Training Course On Mango Quality Assurance In The Field And The Packing House

On August 24th and 25th, 2023, the Green Innovation Centre (GIC) Viet Nam project, in collaboration with Fresh Studio Innovations Asia Co., Ltd., and Bureau Veritas Vietnam, organized a two-day training course in Cao Lanh City, Dong Thap Province, on mango quality assurance in both the field and the packing house.

The training was attended by 40 participants, including leaders of cooperatives and companies and officials from the Plant Production and Crop Protection Departments, Agriculture Extension Centers, and Agriculture Service Centers, from six provinces of An Giang, Can Tho, Dong Thap, Hau Giang, Kien Giang, and Soc Trang.

Consumer concerns about the quality, safety, and hygiene of agricultural products have made food quality a top priority in the food supply system. To maintain quality, a consistent quality assurance process is required, from the production stage in the field to the packing house, through a system of traceability and farmer management. This is especially relevant for fruits, such as mango, when cooperatives and companies want to enter the international market and gain more value in the domestic market.

The purpose of the training was to enhance the participants’ ability to manage the mango supply and operate the packing house to maintain high-quality mango for both domestic and international markets. The course covered standards from basic (food safety, VietGAP) to advanced (Global G.A.P, organic) for quality assurance in the fields and HACCP for quality assurance in the packing house.

The training was intensive, combining presentations, group discussions, and field trips to mango orchards and packhouses. After the trips, the participants presented their observations and suggestions to improve current practices for better compliance with the standards.

Minh, leader of Long Binh Agricultural Cooperative, shared, “The course brings valuable knowledge and broadens my horizon. Through group discussions and field trips, I can build more connections, learn from others’ experiences, and have a deeper understanding of VietGAP.

The training is one of the activities of the Strengthening the Mango Value Chain in the Mekong Delta, a component under the GIC Viet Nam project that 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.

As part of this component, specific trainings were organized for key staff of cooperatives, companies, the 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.

The GIC Viet Nam project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Improve profits by properly sourcing mangoes and managing the packhouse

Seasonal production is one of the main problems causing unstable price throughout the year. Besides, the lack of management at the packhouse will lead to high post-harvest loss and reduce the ability to trace back once there is any quality problem.

Reckoning all these issues, the Mango Business School had organized a successful one-day training called “Mango sourcing & packhouse management” at Sao Mai Hotel, Dong Thap to strengthen the knowledge of cooperative’s and company’s leaders as well as local extensionists on 28th June 2023. The training is a capacity building activity operated under the Green Innovation Centers for Agriculture and Food Sector (GIC Vietnam) project.

The training was provided by both Fresh Studio’s sourcing expert in cooperation with a lecturer from Nong Lam University. The lecture covered comprehensively from managing raw materials at production stage to packing stage through 6 topics: building sourcing area and farmer system, planning and prediction the production volume, standard operation for a packhouse and how to manage and finally, quality control at the packhouse.

40 participants had registered for this course, whom came from a diverse background such as cooperative, company and local extensionist. Besides presentation, the workshop creates lots room for discussion through minigames and exercises. Most of trainees feedback the course is useful for their current works.

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.

Irrigation efficiency and water use-efficiency in crops production

2021 April 16-17th Ho Chi Minh City

Twenty professors and researchers from universities, DARDs, TVET and research institutes will participate in a two-day training entitled “Irrigation efficiency and water use-efficiency in crops production”. This is one of several pieces of training offered by the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) Project “Towards a climate resilient nursery sector and value chains in the Mekong Delta through capacity building in the educational and government sectors”.

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 MD can be accelerated at the local level.

The main outcomes of the projects are :

  • Improved capacity of trainers and teachers, upgraded curricula and training materials applying interactive multi-disciplinary approaches in higher education (HE) and technical vocational education and training (TVET).
  • Establishment of an indoor nursery R&D facility for Pangasius to pre-nurse robust juveniles which deliver higher yields, and thereby added value to local farmers.
  • Enhanced knowledge & capacity on integrated adaptation strategies, climate smart agriculture (CSA) and efficient water management themes of support organizations within aquaculture & horticulture value chains

“The Netherland- Vietnam Strategic Partnership Agreements (SPAs) focus on technology and knowledge transfer in climate change, water management, sustainable agriculture and food security; the focus themes of this project. The Mekong Delta Agricultural Transformation Plan (MD-ATP) and VN Government Resolution 120 endorse agricultural transition toward vertically integrated value chains and a shift to modern agro-business specialization. The OKP NUFFIC project contributes directly to realize this vision through the transfer of essential technology, knowledge, and skills, “ said Mr. Willem Schoustra, Agriculture Counsellor, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vietnam

The supply of fruits and vegetables in the MD still cannot meet the increasing demand domestically and abroad. According to the World Bank (2016), the fruit demand in Vietnam will increase from 5 million tons by 2009 to 7 million tons by 2030. Vietnamese exports of fruit show ongoing growth. The capacity to produce diversified fruit types is an advantage of Vietnamese fruit when penetrating the world market.

In addition, the participation of Vietnam in trade agreements (CPTPP and EVFTA) brings great market potential for processed fruits due to big and rapid tax reduction commitments by member countries, especially compared to fresh and raw products. Freshwater supply, suboptimal groundwater tables and reducing agricultural lands due to salinity intrusion and rising sea levels has strong impacts on fruits & vegetables production in the MD. This requires efficient and climate smart water management strategies.

One of the most effective means to conserve water appears to be through carefully managed deficit irrigation strategies that are supported by advanced irrigation systems. Implementation of crop location strategies, conversion to crops with higher economic value or productivity per unit of water consumed, and adoption of drought‐ and/or salt-tolerant crops are discussed in academic research, however these strategies are still very limited in practice. This project will focus on filling this gap. Technical trainings on water quality management and irrigation efficiency for agricultural value chains will be developed and contextualized to close the gap between theory and practices.

Toward a climate resilient nursery sector and value chain in the Mekong Delta through the capacity Building in educational and government sector

We are uplifted with the success of the two-day kick off workshop for the Orange Knowledge Program project “Toward a climate resilient nursery sector and value chain in the Mekong Delta through the capacity Building in educational and government sector” campaign by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Fresh Studio, Aeres University, Has University and Nong Lam University are collaborated to promote the development of a climate resilient nursery sector & value chains in the Mekong Delta.

Fifty (50) professors, lecturers, extentionists and researchers from colleges, TVETs, DARDS, research institutes from Dong Thap, An Giang, Can Tho, HCM, Long An, Tien Giang, Soc Trang participate in this workshop and will continue a collective learning journey until 2022 and beyond!

Training for Pangasius and Tilapia farmers in Vinh Long and Dong Thap provinces

Aquaculture is a vital component of the social and economic tissue for many provinces in the Mekong Delta. In the riverine provinces of Vinh Long and Dong Thap, where nearly half of the national Pangasius production takes place, sustainable expansion of aquaculture is constrained by several factors. Among those, the lack of appropriate extension approaches, limited technological know-how, and variable input quality are very often stressed by local farmers.

Through the PAP “Powering Aquaculture Progress” project launched in 2013, De Heus together with its implementing partners Fresh Studio, Can Tho University and Wageningen University have envisioned the development a state-of-the-art R&D facility serving as a nexus in the Mekong Delta where innovations could be developed, tested and adapted to local conditions in collaboration with local farmers.

After 4 years of development, 2017 marked a new milestone with the first training sessions held at the facility.

Sessions featured stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds, including more than 100 Pangasius and Tilapia farmers, members of the De Heus’ Research and Sales team, local and international industry experts, and academics from Can Tho University.

Because project partners knew that farmers often find training programs irrelevant to the practicalities of their work, Fresh Studio conducted a field survey of farm practices among nearly 50 farms throughout the rainy season to identify knowledge gaps and understand the difficulties experienced during production.

The results from this survey helped select relevant topics and support trainers prepare adapted materials and methodologies.

Using the research conducted in preparation for the program, sessions led by Dr. Mahmoud Haidar and Mr. Nguyen Van Khanh from the De Heus technical team shed light upon the power of data application, and its potential value added on farm efficiency.

Fresh Studio team interviewing a Tilapia grow out farmer during the survey

Disease management, the topic most often requested by the farmers, was led by the renowned Dr. Tu Thanh Dung from Can Tho University. Dr. Dung emphasized the need for more thorough diagnostic procedures to treat the root causes of a disease. She also discouraged use of chemicals and pharmaceuticals as a primary treatment, describing the importance of preventive measures.

Before the workshop sessions, attendees were given to a tour of De Heus’ state-of- the-art R&D facility. This allowed the R&D team to demonstrate the systems and explain how their research could be applied in practice. Fresh studio was responsible for preparing the sessions and facilitating the workshops and Q&A sessions.

Demonstrating technologies applied during the tour of the R&D facility

Farmers were actively involved in the training by raising many questions during presentations and hour-long exchange sessions. The open speaking platform and small number of attendees at each session (15-25 individuals) gave farmers the opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics. These included vaccination, antibiotic resistance, seed selection, water quality management, and even emerging diseases.

For our partner De Heus, the opening of the R&D farm and the development of its own internal training program are key steps toward proposing services that should help address a wider range of issues facing producers in the region. Through these efforts, De Heus is beginning to establish itself as a major player in the aquafeed market and contributor to the sustainable development of fish farming in Vietnam.

Miss Tu Thanh Dung talking about disease prevention
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