phu Company, Organic Dalat Company, Ba Huan Co., Ltd.

Although the demand for organic products has been increasing, the supply to the market is still very limited.

Thanh said that although organic products are sold at the prices that are two to three times higher than ordinary foodstuffs, they are not enough to supply the market.

Similarly, general manager of SEIKA Mart Nguyen Thuy Duong also said that the distributors prefer clean products but the output of organic products is low, leading to the lack of goods to do business.

Explaining this situation, many experts said that it is not easy to produce organic products. To operate in this area, businesses must invest capital in land, seed, technology, and process monitoring.

The organic products must be grown on clean soil without chemical fertilizer, pesticides, growth stimulants and preservatives. Efforts are also much greater but lower productivity.

Meanwhile, according to experts, the majority of Vietnamese farmers now have short-term thinking, meaning that they are more likely to look at short-term resources, so developing organic products is difficult.

Moreover, it is not easy to find arable land that meets the requirements of organic farming in Vietnam. Currently, agricultural land in Vietnam has been severely poisoned by farmers using chemical fertilizers and pesticides indiscriminately in a long time.

Water and air in many places in Vietnam are severely polluted, leading to some places not meeting the standard for organic production without being re-filtered. This process takes at least three years.

In addition, the process for obtaining organic certification in Vietnam is very strict, costly and time-consuming.

Before issuing the certificate, the certification body will collect 200 samples of soil, water, and vegetables for analysis in accordance with the EU and US standards. If newly certified, this process must be repeated annually. This also partly results in organic food production being not high, not enough supplying for the market. This has partly led to the lack of organic food in the market.