Seminar calls for farm production, consumption link-ups within southern economic hub hinh anh 1Delegates at the seminar in HCM City (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) — Localities in the Southern Key Economic Region need to enhance co-operation to develop safe agricultural areas and ensure consumption of safe food and farm produce, heard a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on June 4.

Nguyen Huynh Trang, deputy chairman of the city Department of Industry and Trade, said linkages for production and consumption of agricultural products and foods is important for promoting economic development in the region and the application of good agricultural practices.

The seminar sought to collect participants’ opinions on zoning areas for safe agricultural produce and foodstuffs and suggest policies for localities in the region for building linkages in production and consumption of agricultural produce and foods from the region, she said.

Localities in the region have enhanced food safety management and adopted VietGAP standards for cultivation and animal breeding, but only 5-10 percent of the products meet those standards.

The cost of growing vegetables to VietGAP standards is higher than conventional methods, while productivity is lower and the appearance of the vegetables is not very attractive, participants said.

Modern distribution channels can buy around 20 percent of vegetables grown to VietGAP standards. So farmers have to sell the rest at traditional markets at normal prices, which discourages them from adopting the standards, they added, suggesting that localities should make plans for safe farm produce production and consumption as well as expand the application of VietGAP standard in production.

Representatives of many provinces and cities in the region said building a wholesale market and centre for agricultural products and enhancing food safety management from the production to consumption stages are urgent requirements.

They also called for enhancing traceability of products to ensure food safety.

Producers must focus more on building brands for their products and improve product designs so that they could be exported, they added.

The region, which consists of HCM City and seven provinces – Tay Ninh, Binh Phuoc, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An, and Tien Giang -- plays a special role in the country’s socio-economic development, accounting for more than 45.5 percent of its GDP./.