Post-harvest losses of fruits in Vietnam account for 20 percent of the total output due to the incorrect way of harvesting, packing, transporting and preserving, heard the third Asia-Pacific Symposium on Post-harvest Research, Education and Extension in Ho Chi Minh City on December 9.

The loss of agricultural products after harvest is 8 percent, particularly rice at 10 percent, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.

As Vietnam is a tropical country, it is extremely important for local farmers to keep farm produce in low temperature right after they are reaped, experts stated.

They also pointed out several shortcomings of the country in this field, including the lack of skilled labourers and modern technologies.

Michael Lay-Lee from the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research suggested Vietnam attract more young people to work in the agricultural sector, and provide them with training on using technologies to preserve farm produce.

Former head of the Southern Fruit Research Institute Nguyen Minh Chau stressed the necessity for Vietnam to invest more in modern technology in packing.

Jointly held by the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Science and Technology under the auspices of the International Society for Horticultural Science, the symposium will end on December 11.

It is expected to help Vietnamese scientists and businesses to learn about the latest post-harvest technologies and how to apply them in production in order to reduce the losses and increase the competitiveness of Vietnamese agricultural products.

Vietnam is an agricultural country with agriculture accounting for 22 percent of GDP, 30 percent of exports and 60 percent of employment.-VNA