The role of farmer organizations in supplying supermarkets with quality food in Vietnam
The development of supermarkets in Vietnam, as in other emerging countries, is accompanied by increasing consumer concern for food quality. This paper investigates whether farmer organizations are able to help small-scale farmers obtain access to supermarkets as well as examines the role that supermarkets and public support play in the emergence and development of these organizations. The paper is based on case studies of a number of stakeholders marketing vegetables, flavored rice and litchi fruit in Vietnam. Eight farmer groups operating in the form of private commercial organizations act as regular supermarket suppliers for the selected products. Their ability to supply supermarkets is related to the combination of functions they make available to their members, especially with regard to promoting and controlling quality for which they receive public support. Their participation in flexible contracts with supermarkets, shops and schools is also a key issue. Supplying supermarkets via farmer associations increases farmers' profits per kilo compared to traditional chains, but the quantities supplied to supermarkets remain limited. The paper argues that changes in farmer organizations are not primarily due to supplying supermarkets, but rather to public and international support for food quality improvement which has been of benefit to supermarkets.
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