Update: 16:41 | 28/05/2021
While the pandemic has ushered in online trading of agricultural produce, lychees farmers who lack the tech savvy are finding it a difficult process.
It is harvest time in the provinces of Bac Giang and Hai Duong, both premier lychees cultivation areas in the country, but farmers are struggling to adapt to online trading.
Sinh, a farmer in Bac Giang Province’s Luc Ngan District, a lychee hub, is one of many farmers who will put the fruit on sale on e-commerce platforms for the first time.
A woman samples harvested lychees loaded on to the back of a motorbike in Luc Ngan District, northern Bac Giang Province.
But, he said: "We are more familiar with traditional selling, or selling to Chinese traders and cooperatives."
A lot of the lychee harvest in the northern province is bought by Chinese traders and taken across the border.
He said this was particularly necessary since the province has emerged the largest, most severely affected Covid-19 hotspot in the latest wave of the pandemic. It had recorded 1,564 Covid-19 cases as of Thursday noon, since the start of the fourth wave on April 27.
E-commerce companies say they have stepped in to help farmers acquaint themselves with online trading, sending employees to the orchards directly for instructing the farmers on how to pack the produce, open an online store and place it on sale.
Experts say that with foreign traders unable to enter Vietnam and directly buy lychees because of pandemic-related restrictions, online trading has emerged as a viable alternative.
Lychees grown in Bac Giang will be sold on some local e-commerce platforms and foreign ones like Alibaba and Amazon this month. The province has also boosted lychee sales on websites like www.dacsanlucngan.vn and www.vaithieubacgiang.vn.
Tran Quang Tan, director of Bac Giang’s Department of Industry and Trade, said that the number of enterprises searching for lychees grown in the province at www.dacsanlucngan.vn has been increasing daily.
Other Vietnamese produce like rice and coffee have also been sold online. The agency is currently working with Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba to open an exclusive sector for Vietnamese produce on its website, giving them an international portal.
Hoang Minh Chien, deputy head of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency said that the challenges of selling agriculture produce online include fast packaging and delivery time, besides being well preserved to ensure freshness and quality.
Therefore, farmers, transporting firms and e-commerce platforms that form the supply chain have to coordinate closely with each other, he said.
Farm produce sold online under the aegis of the Trade Promotion Agency will have traceability stamps that provide information about cultivation, harvesting and shipping, Chien noted.