Mango farming training related to the climate-smart agriculture in Dong Thap and An Giang

From 8 to 11 November 2022 as part of the Mango Business School activities under the Green Innovation Centers for the agriculture and food sector (GIC) project: ‘Strengthening the Mango value chain in the Mekong River Delta’, project partners were trained in mango farming strategies related to efficient fertilizer application, pruning strategy, anthracnose control and irrigation strategy. The training was provided by experts from Can Tho University, Eurofins, Loc Troi and Fresh Studio.

All trainees were actively involved in the various training sessions

During the training, trainees learned how to prune branches to create canopy properly, the demand and calculation of soil nutrients, the reasons for soil and leaf tests, calculation the amount of water required for mango trees, determine the appropriate time to irrigate through smart devices, and identify, treat anthracnose. The highly participatory approach of the training resulted that all trainees were actively involved in the various training sessions.

The knowledge and methods trained during the classroom sessions were applied by the trainees during their assignments. They experienced what they learned on the day of practice in the demo farm. It was very exciting for them to practice measuring soil moisture through modern equipment such as tension meter, electric sensor and compared with manual method. They also practiced taking soil and leaf samples and performing pruning and anthracnose identification. Compared with the theoretical study in class, the practical day helps them understand the knowledge deeper and have the plan to apply these advanced techniques to their orchards in the near future.

About the project

GIC Vietnam is jointly implemented by Ministry of agriculture and rural development (MARD) and GIZ and funded by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The project aims to promote sustainable Mango Value Chain in six provinces of the Mekong River Delta (MRD): Dong Thap, An Giang, Kien Giang, Can Tho, Hau Giang and Soc Trang by fostering innovations on mango value chains.

This project aims to increase the productivity and income of small-scale farming households, create new jobs and improve resilience of the mango value chains through implementation of climate-intelligent innovations.

Fresh Studio presents at the Asia Fruit Congress in Bangkok

Fresh Studio’s managing partner Siebe van Wijk will present about developing the horticulture sector of Vietnam during the Asia Fruit Congress in Bangkok on Friday November 4.

This presentation in Bangkok is exactly 15 years after Fresh Studio presented at the first Asia Fruit Congress in Bangkok in 2007. In Fresh Studio’s latest presentation, we will show how the Vietnamese horticulture sector is developing and what more investments are needed to make Vietnam’s horticulture sector more sustainable and successful in both the domestic and export market.

Traditionally policy makers often focus on developing the export sector, but with a domestic market value for fruit and vegetables of US$ 15 billion, the Vietnamese domestic market should not be ignored. Vietnam for example, already has become the 4th largest apple importer in the world.

In the domestic supermarkets imported fruits are taking over the shelf space from the domestic fresh produce. A study of Fresh Studio in 2018, showed that on average already 40% of the shelf space was occupied by imported fruits in HCMC supermarkets, and since then this number has only increased.

For sure a Vietnamese consumer would like to eat an apple or a grape once in a while, instead of a mango or a pomelo, but for the future of the Vietnamese horticulture sector it is crucial that it takes the domestic market very serious. Otherwise it may boast to have over US$ 1 billion of fresh fruit exports, but has lost a big chunk of its much larger domestic market to imported fruits from countries like Thailand and China.

In Fresh Studio’s presentation clear advise is provided for the public and private sector what to do to further professionalize Vietnamese horticulture sector.

Second Masterclass Saline Agriculture Vietnam | 26 – 28 October 2022

As a project partner Fresh Studio was pleased to be one of the trainers during the second Masterclass Saline Agriculture funded by ADB.

The training was organized in Ben Tre, where increasing salinity levels have a major impact on the local agricultural sector. Besides Ben Tre increasing salinity levels are a major issue along the coastal areas of the Mekong Delta. It is an important topic to address as it impacts millions of people depending on their livelihood production agricultural products in the region affected by the intrusion of salt water.

During the Masterclass Saline Agriculture, various innovative solutions to prevent and manage salt intrusion and production technologies enabling agriculture production under saline conditions were discussed.

With its extensive experience in Vietnam and horticulture production systems Fresh Studio trained the participants in production systems for tropical fruits and vegetables growing out of the soil and the economics to consider making an investment in such production system.

A third and final masterclass is planned for the end of November 2022.

The project partners of the project: Masterclass Saline Agriculture are:

  • Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP)
  • Mekong Delta Development Research Institute / Can Tho University (MDI/CTU)
  • Wageningen University
  • Nong Lam University
  • Southern Fruit Research Institute (SOFRI)
  • Southern Institute for Water Resources Research
  • Wageningen University & Research
  • The Salt Doctors
  • Witteveen+Bos
  • Eijkelkamp Soil & Water
  • Fresh Studio
  • Eurofins
  • SkillEd
  • Fresh Studio

Strengthening the Mango value chain in the Mekong Delta

The “Strengthening the Mango value chain in the Mekong Delta” project aims to enable stakeholders throughout the value chain to successfully implement identified innovations to enhance their business in terms of sustainability, climate chain resilience and profitability.

Agricultural production in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam is of great national and global importance for current and future food security as well as rural income. It is threatened by the consequences of climate change and the unsustainable use of water and agrochemicals. The smallholders of the Mekong Delta region are not yet able to access existing and developing innovations to ensure their business and income are secure. There even more difficulties in ensuring their production methods are environmentally sustainable. Limited access to innovation limits sustainable rural development and improved food quality and security.

An overview of the component “Strengthening the Mango Value Chain In The Mekong Delta”

The Vietnam country package is a part of their global project “Green Innovation Centre (GIC) in the Agricultural and Food Sector” of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) special initiative “ONE WORLD without Hunger”. It is carried out in six central provinces of the Mekong Delta: An Giang, Dong Thap, Can Tho, Tien Giang, Hau Giang and Soc Trang. The main project objective is to provide rice and mango smallholders with access to sustainable innovations to increase income, employment and food quality. The “Strengthening the Mango value chain in the Mekong Delta” project is implemented under the Vietnam country package.

Vietnam produces about 800,000 tons of fresh mango annually, of which about 500,000 tons are produced in the Mekong Delta, this accounts for 45% of the national share of mango orchards. This puts Vietnam in fourteenth place globally in terms of volume of mango production. The majority of mango produced is consumed on the domestic market. 170,000 tons of mango are exported, of which, 94% is unbranded and traded
across the Chinese border. The remaining share is exported to medium-high value markets in the Middle East, Russia, Asia-Pacific, and North America.

Mango Business School is an initiative of the component “Strengthening the Mango Value Chain In The Mekong Delta”. The purpose of Mango Business School is to increase the knowledge capacity of key staffs of cooperatives, companies, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and other actors in the mango value chain.

A more efficient, environmentally friendly and internationally competitive agricultural sector is required to improve exportation of mango products from Vietnam. Global and domestic demand for mango and other tropical fruits has increased due to a change in consumer diets and an increase in disposable income. Consumers are willing to pay premium prices for high quality fruits. This allows for the potential for uptake of innovation to improve the mango value chain and boost exports of fresh and value-added
products.

Value Chain Development Training – An Overview Of Market Development Approaches

After a successful first training session in August 2021, the Mango Business School continued to welcome the participants of Cooperatives, Companies, and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to analyze the mango market as well as discuss ways to utilize marketing tactics in exploring new markets and approaching new clients.

The training focused on 4 main activities, including (1) an overview of domestic and international mango markets; (2) an introduction to the importance and how to set up the marketing strategy; (3) a discussion panel with the participant of Hoang Phat and Central Group representatives on Marketing tactics and quality control; (4) Group assignment on analyzing different mango value chains.

The panel discussion was the spotlight of the morning section thanks to the honest sharing from both representatives of companies on current challenges related to B2B communication and the quality of mangoes.

The first 2 courses on Value Chain Development training were the foundations of upcoming sessions of Mango Business School aiming to enable stakeholders throughout the value chain to successfully implement identified innovations to enhance their business in terms of sustainability, climate change resilience, and profitability.

Strategic Partnership of the Horticulture Innovations Center at Vietnam National Agriculture University

On 22 September 2022 a strategic partnership workshop in relation to the activities at the Horticulture Innovation Center (HIC) established at Vietnam National Agricultural University took place. The HIC was established as part of the Nuffic OKP project: Enhancing performance of the horticultural sector in North/central Vietnam: educational, cooperative and value chain development.

During the strategic workshop the current activities at the HIC were showcased and future activities and opportunities for collaboration were discussed amongst the participants.

As a project partner Mr. René van Rensen of Fresh Studio was pleased to present its vision on the challenges related to horticulture production in Vietnam and the importance of applied research & development to overcome these challenges.

Mr. René van Rensen of Fresh Studio speaking at the workshop

The project partners of the Nuffic OKP project: Enhancing performance of the horticultural sector in North/central Vietnam: educational, cooperative and value chain development are:

  • Vietnam National University of Agriculture
  • Wageningen University
  • HAS – University of applied sciences
  • Lentiz – Course & Consult
  • Agriterra
  • Fresh Studio Innovations Asia

Value chain management and market linkages for fruits and aquaculture in Mekong Delta training

On 9 and 10 September 2022 Fresh Studio under the lead of our value chain development expert Mr. Siebe van Wijk organized the 2nd value chain management and market linkage training as part of the Nuffic OKP project: ‘Towards a climate resilient nursery sector and value chains in the Mekong Delta through capacity building in the educational and governmental sectors’.

During the training the trainee learned how to do a value chain analysis and which tools they can use to gather the insights of a current chain to be able to develop a value chain.

The highly participatory approach of the training resulted that all trainees were actively involved in the various training sessions. The knowledge and methods trained during the classroom sessions were applied by the trainees during their assignments and field work, including on site interviews with actors active within a water spinach and mustard chain.  The training activities accumulated in 2 groups presenting their ideas and approaches required to develop a water spinach and mustard value chain by the end of the training.

The OKP project is a Dutch-Vietnamese knowledge partnership project to promote the development of a climate-resilient nursery sector & value chains in An Giang, Dong Thap, Can Tho, Soc Trang, Tien Giang and Vinh Long, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands and managed by NUFFIC.

This project introduces scalable water technology pilots for the aquaculture and horticulture sectors to develop climate-smart value chains. The project international partners including Aeres University, Has University, Fresh Studio Innovations Asia and Nong Lam University work with local governments and educational institutions to enhance capacity so that adaptations to cope with transformation in the Mekong Delta can be accelerated at the local level.

Mango Business School officially start the first training on Value Chain Development

Mango Business School is an initiative of “Strengthening The Mango Value Chain In The Mekong Delta” – a component of the GIC Viet Nam aims to enable stakeholders throughout the value chain to successfully implement identified innovations to enhance their business in terms of sustainability, climate change resilience and profitability.

The purpose of Mango Business School is to increase the knowledge capacity of key staffs of cooperatives, companies, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and other actors in the mango value chain on key subjects including production, harvesting, packing, post-harvest management, quality assurance, sales, marketing, and management.

On 26 July 2022, the first training of Mango Business School was organized in Cao Lanh city, Dong Thap province with the participant of 43 trainees coming from Cooperatives, Companies and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The participants of the 1st training of Mango Business School

The full-day training provided trainees with informative approaches to value chain development in the Vietnam context. This introduction course provided a solid basis to start or further develop the mango value chains by discussing the 4 main topics: 

  1. What is value chain?
  2. Introduction to value chain thinking
  3. Mapping of the value chain
  4. Value chain analysis

The Value Chain is a business-oriented approach that aims to capture the best value at all stages of production, processing, and trading from farmers to consumers. The value chain approach can provide a holistic view of the production process, from raw materials to final consumption. This allows learners to identify areas for improvements in product and information flows via strategic alliances and networks, as well as relationship management. With this approach, producers can improve their market access while buyers access more reliable and improved raw materials.

Trainees are required to map the basic value chain based on their assigned role in the mango production process

The value chain approach can help government officials identify bottlenecks in the production process and which policies are needed to address these bottlenecks. The purpose of the training is to spark the understanding of the value chain approach and its importance as well as explain the principles and scope of the value chain and examine the priority areas for value chain development.

Group discussion on the value chain analysis

The training will carry out the 2nd part of Value Chain Development in September 2022 which will focus on getting to know Rapid Diagnostic Appraisal (RDA); how to apply these tools to specific cases; and ways of translating the value chain analysis into value chain development.

OKP Project resumes training activities in Vietnam

The OKP project is a Dutch-Vietnamese knowledge partnership project to promote the development of a climate-resilient nursery sector & value chains in An Giang, Dong Thap, Can Tho, Soc Trang, Tien Giang and Vinh Long, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands and managed by NUFFIC.

This project introduces scalable water technology pilots for the aquaculture and horticulture sectors to develop climate-smart value chains. The project international partners including Aeres University, Has University, Fresh Studio Innovations Asia and Nong Lam University work with local governments and educational institutions to enhance capacity so that adaptations to cope with transformation in the Mekong Delta can be accelerated at the local level.

After a successful two-day kick-off workshop and first training sessions in April 2021, unfortunately the training activities were limited to online sessions due to  Covid-19 restrictions. Although in-person meetings were restricted, Fresh Studio set up its fish nursery with an advanced water filtration system (RAS) from Alpha Aqua—an improvement over previous methods that greatly increased fingerling efficiency and water usage.

Fingerling R&D nursery established by Fresh Studio
Fingerling R&D nursery established by Fresh Studio

At the Nong Lam University, irrigation systems were installed. These systems enabled the university to train its students in applied research related to irrigation strategies and water use efficiency.

Irrigation system installed at Nong Lam University
Irrigation system installed at Nong Lam University

As the Covid-19 situation has eased the project partners are pleased that in-person training and other project activities can take place again in Vietnam. During the last 2 weeks, the groups focused on aquaculture and crops resumed training activities related to didactics and technologies related to climate-smart agriculture. The training was provided by experts from Aeres and HAS, focusing on didactics in combination with the local teams of Nong Lam University and Fresh Studio, focusing on technologies.

Aquaculture training week

The project resumed training activities were met with enthusiasm by the trainees, especially the training exercises in which the trainees were actively involved themselves. 

In the coming period the project will continue to roll out the planned project activities starting with another training session on irrigation in June and the 2nd value chain development training in September.

Jungle Talks to Vietnam

In the past year radio program “Jungle Talks to the World” has been putting the spotlight on horticultural developments around the world. This year, from May 6 onwards, it will continue with brand new episodes in English, discussing what’s going on in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) in 15 different countries. Vietnam is up first, an up and coming ‘Asian Tiger’ and a country that, also in horticulture, is putting itself on the map.

Agricultural Counsellor Willem Schoustra, along with Gerrit Bulk (general manager BeJo Vietnam), Hoshi Lin and Robert Wang (general manager en marketing manager at Royal Base / Apollo Farms) and Rene van Rensen (R&D Director Fresh Studio) will take the audience on an inspiring horticultural journey to a fascinating country.

Certain regions in Vietnam, especially Dalat, possess a great natural climate for the production of fresh produce. Labor costs are also attractive and labor quality is excellent. These factors among others, have stimulated the expansion of CEA in the past couple of years.  

On May 6, 16.00 hrs CET Ed Smit will introduce the four guests and the companies/organizations they represent. One week later, again from 16.00 hrs CET onwards, they’ll discuss four relevant themes that will give you important insights in Vietnam’s current situation and future outlook.

If you are interested in Vietnam, being a (technical) supplier, investor, consultant, trader, teacher or student, don’t miss these programs on May 6 and May 13 to get value insider insights in this fast developing country.

‘Jungle Talks to Vietnam’ is powered by Paprika Tasty Radio and Jungle Talks and supported by Netherlands Enterprise Agency. Following previous shows in Dutch, the program now continues in English and will also be made available as podcast. In addition, the shows will be offered to foreign radio stations as syndicate radio.

Tune in on Thursday May 6 and May 13 via www.paprikatastyradio.nl at 16.00 hrs CET.

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