Authorities discuss measures to develop pepper sector sustainably (Source: VNA)

Dak Nong (VNA) – Measures to develop the pepper sector sustainably were discussed at a forum jointly held by the National Agricultural Extension Centre (NAEC) and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Dak Nong on June 7.

Speaking at the event, NAEC Acting Director Tran Van Khoi said that pepper is a key export staple of Vietnam. Last year, the country shipped abroad 177,000 tonnes of pepper, earning 1.42 billion USD. Vietnam’s pepper products have been exported to 95 nations and territories, accounting for 40 percent of the world’s market share.

However, Khoi noted, the sector is facing three major matters that need to be handled: a rapid increase in pepper growing areas, unsustainable cultivation with weaknesses in terms of technology and varieties, and food safety and hygiene.

According to Vice Chairman of the provincial Dak Nong People’s Committee Truong Thanh Tung, the rapid increase of pepper planting areas is resulting in negative impacts which farmers have to suffer, including diseases and a decline in pepper price.

The price of pepper currently stands at around 75,000 VND per kg, equal to only 40 percent of the figure in the same period last year.

Therefore, pepper farmers are easily facing bankruptcy or debts as they have to invest from 350-500 million VND (15,400-22,025 USD) in one hectare.

Therefore, Tung proposed ministries and centrally-run agencies closely control pepper cultivation to produce clean products with stable quality, and enhance connection between major pepper production provinces in terms of planning, production, processing to consumption.

Dr. Nguyen Nhu Hien from the Cultivation Department stressed the need for provinces to boost trade promotion, especially in major and choosy markets such as the US, EU, and Japan.

At the forum, experts shared results of several studies on preventing several diseases, as well as measures to reduce impacts of drought on pepper trees amid climate change.-VNA