By Wouter Pasman

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Sowing a bright future for economic development and women’s empowerment in Son La province, Vietnam through high-quality seedlings and greenhouse vegetables

29 July 2019


Fresh Studio is pleased to announce that it will support 13 female farmers in Son La province, Vietnam to establish 5 vegetable production greenhouses and 8 seedling production nurseries as part of the project: “Sowing a bright future for economic development and women’s empowerment in Son La through high-quality seedlings and greenhouse vegetables. This project is part of the Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture & Tourism (GREAT) program funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Fresh Studio started working in the mountainous Northern Vietnam province Son La in 2007 with the ambition to create in Moc Chau district a vegetable production area which can supply urban Hanoi during the hot summer months when vegetable production in the surrounding Red River Delta is practically impossible for temperate vegetables.


Since then Fresh Studio continued to work as part of various projects to develop vegetable production in Son La province, especially in Moc Chau and Van Ho Districts. Currently Fresh Studio is working in this area in close collaboration with Applied Horticulture Research and Nomafsi further develop vegetable production as part of the ACIAR project: “Improving livelihoods in Myanmar and Vietnam through vegetable value chains“.


This project led already to some great achievements, including direct linkage of local farmers groups with modern retailers, woman empowerment, introduction of new varieties and better production technologies, VietGAP certification and increased farmer incomes to mentioned a few. 


Still room for improvement

There are still points to improve the vegetable supply chain from Son La province. One point is that farmers don’t have access to high quality seedlings and another point for improvement is that farmers have limited access to modern greenhouse production technologies and cultivation advice. We even see that the wrong greenhouse production technologies are introduced, which result in very poor results.


Therefore, we are very pleased that in the coming 2 and half year we can directly work to improve these points within our project under the GREAT program. What makes this program literally really great is that it actively targets to empower ethnic minority women to take up a larger role in the vegetable production supply chain."


The ACIAR project ”Improving livelihoods in Myanmar and Vietnam through vegetable value chains” has proven that the production of vegetables diversifies and greatly increases farmer's income in Moc Chau and Van Ho. Furthermore, through vegetable production women and ethnic minorities can be involved in vegetable production value chains. Under this project  a first small nursery has been established in Van Ho. Results of this nursery prove the added value of good quality seedlings. In Lam Dong province which is the main temperate vegetable production area of Vietnam basically all vegetables are planted as seedling and farmers buy seedling from nurseries.



Happy first nursery operator 



Effect of improved technology: left current practice and right improved practice



Nursery in Da Lat



Grafting at nursery in Da Lat creating a lot of jobs



In Lam Dong province there is already over 4,000 ha. of greenhouse production and first greenhouse production trials in Son La province have proven that greenhouse production is also possible in Son La province and provides a lot of benefits. Establishing a high quality seedling production sector linked with improved (greenhouse) vegetable production technologies will create a lot of value for local farmers in Son La province and empower ethnic women to participate and benefit from these value chains.

Direct knowledge development

Through training, field days, direct extension services and enabling 13 female farmers to invest in 5 vegetable production greenhouses and 8 seedling production nurseries this project will provide access to technologies and knowledge enabling households and particularly women to connect and participate in the vegetable production value chain. With Fresh Studio’s extensive experience in developing horticulture value chains in Vietnam, experience in Son La province and through our partners we are very confident to realize these objective's.


This project will be implemented by an international consortium consisting of: Applied Horticulture Research, BvB-Substrates, Semillas Fito, Pop Vriend Seeds, Royal Brinkman and Fresh Studio.


The first project activities have started, and the first farmers have registered to establish a greenhouse or nursery. In the coming months we look forward updating you on the project results.


For more information regarding the consortium members see:

Applied Horticulture Research www.ahr.com.au  

BvB-Substrates www.bvb-substrates.nl

Semillas Fito http://www.semillasfito.com

Pop Vriend Seeds www.popvriendseeds.com

Royal Brinkman www.royalbrinkman.com 

Fresh Studio www.freshstudio.vn


For more information regarding the project contact:

René van Rensen

R&D Director Crops

Fresh Studio



For more information regarding the GREAT program see: http://equality.aus4vietnam.org/




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