As part of the study program of the University of Dalat, Dan conducted a three months internship at Fresh Studio. “It was just a short time, but a wonderful experience.”
Choice for Fresh Studio
I found Fresh Studio by Internet. I wrote a motivation letter, in which I described my previous experiences, and applied at the company. I was so happy that Fresh Studio accepted my request.
Internship assigment My internship assignment was to make a ‘Green lolo trial’.
Furthermore, I had the opportunity to work with farmer at Suoi Thong B village in the Metro Requirement project. The first days, I was guided enthusiastically by Fresh Studio’s agronomists. I was introduced in the company and they informed me about the production process “Metro Requirement”. I also visited farmers in Dalat with the agronomists.
I started working at the Demo Farm. I provided different seed varieties, soil and fertilizers for testing green lolo. I worked with farmers, who produce safe vegetable in “Metro Requirement” project. I found this the most exciting part of the job. I checked their farm, noted their plants, fertilizer storage, pesticide storage… I experienced that farmers have multiple personalities; some are very friendly but some are very picky. But after some time, I was close to them. They shared many things about farming, crop and some things in life with me. My knowledge increased a lot.
Reflection Looking back at those 3 months, I have a lot of happy memories and unforgettable impressions. Fresh Studio is a professional working environment. People are very passionate about their work and we always made a lot of fun. When my internship ended, the company organized a farewell party. I was deeply moved.
At this moment, I am back in college to continue my education. If I think about past time, I feel so happy and grateful for the company. Fresh Studio is not only a company but a family. I will strive and study hard to have the opportunity to be a member of the Fresh Studio family again.
Moc Chau and Son La government agronomists and extension officers will start to join Fresh Studio, Northern Mountainous Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NOMAFSI) and Hanoi University of Agriculture (HUA) in the monitoring of farmers.
The farmers participate in the project: Improved market engagement for counter-seasonal vegetable producers in North West Vietnam. The engagement of Moc Chau and Son La governments is part of 1) handing over project activities to local stakeholders and 2) developing a certification system to produce and market Moc Chau vegetables under a trademark.
One of the objectives of the project is to evaluate the economic potential and improve the current supply chain model. This model is introduced in 3 villages in Moc Chau, Vietnam: An Thai, Ta Niet and Tu Nhien. In order to achieve this objective, farmers are participating in trainings executed by experts from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), NOMAFSI, HUA, Fruits and Vegetables Research Institute (FAVRI) and Fresh Studio. After 3 years, the supply chain model is working and getting stronger. Farmer groups are now supplying and coordinating directly to the retailers.
^ Reviewers together with project team inspect the fields of potential farmers
Initially, the project focused mainly on supplying Hanoi market with safe vegetables during the off-season (March-November). However, due to a constant volume and improving quality of Moc Chau vegetables, Hanoi retailers are more than willing to purchase vegetable from Moc Chau whole year round.
The project will continue to train and support the local stakeholders until 2015. For the coming months, strengthening the farmer groups in the 3 core project villages is top priority together with registration and implementing control and monitoring of the trademark and logo. By the end of the project, farmers together with the local government of Moc Chau and Son La province will take over and continue the activities in supplying certified Moc Chau vegetables under one certification trademark.
Dalat is an important region of high-quality vegetable production in Vietnam. The adaption of standardized methods and modern cultivation technologies by farmers in Dalat has led to the successful growth of clean and safe tomatoes, potatoes, and cabbages which are larger than the average size of vegetables. But is bigger always better?
Despite the successful growth of clean and safe vegetables, farmers and traders in Dalat encounter difficulties finding buyers for their production. Most Vietnamese consumers associate unusual large fruit and vegetables with products from China. Consumers are unable to distinguish high-quality vegetables from Dalat over Chinese vegetables, which lead to falsely accusing distributors of selling Chinese products.
This misconception of Vietnamese consumers is caused by the fact that a wide variety of Chinese produce (e.g. carrots, cabbage, potato, garlic, and ginger) is available in larger sizes compared to local produce and their quality and safety is often front-page news.
The suspiciousness of consumers creates a paradox for fresh food production form Dalat; the oversized products, produced by means of standardized methods and modern technology, are sold at lower prices than those of lower quality.
Promotion According to experts, the solution to this paradox is that Dalat high-tech produce growers should join forces to introduce these ‘giant’ products to consumers countrywide with the results that consumers will no longer mistake them for Chinese fruits and vegetables. “Growers should frequently launch programs to promote their products. It’s a pity that large Dutch-beef tomatoes are mistaken for Chinese tomatoes,” advised our representative of Fresh Studio in Dalat, adding that this proves that the promoting channels for Dalat produce should further improve.
This advice was supported by agriculture expert Le Huu Phan, who urged Dalat farmers to take immediate action to educate consumers across the country about their high-quality produce. “This should be done soon to prevent the reputation of Dalat vegetables from being damaged”.
Together with its projects partners, Fresh Studio is developing a Research & Development Aquaculture farm in Mekong delta. This innovative center is expected to bring the Vietnamese Aquaculture to the next level.
In Vietnam, the aquaculture sector started in the early 1960s with small scale extensive culture systems. The rapid growth of the sector during the last two decades has been a direct result of adapting intensive production practices mostly for exportable species. Vietnam’s aquaculture production increased from aroud 160,000 tons in 1990, to nearly 500,000 tons in 2000. After 2000, due to the development of the pangasius and shrimp industries, the aquaculture production has increased fivefold (just under 2.5 million tons).
Despite this enormous success of the aquaculture sector in Vietnam, there are quite a number of challenges in order to achieve a more sustainable growth of the sector. For example:
Reducing negative environmental impacts of farming, and especially water pollution and use of limited natural resources (fish meal)
Control diseases outbreak and limit the use of veterinary medicines and chemicals
Improve cost efficiency and productivity to be able to be competitive in the global market
Aiming to be major actors in the sector, Fresh Studio and projects partners (private sector and universities) are developing a Research & Development Aquaculture farm in the heart of Mekong Delta. At the start, researches area will be focused on innovations in:
Farm management Farming methods, including introduction of re-circulation systems
Aiming to be major actor of innovations in the sector, Fresh Studio and project partners (private sector and universities) are developing a Research & Development Aquaculture farm in the heart of Mekong Delta. This farm will be made of over 100 farming units from 200 liters to 2000 square meters. At the start, the area of research will be focused on innovations in:
Fish nutrition and feed management
New technologies in farming systems, including introduction of re-circulation systems
To ensure that the developed innovations will be adopted by the final user (the fish farmers), training and extension programs will be implemented, as well as demonstration trials all over the Mekong Delta with leading and influential farmers.
This innovative Research & Development Aquaculture center is expected to bring the Vietnamese Aquaculture to the next level.
For strengthening the partnership between CBI and Fresh Studio in implementation of export coaching programs (ECP) in Vietnam, two consultants of Fresh Studio attended a seminar on updated ICSR and the use of CBI market intelligence database from 28-29 January 2014 in the Hague, the Netherlands.
The seminar was organized by the center for the promotion of imports from developing countries (CBI), an agency of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The seminar provided insights on how the CBI market intelligence database is used for EU market research. Moreover, the participating experts were updated on international corporate social responsibility (ICSR) standards that are required for businesses that have the ambition to export to EU markets.
More importantly, the participation of over 30 experts from 24 different developing counties across the globe from Asia to Africa provided good opportunities for the participating experts to update and share their experience in implementation of CBI programs in their own countries, and establish their networking for future information and experience exchanges.
This type of CBI seminar is an effective platform for the experts from developing economies to be updated on ICSR developments and sharing experiences on the implementation of CBI programs across sectors and countries.
Presentation CBI CSR training in the Hague: Open as PDF (5,21MB)