The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong and the HCM City Commercial Union of Co-operatives (Saigon Co.op) signed an agreement last week that will promote cultivation and consumption of "safe fruits and vegetables."
Customers shop for safe fruit and vegetables at Metro An Phu in HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
HCM CITY — The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong and the HCM City Commercial Union of Co-operatives (Saigon Co.op) signed an agreement last week that will promote cultivation and consumption of "safe fruits and vegetables."
Lam Dong is the largest vegetable and fruit supplier to HCM City, accounting for 50 per cent of the latter's consumption.
The HCM City Department of Agriculture and Rural Development estimates that the city consumes more than 800,000 tonnes of vegetables and fruits every year. The outlying rural districts in the city supply between 250,000-285,000 tonnes and rest are mainly sourced from Lam Dong (448,000 tonnes), Tien Giang (52,000 tonnes), Long An (16,000 tonnes) and Tay Ninh (4,600 tonnes).
Dong Nai, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Bac Lieu, Vinh Long, Dong Thap and Ha Noi are some of the other provinces and cities from where HCM City gets fruit and vegetables.
Le Thanh Liem, director of the HCM City Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said signing of the agreement with Lam Dong will go a long way towards ensuring foodstuff safety and hygiene.
Under the agreement, the Lam Dong Plant Protection Department will keep a close eye on production and processing of fruits and vegetables at farms and processing facilities, and provide advice on how to use pesticides and fertilisers in a safe manner.
It will collect foodstuff samples for testing before they are transported to HCM City and stop local farmers from overusing pesticides on vegetables and fruits.
Apart from Saigon Co.op, three wholesale markets in HCM City have also signed co-operation agreements with six vegetable trading and production companies in Lam Dong.
Nguyen Thi Hanh, general director of Saigon Co.op said such linkages were necessary now because customers' demand for safe vegetables and fruits was increasing strongly.
Ho Phuoc Hai, director of the Binh Dien wholesale market said three wholesale markets in HCM City met 80 per cent of the city's vegetable and fruit demand.
The signing of similar agreements will not only ensure the foodstuff safety and hygiene as well as increase prestige of wholesale markets.
Nguyen Van Tien, head of HCM City Plant Protection Department said initially, the city and Lam Dong will choose three items that are consumed the most – carrot (72,000 tonnes per year), tomato (98,000 tonnes per year) and cabbage (93,000 tonnes per year). These will be inspected from cultivation to transportation for consumption. — VNS