Nguyen Thanh Thuy, Director of Xanh Vietnam Agriculture Co. Ltd., said that farmers in Bac Giang province, for example, refused to buy her company’s organic fertiliser unless the firm could find traders who would buy their fruits.
She said the company could not find traders who were willing to buy at her requested prices.
Nguyen Tan Phap, whose start-up involves growing organic vegetables in Quang Nam province, noted that the "clean" market has high potential, but the prices are higher than traditionally grown products.
In addition, since many customers do not completely trust organic products, trust building and brands are especially crucial.
Do Ha Nam, former Chairman of the Vietnam Pepper Association, said that developing organic farm products requires careful market research and demands.
Firms should not just encourage farmers to adopt organic production methods without making sure that buyers exist. Otherwise, farmers may lose faith in firms, he said.
Nguyen Van Bo of the Vietnam Academy of Agriculture Science said that organic agricultural goods currently only account for a tiny part of Vietnam’s farm produce.
Many firms and households producing organic goods are small, without proper planning or market research.
Organic agriculture has strict requirements that farmers have to follow, and they need help with better infrastructure and markets, as organic farming is environmentally friendly and produces clean produce, he added.
Nam said that several foreign firms wanted to cooperate with Vietnamese pepper firms, which could help sell Vietnamese organic pepper to global markets.
Although Vietnam’s organic products such as seafood, honey, coconut, pepper and fruit are considered to have good value, organic farming requires understanding of market demands first, Bo said.