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|Tea products of Yen Bai province's Suoi Giang Cooperatives are on sale on Alibaba e-commerce platform . (Photo: VNA)|
Hanoi- E-commerce is widely considered an effective and sustainable solution to help cooperatives improve their competitiveness, and boost production and exports, but the number of cooperatives that have gone online remains modest, prompting the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance (VCA) to support them in this regard.
According to Nguyen Ngoc Bao, VCA president, the application of e-commerce plays an important role in the success of cooperatives, creating competitiveness in the market economy.
He cited the fact that Suoi Giang Cooperative in Yen Bai province signed a contract worth up to 2 billion VND (nearly 86,500 USD) to export tea to Japan through Alibaba as an example.
There are about 26,900 online stores in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The number of Facebook users is estimated at 22.5 million in rural areas and 23.5 million in urban areas. This provides an opportunity for cooperatives and cooperative groups across the country to build online stores.
Bui Van Mien, Director of Son Thuy Agricultural Service Cooperative in Hoa Binh province’s Xuan Thuy Commune, said that following the success of last year's longan crop, it will continue to promote sales on e-commerce platforms to develop the product’s value chain and reduce costs.
Luong Dinh Hung, Secretary of Nhu Co Commune’s Youth Union and founder of the Nhu Co Youth Agricultural Cooperative in Bac Kan province, said the cooperative is focusing on exploiting the demand for shopping online to strengthen connections with customers and promote its products.
Sales on e-commerce platforms has helped the cooperative collect customers’ information, and cuts costs for renting warehouses or shops, he said.
However, a lack of IT knowhow is hindering cooperatives from putting their products online.
Do Nhan Dao, Chairman of the Yen Bai province Union of Cooperatives Alliance, said the ratio of IT proficient cooperatives that are capable of putting products on e-commerce platforms is low.
In addition, the number of young staff with good IT skills accounts for a very small percentage, he said, adding that some cooperatives do not have computers or devices connected to the internet.
Pham Xuan Thuy, director of Tan Hoang Tra Cooperatives in Thai Nguyen province, shared Dao’s view, saying despite the fact that his cooperative has a raw material area that meets VietGAP (Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices) standards as well as invests in processing and design, products are still sold via the traditional method because most of its members lack IT skills.
In order to make effective use of e-commerce, experts said cooperatives should clearly define their markets, customers and quality standards that can be satisfied, then take steps towards online trade promotions.
The sale of products online is necessary, but it is essential for them to promote multi-channel sales, especially on cross-border e-commerce platforms instead of selling on one fanpage or personal Facebook page.
Bao said the VCA will develop a training programme on trade promotion and e-commerce to support cooperatives, adding there will be a combination between face-to-face and online training.