The opening ceremony of the fruit depot of Ben Tre on October 31 (Photo: VNA)

Ben Tre (VNS/VNA) - Wholesaler Mega Market Vietnam (MM) on October 31 launched its first fruit depot in Ben Tre province to supply quality fruits and vegetables for both export and local markets.

Phidsanu Pongwatana, managing director of MM Mega Market Vietnam, said the fruit platform in Ben Tre would supply safe and quality fruit products for MM’s 19 stores across the country.

“This depot will also be an export base for Vietnamese fruit to Thailand, China and other Southeast Asian countries,” he added.

Along with fruits as the core supply, the Ben Tre platform will also serve as a stockpile for vegetables and fruits in the Mekong Delta and surrounding provinces.

“Situated at a prime location, the depot will help MM ensure a smooth flow of vegetable and fruit from Mekong Delta source areas to MM stores as fast and as cost-effectively as possible, while keeping products fresh all the way,” he said.

“MM customers can now trace the origin of fresh food products even more easily,” Phidsanu added.

Ben Tre base is a joint operation between MM Mega Market Vietnam and Huong Phu Sa Vegetables and Foods JSC.

Under the partnership, Huong Phu Sa Vegetables and Foods will work with MM’s quality control and purchasing agents, and cooperate with farmers, cooperatives and suppliers to select qualified food products to go through the depot for pre-processing and packaging.

More than 60 different types of fruits, including mainstream categories such as grapefruit, Thai coconut, pineapple, melon, lemon, King orange, and mango, among others, will be selected from concentrated source areas in Mekong Delta provinces.

In the beginning, the Ben Tre Fruit Platform is projected to run about 15 tonnes throughput per day. In the second phase next year, the depot’s capacity will increase to about 50 tonnes per day.

Following the model of the Da Lat Vegetable Platform, the Ben Tre depot will enlist about 100 farming households, mostly in Mekong Delta provinces, including Ben Tre, Tien Giang, Can Tho, Long An, Tra Vinh, Vinh Long and Dong Thap.

MM agricultural engineers will work firsthand with local farmers and cooperatives, from seed selection to production planning, harvesting, packaging and hauling to the Ben Tre platform, without going through middlemen.

Farming households joining the loop will need to maintain a farm logbook and record in detail how they use pesticides. They will also be asked to keep a journal of harvesting work, and conduct periodic quality testing in accordance with MM Mega Market Vietnam’s standards.

MM launched a pork platform last year, a Can Tho fish platform in 2011, and a Da Lat vegetable platform in 2008.

MM Mega Market Vietnam (formerly Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam) started its wholesale operations locally in 2002 and now has 19 stores in the country, with more than 3,300 employees. — VNS/VNA