Investment in cold storage needed for proactive export of agricultural products | Business

Suffering losses due to lack of cold rooms

During the days close to the Lunar New Year, many kinds of fruits from the Mekong Delta provinces stagnated at the northern border gates and had to be dumped because they could not be exported. With the country’s largest dragon fruit area of ​​over 32,000 hectares, Binh Thuan province has an output of around 700,000 tons of dragon fruit per year. However, the number of cold stores for agricultural products in the province is only 310, with a capacity of about 16,000 tons. This is a modest number compared to the local cultivation capacity.

“If the province has service cold stores built in the raw material cultivation area to be proactive in production and export plans, it will help farmers a lot. Thus, we can establish monthly and quarterly production plans to ensure export as well as processing and conservation. However, it lacks the most important conditions, which are capital and mechanism,” said Mr. Phan Van Tan, Deputy Director of Agriculture and Rural Development Department of Binh Thuan Province.

Meanwhile, during the days close to the Tet holiday, in Lo Pang commune of Mang Yang district of Gia Lai central highlands province, container trucks lined up waiting to load goods. agricultural crops, especially bananas, grown by Hoang Anh Gia Lai Joint Stock Company to transport to Quy Nhon port or Cai Lai port to continuously export to Japan, South Korea and China.

Thousands of hectares of bananas from Hoang Anh Gia Lai Joint Stock Company are grown and harvested in a closed process in which the bananas are harvested from the plantation, then taken to the processing plant to be packed and placed in cold storage. . Thanks to cold storage, bananas are kept for 1.5 months at a temperature of 14 degrees Celsius, so that they can be freely transported around the world, thus creating export proactivity.

During the fourth wave of Covid-19, many fresh fruit exporters faced a stalemate due to transportation difficulties and suffered losses due to a shortage of cold storage. Some companies are forced to invest methodically to adapt to the changes caused by the pandemic. For example, Chanh Thu Fruit Export Company had to borrow money to invest and start construction of a processing factory in Dak Lak province, covering an area of ​​more than 10 hectares, with a storage capacity of about 20,000 tons of durian.

The factory is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2022. According to Ms. Ngo Tuong Vy, deputy manager of the company, the durian season lasts six months, so cold storage is the key to off-season processing. . .

Exemption from ground rent and loan interest

Indeed, only large companies in the agricultural sector can afford to build cold stores. Investing in cold storage is not easy for companies, even those with foreign capital.

After constructing modern cold storage facilities in Long An and Hung Yen provinces, an AJ Total Vietnam representative said the main difficulty was the seasonal need for cold storage of agricultural products.

According to Mr. Le Minh Phung, commercial director of this group, it will be difficult for investors who have built cold warehouses for rent because it is not possible to store agricultural products seasonally for a few months. If the warehouses store other goods, there will be no space for new goods in season. The second difficulty is that land rental prices for cold stores in industrial parks are high; the investment cost is high; the construction time is longer than that of a normal warehouse; the price of electricity follows the price of the service; warehouse rental price is low. Therefore, many investors are not interested.

According to Mr. Vo Huy Hoang, President of Binh Thuan Dragon Fruit Association, a cold store using German technology can keep dragon fruits for one month if normally stored. If they are preserved by modern technology, the duration will be twice as long, which almost solves the situation of a bumper crop, at a low price. Beforehand, Binh Thuan province needs about 500 billion VND to build cold stores.

“The basic solution is that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should build commodity production areas to the highest standards to cater to many markets. At the same time, it is necessary to solve the overall problem of agricultural production and focus on supporting investment in cold storage,” said Ms. Dinh Thi Phuong Khanh, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and rural development of Long An province.

According to economic experts, cold stores are essential for stabilizing farmers’ harvest. To attract investments in cold storage, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should advise the government to put in place a mechanism to reduce land rents, exempt loan interest rates, shorten procedures for granting licenses, apply commercial energy prices for cold storage and subsidize stored agricultural products. some products.

Amalia H. Mercado