Experts urge the overhaul of Vietnam agro logistics

HANOI: Experts have called for Vietnam to establish a special logistics and transportation system for its agricultural sector, one tailored to accommodate different types of agricultural products.

This will preserve the quality of produce destined for international markets while facilitating the development of domestic agriculture that includes production, processing and consumption.

Nguyen Thanh Binh, the chairman of the Vietnam Fruit Association, said the fruit and vegetable sector is grappling with many challenges related to exporting, particularly to distant markets.

The infrastructure designed to facilitate this sector is lacking, contributing to large post-harvest losses, estimated at 30% to 35%, said Binh.

In addition, antiquated preservation technology causes a loss of quality of fruits and vegetables, which hinders their competitiveness in international markets, he added.

While Vietnam’s fruits and vegetables have gained favor with consumers around the world, logistical and preservation challenges remain significant obstacles, for both producers and exporters.

Fruit and vegetable exporters are finding it difficult to deliver certain types of produce to markets such as Europe and the United States.

Despite their popularity in these regions, the inability to ensure efficient logistics has prevented businesses from exporting some types of fruit, Binh said.

Nguyen Dinh Tung, chairman of the board of directors at Vina T&T Group, said that in order to export dragon fruit to the American market, exporters must guarantee a shelf life of 35 days.

However, he pointed out that the highest quality dragon fruit, post-irradiation, lasts only 27 days.

Similarly, the highest quality star apple fruit, following illumination, only reaches 10 days.

This requires the use of air transport for the export of star apples to the United States.

“And transportation costs are proving too much for continued exports,” he added.

Pham Van Trong, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, said that the province has successfully exported its fruit harvest to many international markets.

However, he lamented the fact that if the high cost of transportation is combined with the lack of preservation technology and standardized warehouses, it represents a significant missed opportunity.

The resulting high post-harvest losses, attributed to subpar storage conditions, have led to huge revenue losses, he said.

He added that the synchronization of technology applications within logistics also plays an important role in the preservation of agricultural products after harvest, in accordance with market requirements.

In Vietnam, the high cost of shipping agricultural products is mostly due to these products being purchased by many purchasing units directly from producers.

The sheer number of purchasing units and the various stages involved, increase the costs of shipping agricultural products.

According to data from the Vietnam Logistics Business Association, logistics costs for agricultural products in Vietnam are 6% higher than Thailand, 12% higher than Malaysia and triple that of Singapore.

A 2022 report from global logistics group, Agility, revealed that logistics costs in Vietnam are about 20% of gross domestic product, double the rate in developed countries.

Nguyen Tu Uyen, director of CMU Logistics Transportation Services Co Ltd, said that agricultural products from the Mekong Delta must move through different means of transportation.

They range from three-wheeled vehicles to trucks and boats to reach a central location, due to the narrow and small rural roads scattered throughout the delta.

Quality tends to decrease while selling prices of agricultural products tend to increase due to the multiple stages of transportation involved, Uyen said.

Many agricultural products have been assigned a planting area code by significant markets such as China and the United States, or have been certified with a production process equivalent to the standards of these countries.

However, inadequate logistics still pose challenges to the export of these goods, he pointed out.

Taking Bac Giang lychees as an example, Uyen said that these fruits must travel from Bac Giang to Hanoi and then to Ho Chi Minh City, before reaching the lighting and export facilities. of packings.

This extensive travel inadvertently reduces the quality of the lychees and shortens their shelf life, he said. — Viet Nam News/ANN

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