Production of clean farm products - sustainability of agriculture

Production of clean farm products aims for the country’s sustainability of agriculture.
Production of clean farm products - sustainability of agriculture ảnh 1 Production of clean farm products aims for the country’s sustainability of agriculture
From the beginning of 2022 until now, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, nine agricultural products with the export turnover of over US$1 billion include coffee, rubber, cashew, vegetables, rice, pangasius, and shrimp.
The agricultural sector, in general, had an export turnover of nearly $28 billion, up 13.9 percent over the same period. Vietnamese agricultural products are displayed in 180 markets around the world, including many fastidious markets such as the US, Japan, and Europe.
Nevertheless, from the beginning of the year until now, responsible agencies have also discovered many fruit and vegetable crops with residues of pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
According to the food watchdog agency which has recently taken samples from agricultural wholesale markets in Ho Chi Minh City, up to 50 percent of food and vegetable samples had chemical residues and 40 percent of seafood samples were found to have heavy metals.
Many provinces and cities across the country have been applying cleaner production and aquaculture, not only according to Vietnam's standards but also meeting many world standards.
Farmer Ba Dan in Ly Cong Dan Street in Vien An Dong commune in the Mekong Delta Province of Ca Mau’s Ngoc Hien District said that after selling shrimp in previous years, he didn't care about the quantity of shrimp but cash. However, since participating in the model of shrimp farming according to international standards, he said that he ought to keep the voucher carefully and see how much he has got. He explained if he achieved the required quantity and quality, the purchasing enterprise will pay him an additional sum.
In recent years, seafood processing and export enterprises in the Mekong Delta Province of Ca Mau have coordinated with the Forest Protection Management Board, local authorities, and people to set up projects on the value chain of shrimp farming - coastal forests.
Currently, Ca Mau has about 27,577ha of shrimp and forest farms. In particular, the area of ecological shrimp farms that has been certified by international organizations is more than 19,000 hectares of shrimp - forest according to international standards such as Naturland, EU Organic, Canada Organic, Selva Shrimp, ASC, and BAP. Shrimp cultured by this method is favored and appreciated by many markets, so processing and export enterprises often offer prices that are 5 percent-10 percent higher than that raised by other traditional ways.
Moreover, businesses will support farmers to pay for forest environmental services and support high-quality seeds in the certified shrimp-forest area. Farmers in these special areas not only breed black tiger shrimp but they can earn additional income from farming crabs, fish, and blood cockles as well. It is estimated that each household can earn a profit of VND80 million per ha.
According to Ca Mau Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, shrimp farmers have a stable income is because they don’t need to spend much on food as they use natural food sources. In addition, businesses also help shrimp farmers to pay for forest services and benefit from forest exploitation, so farmers can earn more.
Mr. Phan Hoang Vu, Director of Ca Mau Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that shrimp intercropping in mangroves is a good mechanism, ensuring the harmonious benefits between economic development and forest protection. This is considered the most effective solution to help restore, protect and develop forests in coastal provinces across the country.
Mr. Dao Van Minh, deputy leader of Phu Thanh Grapefruit Production Cooperation Group in Quoi Son Commune in Ben Tre Province, said that for years, pomelo trees have been considered key fruit for export which has helped local farmers get out of poverty and become well off.
Local farmers strictly follow the recommendations of the agricultural sector while using fertilizers and pesticides. On average, farmers fertilize the pomelo orchard 12 times a year, including six times organic fertilizer and six times chemical fertilizer.
According to Mr. Minh, farmers are now more advanced and knowledgeable in agricultural production, so even in normal production or applying VietGAP, they do not overuse pesticides. Many of them have understood that if they abuse pesticides or chemicals, they are the first to be affected, so they are very careful when using these chemicals.
Elsewhere in the Mekong Delta Province of Dong Thap, Director of Binh Thanh Agricultural Service Cooperative Nguyen Van Doi said on average, farmers spray pesticides to prevent and kill pests, weeds, snailsfrom 8-10 times, and fertilize 4-5 times a crop. However, Mr. Doi affirmed that the spraying must be stopped in  the last phase before the rice harvest 20 days, to ensure that the residue of the drug does not remain in the rice grain. With this method, rice grains always meet VietGAP standards.
Being the main supplier of vegetables and flowers to Ho Chi Minh City, Lam Dong Province authorities have directed farmers to gradually reduce the amount of pesticides and chemicals in agricultural production as well as promote organic agricultural production, high-tech agriculture, smart agriculture, said Mr. Nguyen Van Chau, Deputy Director of Lam Dong Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
According to Mr. Chau, the provincial agricultural sector is focusing on guiding farming methods using pest-resistant varieties, healthy and disease-free seedlings, field sanitation, balanced fertilization, and the use of baits to attract insects, and natural enemies.
At the same time, the province is implementing programs and projects to support enterprises, cooperatives, and farmer households to produce and certify production according to safety standards such as VietGAP, GAP
In addition, the local agency has updated farmers and agricultural cooperatives on the monitoring and control of chemical residues in agricultural products through the collection of samples for qualitative analysis and quantification of chemical residues on agricultural products including fresh fruits and vegetables, strawberries and berries. Thanks to the timely update, cooperatives, enterprises, and farmers don’t use banned chemicals but biological drugs, herbs and drugs of low toxicity, on the list of drugs permitted for use in Vietnam.
Lam Dong Province also promotes the construction and development of a safe food supply chain for agro-forestry-fishery. According to Lam Dong Plant Protection and Cultivation Sub-Department, all products produced in the chain basically meet food safety standards. Currently, Lam Dong province has 190 chain links with 18,631 participating households.

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