Viewpoint: Vietnam Assessment Mission, September 2016October 24, 2016
Vietnam: TA8163 Assessment Mission September 2016.
The first round of LOA implementation in Vietnam are designed in 8 projects under LOA funding modality under TA-8163, which located in both Red River Delta and Mekong River Delta provinces of the country. These activities include policy development, innovative researches and studies for application and practical supports to develop demonstration farms in the fields, focusing around the theme of promoting food safety and climate-friendly agriculture. These included projects related to lowering carbon/GHG, IPM/ICM training, e-traceability of fat-bred chickens, organic farming of vegetables, uses of bio-char/composting and the promotion of dairy and livestock for Khmer women via use of agro-residues and advanced technologies.
Among the projects visited around Hanoi included organic and green farming by women farmers and another group of women using a local Vietnamese rice variety with reduced chemical fertilizer/herbicide application. Livestock farmers of Khmer origin and chicken breeders were also visited in Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong River Delta. These various pilot projects are backstopped by various government institutions which ensured the initial project goals were met, the processes involved were monitored and documented and the potential for replication and /or scale up could be done including the transfer of the technology to the farmers.
When asked the farmer beneficiaries, mostly women and men farmers welcomed the projects as they brought aspects of food safety with reduced use of agro-chemicals, planting of organic vegetables using PGS, or facilitated the traceability of livestock (chicken) at farm level that may help them to better access the market.
For example, in the development of the e-traceability system, which in the pilot was applied to a group of farmers in a chicken cooperative, allowed the actual monitoring of the chickens in terms of vaccines, anti-biotics, if any and feeds as well as identified the actual source farm/household, which is in compliance with VIetGAP, a reputable food safety standard in the country nowadays. The data is stored in a database and any consumer or buyer can scan the QR code. The chickens after being slaughtered are also branded as native chicken. This builds up consumer protection and provides an assurance of safe food for the public.
Another good example from the LOA assessment was the biochar study as it systematically combined levels of bio-char with reduced levels of chemical fertilizers in different formulas to see what formula would yield the most efficient results for different crops. The study was also able to provide empirical findings showing the contributions from the biochar.
What makes these pilot projects interesting is that a systematic effort was made to use already available concepts and technologies and to subject them to rigorous study and application with the view to developing a system to transfer the content and process to the target beneficiaries and eventually for wider replication within the sector or society. All this within the lens of widening market access and facilitating gender inclusiveness among the beneficiaries.
Besides, some significant impact was even achieved with simple techniques in the agro industry, the urea treatment for rice straw to serve as good source of feedings for dairy cow. The LOA partner is successful in bringing in to the community, where located the ethnic minority farmers with very low literacy rate and capacity, and where we can prove both economic and environmental benefits. From no farmers aware of this before the project, when the project finished, 70% of the farmers used this practice.
The multi-faceted strategy in the LOA projects ensured that the entire range of CASP2 activities were being reached in support of the vision that GMS countries be recognized for safe and environmentally-friend agricultural products for the global or regional markets.