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Cash & Carry, a self-service wholesaler catering
to professional customers, such as hotels and
restaurants, rather than end consumers; the
supermarket chain FiviMart; the hypermarket
Big C; the Son Ha Company; and a chain of safe
vegetable stores called Big Green—with more
retailers showing interest in participating.
Reaching out to those retailers, however,
required a lot of technical innovation to
not only improve the quantity, quality and
consistency of vegetables, but also to provide
assistance with safe vegetable quality-assurance
systems and certification.
Training was also needed in postharvest
techniques, in coordination with the retailers,
and in record-keeping both to ensure the
produce’s traceability and to capture changes in
socioeconomic activity in the three participating
villages—Tu Nhien, Ta Niet and An Thai.
Surveys in Hanoi also established consumer
associations with produce from the Moc Chau
District and these associations were used to
inform marketing strategies.
“It has worked really well,” Dr Rogers says.
“ The farmers are keen, they are making more
money and there is a lot of retail and consumer
interest in the vegetables they are producing.”
son La province
Moc chau District
Ho cHi MinH city
n Vegetable production in Vietnam is focused
in the specialised production region of Da Lat
and the urban–rural interfaces around Hanoi
and Ho Chi Minh City that are under pressure
from urban development. Neither area has the
capacity to meet growing market demand for
vegetables in the north of the country.
n The transportation of vegetables from Da Lat
in unrefrigerated trucks means that poor-
quality produce is offered to customers in the
north, including Hanoi. Excess demand has
been met by Chinese imports but has raised
safety concerns over pesticide residues.
n Regulatory guidelines for safe vegetable
production were first enacted in the late 1990s.
By 2009, there were 40 provinces and cities
nationwide involved with a total area of 60,000
hectares, which accounts for about 8.5% of the
total vegetable cultivating area (705,300 ha).
n The rapid development of safe vegetable
production areas introduced marketing
opportunities and, with them, challenges
relating to accreditation, monitoring and
certification to build consumer trust.
n The price of ‘safe vegetables’ is usually 20–30%
higher than that of regular vegetables.
Delivery involved a partnership between
the Northern Mountainous Agriculture and
Forestry Science Institute, the Research Institute
of Fruits and Vegetables, Hanoi University of
Agriculture, the French Agricultural Research
Centre for International Development (CIRAD),
and the vegetable marketing firm Fresh Studio.
Together they provide services related to
sustainable agriculture, particularly agronomy,
quality assurance, and coordinating supply
and demand. Testing for pesticide residues is
done by the Department of Agriculture and
Rural Development, which also oversees ‘safe
“Innovative public–private partnerships,
or PPPs, are a key instrument to improve food
security and agricultural sustainability in Vietnam,”
says Fresh Studio, the company that has provided
platforms for national and international businesses
to meet key stakeholders from the public sector.
“ The successful results of agricultural projects
implemented as PPPs show great opportunities
for the participation of more foreign and domestic
companies to realise the sustainable development
of five industries in Vietnam, including vegetables.”
Having laid the foundations for a new
agribusiness model at the three participating
villages, ACIAR team members have high
expectations for Moc Chau’s vegetables,
especially given the growth in demand for
vegetables in Vietnam of 6% per year.
Rollout of the model to more farmers and
villages will occur in the next phase of the
project, due to commence in the second half
of 2015, at which time Dr Rogers will also
undertake activities to ensure the model is self-
sustaining and ultimately self-funding.
In the meantime, the established farmer
groups have bought two trucks to take their
produce to markets, set up new packing facilities,
built protected cropping structures, and are now
coordinating supply directly with the retailers.
They have even developed and registered
a trademark, owned at the district level, to
capitalise on their success with leveraging safe
vegetable production techniques.
“If the sector can be successfully developed,
forecasts show that regions in Son La could
supply 50% of total consumption of temperate
vegetables during the six-month supply
window,” Dr Rogers says. “ There are gains
not only for consumer welfare, but also in
poverty alleviation and income generation for
smallholder farmers throughout the province.” n
More information: Dr Gordon rogers,
project leader, applied Horticultural research,
australia, email@example.com; Dr rodd Dyer,
research program manager (agribusiness),
Dr Gordon rogers (left) and Mr Duyên from the
ta niet village. Dr rogers heads an aciar project
that linked smallholder vegetable producers in
the northern Moc chau highlands with markets in
Hanoi. the highly successful project introduced a
'safe vegetable' production system that also exploits
climatic advantages to deliver temperate vegetables
when supplies in Hanoi are at their lowest during the
hot summer months.
aciar project: aGB/2009/053: improved market
engagement for counter-seasonal vegetable
producers in north-western vietnam
photo supplied by dr Gordon roGers
10/03/15 1:12 PM
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