Plans developed to ensure food supply for HCMC, Binh Duong during lockdown

The Working Group 970 of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), on August 23, sent a report to Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh on the supply of food and foodstuffs for Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong during social distancing.

By August 20, a total of 1,218 suppliers of agricultural products and foodstuffs had registered with the Working Group 970, including 334 vegetable suppliers, 316 fruit suppliers, 438 aquatic product suppliers, 75 food suppliers, and 55 suppliers of other items.

Currently, the total demand for rice in three provinces and cities is 92,540 tons per month. HCMC needs 59,400 tons of rice per month, Dong Nai Province 16,740 tons per month, and Binh Duong Province 16,200 tons per month. Besides meeting the food needs of the Southeast region, the Mekong Delta still has about 3 million tons of rice left to meet the requirements of food safety and export.

HCMC needs 126,000 tons of vegetables per month, Dong Nai Province 23,250 tons per month, and Binh Duong Province 20,100 tons per month. Meanwhile, the Mekong Delta still has nearly 1,500 tons of vegetables of all kinds that need to be consumed domestically and exported. The supply of livestock products remained diverse and unchanged. HCMC needs 48,000 tons per month, Dong Nai Province 11,100 tons per month, and Binh Duong Province 8,800 tons per month. Total egg production of the Southern region is about 19.6 million eggs per day, with 588 million in August and 590 million in September. Thus, currently, pork supply to HCMC has dropped by about 37 percent, and chicken meat supply has declined by about 28 percent compared to before social distancing.

Currently, the Working Group 970 is piloting a combo package of 10 kilograms of agricultural products, which attract the participation of many provinces and cities to help farmers consume agricultural products congested in provinces and help consumers in quarantine areas and boarding houses to have access to low-cost fresh agricultural products at an average of VND10,000 per kg. This program creates a circular economy to take advantage of social capital to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic in the long run. The sustainability of this model is higher than zero-dong supermarkets or charity gifts because there is no need to find long-term sponsors. Provinces are capable of supplying HCMC 80,000 packages per week or 800 tons of agricultural products per week. If there is transportation support, the supply capacity of 1,200 suppliers in the form of the 10-kg-per-bag combo is likely to increase to 120,000-150,000 bags per week or 1,200-1,500 tons per week.

Although the People's Committee of HCMC has committed to ensuring the supply of foodstuffs for citizens, the Working Group of the MARD, in collaboration with the General Department of Logistics of the Ministry of Defense, still developed a plan B for ensuring the supply of food and essential food for HCMC and Binh Duong Province with the direction of the Government and the Head of the Government's Special Working Group. It is necessary to ensure the supply of essential food items, such as rice, pork, chicken, eggs, vegetables, and fruits, to city dwellers in 15 days of strict social distancing.

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