Flexible solutions secure stable food supply

July 29, 2021 | 14:28
Various initiatives have been launched to ease the shortages of food and essential products in Ho Chi Minh City.
Zero-VND minimarts are familiar to the poor in many cities
Zero-VND minimarts are familiar to the poor in many cities

Over the past month, the city has temporarily closed wholesale markets and traditional markets, as well as some supermarkets and convenience stores. Thus, people have flocked to remaining supermarkets and mini grocery stores to purchase food and necessities, causing an overload for modern retail channels.

There have been long queues of customers waiting at supermarkets and convenience stores to buy food and essential products, with much of the food being sold at higher prices. To address the issue, Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade (DoIT) has called for businesses in different fields to develop a flexible supply chain of food and necessities to serve the demand of local people.

Accordingly, a number of businesses transformed their outlets into price-stabilisation points including many Vinmart grocery stores, 150 Con Cung mom-and-baby stores, 67 Guardian beauty and healthcare stores, and 300 Pharmacity drug stores, as well as 36 Nhat Tin logistics outlets. For the first time, some of these stores will sell fruits, vegetables, and necessities for consumers.

Meanwhile, postal and logistics companies are also helping to transport and distribute goods to consumers such as Viettel Post, VNPost, GiaoHangNhanh, GiaoHangTietKiem, and ABA Cooltrans.

According to Nguyen Thi Minh Giang, coordinator of the programme, it took four days to establish a flexible supply chain including transporting goods from suppliers to warehouses, sorting and classifying goods, and distributing them to points of sale. The flexible supply chain is completely new so it presents some challenges like transportation and warehousing, and most businesses are selling fruits and vegetables for the first time so they have to learn how to preserve goods.

In addition, the DoIT also partnered with e-commerce platforms like Tiki, Shopee, and Lazada to increase the online sale of fruits and vegetables, aiming to diversify supply channels for consumers. As of present, the DoIT has established over 3,000 price-stabilisation points in supermarkets and convenience stores, and 388 mobile sales points in the city.

Furthermore, the department is taking steps to reopen wet markets to ease the overload for modern retail chains. The department is mulling granting grocery cards and numbered tickets to limit the number of consumers in wet markets.

At the same time, a number of mobile selling outlets have been introduced to serve people living in quarantined and locked-down areas. Japanese retailer AEON is running four mobile vending carts in densely populated areas near large traditional markets that are temporarily closed. The price of fruits and vegetables sold at AEON’s mobile points of sale is equal to the price in its supermarket chains.

For poor and disadvantaged people, various zero-VND minimarts have been opened in the city over the past month to help them overcome challenging times. These facilities provide dry food, fresh agricultural products, spices, and fruits and vegetables to people stuck in the pandemic epicentre. People can also get a voucher to go shopping at special supermarkets without making any payment.

Zero-VND minimarts are familiar to the poor in many cities
One of the many foodsharing outlets and mobile sales points in Ho Chi Minh City
Zero-VND minimarts are familiar to the poor in many cities
Green vegetables are delivered from Gia Lai province to Ho Chi Minh City
Zero-VND minimarts are familiar to the poor in many cities
Residents receive donated food from other provinces
Zero-VND minimarts are familiar to the poor in many cities
Food supply for the quarantine centres in Ho Chi Minh City
Zero-VND minimarts are familiar to the poor in many cities
Prepared fruits and vegetables for quarantine areas

By Olivia Bui and Le Toan

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