Local firms fret over overlapping management of organic products

Local firms fret over overlapping management of organic products

Thuy Dung

HANOI – Many companies have voiced their concern about a draft Government decree on management of organic produce, as it may make the management of agricultural product chains overlap, heard a seminar in Hanoi on August 31.

The draft decree details many provisions on State support for organic production, but attendees at the seminar were at odds over the roles of management agencies, and expressed their worries about conflicts of or overlap in management.

Ngo Tien Dung, project director of TH True Milk Group, said his company creates organic products in the entire process from production to distribution, and pondered which agency would supervise this process.

In particular, according to the draft decree, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development manages fresh milk; the Ministry of Industry and Trade is in charge of product processing, import and distribution; and the Health Ministry issues product standards.

Therefore, he proposed the agriculture ministry be responsible for fields relevant to agricultural production in the whole production chain while other ministries play supporting roles.

A representative of Sao Thai Duong JSC said herbal medicine is also a product within the scope of the draft decree, but organic pharmaceuticals should be managed by the ministries of agriculture and health.

Therefore, the representative suggested the decree specify management responsibilities of the two ministries. Besides, as organic products often have higher prices, and are mainly for export, so their standards should be based on international criteria.

At the seminar, participants were briefed on State incentives for organic production.

Cooperatives, farms, and households specializing in organic produce will receive 100% of financial support from the Government to find locations whose land is favorable to make organic products, in addition to basic and topographic surveys, and analyses of water samples, according to Pham Dong Quang, deputy head of the Cultivation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

He added the country has two forms of product certification which are issued by either competent agencies or a group of producers, traders and customers called the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS).

Besides, he said if the Government approves the PGS, it will only apply to products of households who have their products domestically sold.

The draft decree provides that certified products will bear Vietnamese organic produce logos. The signs indicate that products have met the set requirements of the agriculture ministry. Besides, customers could trace their origins with ease.

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