The agricultural sector has set a target to raise the value of unprocessed agricultural products by three or four fold through the application of post harvest-technology.
In order to achieve this target, the sector needs to formulate a development strategy for agricultural products in general, and for food in particular.
Professor Dr Nguyen Kim Vu, Deputy Director of the Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Post-Harvest Technology said the primary task of the sector is to combine the seedling selection with strict quality requirements pre and post harvest.
The second step, Vu said, is the application of an integrated pest management programme in food conservation. However, Vu suggested, the sector should also inform farmers of the dangers that may arise by using chemical agents in food conservation, and encourage them to use natural methods.
Agricultural engineering has played an important role in helping farmers reduce post harvest losses and ensure food safety through the application of new machines developed by Vietnamese engineers.
To ensure high quality products post harvest, the agricultural engineering sector has introduced new technologies that help the products maintain natural vitamins and other active elements which are good for people’s health.
Results from two surveys conducted in 1994 and 2004 showed that losses in rice conservation and husking were reduced from 13-16 per cent to between 10-13 per cent. This means the new post harvest technology has saved about 1 million tonnes of rice a year for farmers in the Mekong delta region.
However, Professor Vu said the quality of the post harvest technology developed by Vietnamese scientists is not equal to many regional countries, and their working conditions are relatively poor./.