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Vietnamese Government to Put 5 Million Farming Households on E-Commerce Sites

The Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), Pham Anh Tuan, has urged creating detailed plans to put farming households on e-commerce sites. Tuan recently led an online conference to bring agricultural production households to e-commerce sites, promoting the development of the digital economy in agriculture and rural areas.

Under the plan, approved by MIC in late July, farming households will be supported to enter e-commerce sites to connect, advertise, and introduce their products. This will help them access new distribution channels and expand to domestic and international markets. Vietnam has nine million agricultural production households and four million private business households. All the households will be brought onto e-commerce sites, and this will be the first breakthrough to be made in developing the digital agricultural economy.

Through e-commerce sites and digital platforms, farming households will receive useful information about farm produce markets, predicted demand and production capacity, weather forecasts, and seed and fertilizer supply. High-quality input materials and tools for agriculture production will be introduced to farmers via the platforms.

Nguyen Trong Duong, the Deputy Director of the Business Management Department under MIC, noted that the move is a major force to deploy a digital agricultural economy. MIC chose to begin with human resources as “people are the most difficult factor in digital transformation and digital economy development”, according to a MIC statement. When including farmers on e-commerce sites, they will see the benefits in selling and buying goods via e-commerce sites.

“MIC will put 12-13 million agricultural production and private business households on e-commerce sites and help them introduce products. This is the biggest goal of the ministry in the immediate time,” Tuan said. The figure is five million households by the end of the year. Nguyen Cong Thanh, Director of the Ha Tinh Department of Information and Communications, noted that the province now has 160 OCOP (one commune one product) and VietGap products.

Like other localities, Ha Tinh residents do not generally sell products under the new method. The infrastructure is not good enough, the statement added. The difficulties in product traceability and logistics are also problems. Around 7,987 households and 14,594 products have been put on e-commerce sites. The total farm produce-transaction value is VN₫ 944 billion (US$41,478).

An official noted that farm produce bought via e-commerce sites remains modest. For instance, litchis sold via e-commerce sites just accounted for 5% of Bac Giang’s litchi crop this year. However, he emphasised the need for e-commerce sites as an additional consumption channel for farmers and their importance, especially in the context of the pandemic.

OpenGov Asia reported last month on the MIC-approved e-commerce plan to boost the sale of farm produce and accelerate distribution to avoid congestion during harvesting season. It aimed to keep farm produce prices stable and eliminate intermediary merchants. Two sites, Postmart and Vo So, have been assigned to place farm produce on sale. MIC had asked provincial and municipal authorities to create favourable conditions for Vietnam Post and Viettel Post, the owners of the two e-commerce sites, to implement the plan. Farmers will be trained in digital skills. They will learn how to operate in the digital environment; how to register accounts to display products on the sites; and how to register online payment accounts and implement the process of packaging, connection, and delivery.

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