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Safe vegetable model reaps success in Ha Noi
13 | 07 | 2007
Nguyen Thi Hoa, chairwoman of the Ha Noi department for plant protection, spoke with Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times) about the hygiene and safety standards of vegetables sold at markets in and around the capital city.

Can you give us some in-formation about the production and use of safe vegetables in Ha Noi?

From 2002-2006, the city has employed nine safe vegetable models in Linh Nam, Dang Xa, Dia, Van Tri, Trung Na, Yen My, Phuc Loi and Cu Khoi with a total area of 215 ha.

Last year, we built a model under the principle of good agriculture practice in Dong Anh District. This model has since been applied and developed by local people and authorities.

Our department has co-operated with districts and enterprises to create three trademarks of safe vegetables; Nam Sao, Bao Ha and Yen My. Nam Sao are delivered to restaurants and office kitchens while Bao Ha and Yen My are sold at markets.

Up to now we have granted 29 safe vegetable certificates to farmers and another eight have been certified to process safe vegetables for enterprises and individuals.

We are co-operating with experts to check and appraise the soil and water at 112 out of 117 communes and wards which grow vegetables in the city. Levels of heavy metal, chemical sprays and micro-organisms will be checked. Under the analysis, we will map out farming areas and growing conditions so that we can implement the development plan for those with the right conditions and suggest other crops or land use for areas with different growing conditions.

So what are the shortcomings in your work?

Though we have made some gains in using and managing chemical sprays, the use of illegal pesticides and misuse of sprays still affect local people’s health and the environment. Illegal spraying is increasing and because it’s illegally imported and sold in Ha Noi, making controlling the problem more difficult.

Besides, there are problems with the overall management of safe vegetable production. Some local authorities don’t co-operate with experts in the field. This is combined with a lack of investment in infrastructure and insufficient government policies to support farmers who choose to produce safe vegetables.

Let’s pick up on the point, you made about farmers’ misuse of chemical sprays. What is the plant protection department doing about this problem?

Last year, the city saw many cases of illegal spraying brought to local authorities via the plant protection department. But in fact, it is difficult to fine farmers when they violate spraying procedures. Many of them can earn only 1 million for their crops and spent it all before they have not sold anything. They agree with the reprimand but they cannot afford the fine.

So, in our report to the department of agriculture and rural development, we have suggested an alternative to fines. On first violation we issue a warning, the second time we refer them to their local authorities, and finally we report violators to the mass media.

We will co-operate with Ha Noi Television to produce a public information broadcast of 5-10 minutes per week about the production of safe vegetables and relating information.

Vietnam News
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