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Vietnam's organic industry: a market of potential and challenges

Despite the economic challenges faced globally and within Vietnam, the demand for organic agricultural products remains high. However, the market is plagued by issues of trust due to the actions of dishonest traders who mix organic with non-organic produce, selling them at premium prices without clear and specific criteria to verify the organic quality. This practice has led to consumer skepticism towards organic products, as highlighted by Nguyen Thu Ha, an owner of a farm in Cao Phong District, Hoa Binh Province, and Tran Thi Thu Huong, a long-time consumer of organic produce from Thu Duc City.

The lack of transparency has not only affected consumer trust but also posed challenges for genuine organic farmers. The situation is compounded by the existence of multiple certification bodies, both local and international, authorized by the state to certify organic products, as noted by Dr. Nguyen Duc Chinh of GenXanh farm in Hanoi's Phuc Tho District. This plethora of certification options has left producers and consumers confused about which certifications are credible.

Experts argue that the definition and understanding of organic agricultural production need to be clarified to rebuild consumer confidence. The Vietnamese government, recognizing the potential of the organic agriculture market, has initiated measures to support organic farming. This includes the Organic Agriculture Development Project approved by the Prime Minister for the period 2020-2030, as mentioned by Nguyen Nhu Cuong, Director of the Department of Crop Production. Despite these efforts, challenges such as high input costs, decreased productivity, and the need for government support for organic farmers persist, as noted by representatives from the Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development in Lam Dong, Kon Tum, and Dak Lak provinces.

To further develop the organic agriculture sector, local and national government bodies are urged to provide more support to farmers and businesses involved in organic production. This includes financial support, promotional efforts to raise awareness among consumers and producers about the benefits of organic products, and the development of a robust market and distribution system for organic goods. The aim is to establish a transparent, trustworthy market for organic agriculture that benefits both consumers and producers, ensuring the long-term sustainability of Vietnam's agricultural sector.


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