Vegetable farmer extension program in Moc Chau yields encouraging results

MOC CHAU – Bringing vegetable farmers together, with different techniques and farming styles, and comparing their performance among each other, will lead to improved yields, higher quality produce and increasing farmers’ income.

The weekend before the conference ‘Supplying the market of tomorrow’, a delegation from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) participated in a farmers’ exchange meeting with three farmer groups in Moc Chau organized by the Northern Mountainous Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NOMAFSI), Hanoi University of Agriculture (HUA), Fruits and Vegetables Research Institute (FAVRI) and Fresh Studio.


With over 40 farmers present, the meeting focused on the three largest vegetable products supplied to Hanoi by the farmer groups during the past season: French beantomato, and white cabbage.





Farmer’s exchange meeting

Location: Tu Nhien, Moc Chau

Date: 18 November 2013

Download: English Tiếng Việt


Opening up
Ms. Vu Thi Phuong Thanh (agronomist, Fresh Studio) started the meeting by giving a general introduction comparing the production area, assortment and volumes of vegetables sold under the project in 2012 and 2013. Ms. Thanh shared that “the total production area increased more than four times: from four hectares in 2012 to eighteen hectares in 2013. Moreover, the total volume sold to Hanoi retailers by the three farmer groups reached 155 tons from May to October this year.”


Comparing farm performance
After the introduction presentation, the farmers were split into smaller discussion groups according to crops (French bean, tomato and white cabbage) they produced,

In each group, every farmer’s performance was discussed and compared within the group. This analysis was made possible through farmer record keeping which were encoded in the MonQi database – a software Fresh Studio uses in its extension program to analyze farmer performance and benchmark farmer’s performance with each other.


The comparisons were used to fuel the discussion among farmers to answer questions like “What caused the differences in yield?” and “Why one farmer earned more than the other?” Farmers were very eager to share with fellow farmers how they grow their crops and how they think other farmers can improve their crop performance.


Farmers have a lot of experience, but hardly compare actual figures of their own farm with other farmers. Putting them in a group to show them the performance of their own farm and how their farm compares to other farmers in the same group is very useful to learn from each other.


After the group sessions, FAVRI shared with the farmers the results of the post-harvest trials that they conducted. Transportation of vegetables by plastic crates proved to give the best results both on product quality and temperature management as compared to nylon bags and carton boxes.


The success of the 2013 season is yet another milestone in developing the vegetable sector of Moc Chau. The Moc Chau district is only a four-hour drive away from Hanoi making it an excellent regional alternative to supply temperate vegetables during the summer months of May to September.

Farmers’ friend

HCMC – A scientist and his wife are helping to put Vietnam agriculture on the world map by raising standards through innovative methods.

If someone asked you to list a few brandnames of Vietnamese fruits or vegetables, how would you respond?

When I met Dutchman Siebe van Wijk recently in HCM City, he posed that question. Embarrassed, I conceded that I could not name one single brand, although I knew my mother could cite a few.

“No worries,” replied van Wijk, founder and general director of Fresh Studio, a consultancy company that has worked to develop value chains for Vietnamese agricultural products since 2006.

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Source: Outlook Magazine

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Training farmers in the METRO Requirement standard

DALAT – Fresh Studio has given the first out of 20 training workshops to introduce the METRO Requirement standard to about 500 vegetable farmers in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam.

The METRO Requirement standard was developed by Fresh Studio within the framework of a project with Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam. To assure the quality of its vegetables, Metro Cash & Carry has invested in a state-of-the-art distribution center in Dalat, and in a direct farm sourcing program. To assure quality and basic food safety, Fresh Studio developed the METRO Requirement standard in such a way that after intensive coaching, Vietnamese smallholders will be able to meet this standard. After a first introduction about METRO Requirement to about 500 farmers, a smaller group of farmers were selected to become dedicated long term suppliers for METRO. Through an intensive extension program, these farmers will be assisted to fulfill the METRO Requirement. This long-term investment should result in a growing market share for METRO Cash & Carry in the domestic vegetable market, so that it can add an increasing number of farmers to its program.

During the training workshop, Ms. Mathilde Thuy of Metro Cash & Carry elaborated on Metro’s activities and the project in Lam Dong Province. After this, Fresh Studio’s Uyen Nguyen explained to farmers in an interactive workshop, what the requirements for the Metro GAP system are. After a presentation on food safety hazards during daily activities (such as spraying pesticide application), the farmers were challenged to use their own experience and knowledge to carry out a risk assessment.

After the workshop all farmers received a workshop participation certificate and a gift box. Using the gift box, farmers could immediately start implementing lessons from the workshop. The box contained, among other items, soap bars to remind farmers about hygiene lessons from their training – hands must be kept clean to prevent micro-biological contamination of fresh vegetables. The box itself can also be used to store pesticides securely.