Introducing new standards ASC and GLOBALGAP for pangasius in Tra Vinh

Fresh Studio is contracted by GIZ to develop an ASC & Globalgap certified smallholder pangasius (catfish) farmer group in Tra Vinh Province.

The assignment started with an extensive analysis of the gap between the current fish farming practices and the new standard of ASC for pangasius, as well as the GLOBALGAP standard. While most pangasius fish farms in the Mekong Delta have developed into quite large very intensivebusinesses, the Tra Vinh pangasius smallholders have developed a different but sustainable production system.

The Tra Vinh model is less intensive, fish are healthy, and can be seen as a “cradle to cradle” scheme. Indeed, outlet waters are often use for irrigation of fruits and coconut gardens , and mud for fertilization. We believe that this farming system deserves market for those consumers who care about sustainability and quality, instead of disappearing into a bulk commodity pangasius product.

Based on the gap analysis a detailed plan was made to assist the smallholders to comply with both the ASC and GlobalGAP standard, one of the most important steps in this process was to first screen Vietnamese pangasius processors/exporters and European importers, in order to link the pangasius farming smallholders to those parties who are keen to buy and sell sustainably produced fish. These parties need to be willing to invest into the training of the farmers and to take over the whole extension and Internal Control System (ICS) after the first phase of the project is finished. Various companies were screened and very interested companies were selected to join the program.

On September the 17th and 18th a successful workshop was organized by Fresh Studio in Tra Vinh, where all pangasius small holders, the fisheries association, GIZ, local governmental departments and the selected companies came together and agreed on a detailed work plan, formalized into a MoU. All parties openly shared their hopes and fears and strategies were developed to deal with some of the fears.

The coming six to nine months the fish farmers will go through an intensive training program and a ICS system will be developed.