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Vietnam's cold supply chain in poor shape

Released at: 09:31, 13/03/2018

Vietnam's cold supply chain in poor shape

Photo: Khanh Chi (VET)

Experts discuss sustainable cold chain solutions for reducing food losses at World Cold Chain Summit 2018 in HCMC.

by Hong Nhung

Cold chain supply is an important base for the agriculture sector, contributing to ensuring the quality of food and agricultural products from farm to table. However, local agriculture experts as well as local enterprises believe the cold supply chain for Vietnam’s agriculture sector remains weak, the World Cold Chain Summit 2018, held recently by Carrier in Ho Chi Minh City, heard.

The workshop focused on wasting less food and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from food loss through a strengthened cold chain. Carrier is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp.

This was the fourth World Cold Chain Summit organized by Carrier since its inception in 2014 but the first to focus on cold chain development efforts in one specific region. Vietnam, a fast-growing, emerging country, shares many challenges with other developing economies in tackling food waste issues and managing cold chain logistics.

“With new technologies and practices for a more efficient cold chain, significant progress can be made to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, improve cross-border economic activity, and help reduce hunger,” said Mr. David Appel, President of Carrier Transicold & Refrigeration Systems. “We are proud to convene and engage with experts across private and public sectors to collaborate on developing actionable strategies to help reduce food losses in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.”

The summit asked food supply chain stakeholders, academics, and policymakers to collectively identify significant opportunities in the Vietnamese food supply chain, diagnose root causes leading to losses, and evaluate different cold chain solutions for Vietnam and potentially other developing countries in the fast-growing Southeast Asia region.

“Of all the perishable food produced in the world today, only 10 per cent is refrigerated,” Mr. Appel went on. “There is a huge opportunity to cut food waste and improve food distribution by implementing cold chain technology. But to do so effectively, we have to understand local needs, and that’s why we’re focusing this year’s Summit on Vietnam and the Southeast Asia region.”

Vietnam’s food supply chain loses an estimated 5.75 million tons of food per year, accounting for 60 per cent of the country’s entire municipal solid waste, according to a 2011 report by Vietnam’s National State of Environment.

“We believe that it’s not only possible to green the cold chain, but that by better managing food supply with cold chain technology, we can reduce food loss and waste, feed more people, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the supply of food,” Mr. Appel said. “The goal for the 2018 World Cold Chain Summit is to develop a roadmap to reduce food loss and waste in Vietnam that can also be applied in the APEC region and extended globally.”

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