E-commerce groups welcome rush of agricultural products

August 21, 2021 | 14:08
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E-commerce platforms and food-tech companies are boosting the sales of agricultural products, especially in the time of social distancing in many localities.
E-commerce groups welcome rush of agricultural products
Since the pandemic began, savvy co-operatives have started to use sites such as Lazada and Shopee. Photo: Le Toan

After only a week in cooperation with Shopee, Quyet Thanh Moc Chau Co-operative in the northern province of Son La sold seven million tonnes of plums, the seasonal agricultural products of the north. Phan Thi Hoa, deputy general of the co-operative, told VIR that sales are one-third higher than before the initiative was created.

The co-operative has also started selling on Voso and Sendo. “We gained the highest revenues through Sendo because, in addition to seasonal agricultural products such as plums we sell dried fruit, which is our typical product,” Hoa said.

Quyet Thanh Moc Chau Co-operative gathers more than 20 households with over 60 hectares of agricultural land, specialising in growing seasonal fruits. It has been over a month since the co-operative registered and sold plums on e-commerce platforms.

“E-commerce platforms boost consumption. The number of orders is high with plenty of customers nationwide. Selling on these platforms is also leisurely – we don’t have to drive and urge people to buy our products at traditional markets, which wastes a lot of time,” Hoa said.

This is also the first year that Quang Chau Longan Co-operative in the northern province of Hung Yen has put its longan on Sendo. According to director Nguyen Tien Nen, sales on the platform have occupied about 50 per cent of the total output. This year, the cooperative’s longan output is expected to reach about 3,500 tonnes.

At the start of this month, Hung Yen longan was introduced on Sendo, receiving a subsidy of around 35-50 per cent. Households in the co-operative are instructed on how to package and sell products, and farmers can directly livestream to introduce products and actively take orders on the platforms.

Taku Tanaka, CEO of Kamereo, the Vietnam’s first tech enabled supplier for restaurants and hotels, stated that once farmers coordinate with e-commerce platforms there will be many benefits, such as stable demand, big demand per purchase, and better prices compared to selling to dealers in farming areas, as middle stages in the supply chain are cut.

Along with Sendo, Voso, and Shopee, the likes of Tiki, Postmart, and Lazada are also launching programmes to stimulate the consumption of agricultural products.

Shopee signed a cooperation agreement in mid-July to promote trade and distribution of longan and agricultural products of Hung Yen. In the third quarter, it will deploy the programme in other provinces such as Dong Thap, Binh Thuan, Dak Lak, and Can Tho. Along with focusing on promoting and advertising, Shopee also helps farmers to research and convert seasonal agricultural products to year-round products through methods such as freezing and drying.

Likewise, apart from e-commerce platforms, food-tech companies like Kamereo also provide platforms to support farmers. Unlike most e-commerce platforms, the company is operating in the business-to-business space where smaller businesses like mini-stores, supermarkets, and food shops are customers. The website and mobile app are tailored for such usage.

“As we focus on fresh produce, we have a facility to keep vegetables fresh in our fulfilment centre. Our fulfilment centre is active all the time, receives goods from farms at midnight, then delivers to customer door stop within the following day to ensure freshness. Currently, restaurants cannot operate due to lockdown, but retail shops still can. We are supporting more and more retail shops and supermarkets to have fresh produce in their stores every day,” Tanaka of Kamereo said.

Along with e-commerce or food-tech platforms, there are more websites and applications that are run for the purpose of connecting farmers and consumers. Last month, the Ministry of Industry and Trade launched a website on agricultural food and products, which links with other food sites so that seasonality products are shown to a large number of buyers.

Besides that, farmers can directly sell their products through other modest-sized websites or applications such as Agriculturalvn and Vidas, which function as intermediary tools between sellers and buyers.

In particular, websites and apps like Chotot and Muabannongsan even allow users to express their needs via post to seek sellers. Therefore, once farmers join these platforms, they have chances to trade more by actively connecting with buyers. Groups such as Online Agricultural Products on social networks also attract more customers.

Tanaka believed that buying fresh produce online is still not popular with many consumers as Vietnam has lots of small retail shops, wet markets, and modern retail shops. “Due to the recent lockdowns, many consumers experience buying fresh produce online for the first time because many wet markets close and people avoid going out often. The question is whether buying fresh produce online will become a habit afterwards. Each player might seek different value propositions like competitive price, quality, or convenience,” he said.

By Trúc Anh

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