Lychee farmers learn the ropes of online trading

By Anh Minh   May 27, 2021 | 05:31 am PT
Lychee farmers learn the ropes of online trading
A woman samples harvested lychees loaded on to the back of a motorbike in Luc Ngan District, northern Bac Giang Province. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
While the pandemic has ushered in online trading of agricultural produce, lychees farmers who lack the tech savvy are finding it a difficult process.

It is harvest time in the provinces of Bac Giang and Hai Duong, both premier lychees cultivation areas in the country, but farmers are struggling to adapt to online trading.

Sinh, a farmer in Bac Giang Province’s Luc Ngan District, a lychee hub, is one of many farmers who will put the fruit on sale on e-commerce platforms for the first time.

But, he said: "We are more familiar with traditional selling, or selling to Chinese traders and cooperatives."

A lot of the lychee harvest in the northern province is bought by Chinese traders and taken across the border.

"Chinese merchants cannot come to Vietnam to buy lychees due to the pandemic, so I had to try and find other selling channels for my harvest," said Sinh.

He said this was particularly necessary since the province has emerged the largest, most severely affected Covid-19 hotspot in the latest wave of the pandemic. It had recorded 1,564 Covid-19 cases as of Thursday noon, since the start of the fourth wave on April 27.

E-commerce companies say they have stepped in to help farmers acquaint themselves with online trading, sending employees to the orchards directly for instructing the farmers on how to pack the produce, open an online store and place it on sale.

Experts say that with foreign traders unable to enter Vietnam and directly buy lychees because of pandemic-related restrictions, online trading has emerged as a viable alternative.

Lychees grown in Bac Giang will be sold on some local e-commerce platforms and foreign ones like Alibaba and Amazon this month. The province has also boosted lychee sales on websites like and

Tran Quang Tan, director of Bac Giang’s Department of Industry and Trade, said that the number of enterprises searching for lychees grown in the province at has been increasing daily.

Lychees from another cultivation hub, Thanh Ha District in Hai Duong Province, are also being sold online since May 24. A spokesperson of e-commerce platform Sendo revealed that over six tons of lychees from Hai Duong were sold on the first day at the price of VND18,000 ($0.78) per kilogram. It expected to sell 12 tons of the fruit in the first four days.

Nearly three tons of lychees grown in Hai Duong have also been sold on the Lazada e-commerce platform.

Vu Ba Phu, head of Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, said they would work with e-commerce platforms to ensure that the logistics and warehousing system meets the demands of farmers.

Other Vietnamese produce like rice and coffee have also been sold online. The agency is currently working with Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba to open an exclusive sector for Vietnamese produce on its website, giving them an international portal.

Hoang Minh Chien, deputy head of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency said that the challenges of selling agriculture produce online include fast packaging and delivery time, besides being well preserved to ensure freshness and quality.

Therefore, farmers, transporting firms and e-commerce platforms that form the supply chain have to coordinate closely with each other, he said.

"Members of the supply chain must ensure the quality of the produce on online selling channels in order to gain the trust of consumers," he added.

Farm produce sold online under the aegis of the Trade Promotion Agency will have traceability stamps that provide information about cultivation, harvesting and shipping, Chien noted.

Dao Ha Trung, chairman of the HCMC High Technology Association, said using blockchain technology in tracing product origin will enable authorities and producers to keep track of product quality and help consumers avoid buying counterfeit products.

"The application of technology can reduce costs for producers and distributors, and build consumers’ trust because they can know exactly what they are consuming," he added.

go to top