Only 5 per cent of Vietnam’s vegetable farmland observes good agricultural practices (GAP), despite a three-year pilot programme to promote the standards, according to Vietnam Net.
GAP hasn’t had a good reception in Vietnam because of the cost of the practices to the poor small-hold farmers that make up most of Vietnam’s production.
Director of the Vietnam Institute for Agricultural Sciences, Dr Nguyen Van Bo, said the farms are small and scattered, and many growers don’t know about the GAP standards or food hygiene and safety.
The GAP rules have tight regulations on sowing and planting, soil preparation, tending, harvesting, post-harvest, maintenance, packaging and environmental issues. The standards have been encouraged by the Vietnamese government in order to gain access to lucrative markets like the EU, US and Japan.
The poor uptake of the new practices is in part due to the confusing pastiche of rules and procedures. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has released seven national safe vegetable procedures, while cities and provinces have issued hundreds of safe production processes.
A number of companies and research institutes have also released handbooks on fruit growing according to GAP rules.