Dutch potato to help lift up Vietnamese agriculture

The Dutch Vice-Minister of Agriculture and local authorities of Bac Ninh province visited an event in the field of the project “Growing out of poverty with potato” in Tien Du district, Bac Ninh on the occasion of potato harvest and delivery of training certificates to participating farmers.

“Growing out of poverty with potato” is 5 year PPP (Public Private Partnership) project (2014-2019) between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Fresh Studio (local project management), Agrico, PepsiCo Vietnam and Dutch Wageningen University. With the objective of setting an example of a sustainable value chain for high quality potato in Vietnam, the project has been implemented for two years and has acquired promising achievements. The event is the result of commercial production trials for two Dutch potato varieties, Markies & Rosagold, before putting in mass production.

Potatoes provide an interesting opportunity to improve food security, support pro-poor development and boost a healthy, diverse diet in Vietnam. Despite being richer in fibre, vitamins, and minerals than rice or wheat, with the production requiring less water and land, production and consumption of potatoes in Vietnam are still very modest. Potato has also been proved a profitable addition to the current crops planted by small-scale farmers in Vietnam.

Siebe van Wijk, Managing Director of Fresh Studio stated during his presentation: “The 5-year project stimulates supply, fosters demand, develops the value chain and initiates a structural policy dialogue to support a sustainable potato sector in Vietnam. The project is successful when the Vietnamese potato sector can compete with imports and supplies of both the domestic table potato market and the potato processing industry with a consistent volume of high quality potatoes”.

On the supply side, the project focuses on testing high-yielding varieties, training farmers and production advisors. After two years the project obtained among others the following achievements:

  • 2 high quality potato varieties were selected to be introduced in Vietnamese market.
  • Purchase, test and introduction of tractors, planting and harvesting machines.
  • 27 production advisers and 1690 farmers (70% female) were trained in potato production.
  • Farmers and traders were connected during a series of field activities, after which more than 648 supply contracts were signed.
  • Nearly 1000,000 consumers in the urban areas of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city were reached during awareness campaigns (online and offline) on nutritional values of potatoes and preparation modes.
  • To understand the demand, preferences and behaviour of consumers, 1000 consumers participated in consumer research.
  • The Potato Policy Discussion Platform has been formed and active with regular meetings and policy workshops.

Speaking at the event, Marjolijn Sonnema, Dutch Vice Minister of Agriculture stated:“As one of the world’s biggest agricultural manufacturers, the Netherlands hopes that our expertise will help Vietnam in enhancing food security, promoting sustainable agricultural production, increasing farmers’ incomes, and improving their livelihoods”.

With a smart approach and dedicated implementing partners, it is positive that the project will be able to build a robust system for potato sector which can sustain and flourish even after the project finishes. And the day when Vietnamese potato can compete with imports, supplying effectively for the domestic market will be in vision.

Fresh Academy training on Supply Chain Management and Business Development

The 4th Training of Trainers (ToT) course of Fresh Academy took place at Nong Lam University, Ho Chi Minh city from 6 to 10 June 2016.

The course started with an opening speech from Mr. Toine Hattink, Director of Studies, HAS University of Applied Science, the Netherlands. Compared to the previous courses in Da Lat, which focused on greenhouse cultivation techniques and management, this course focused on supply chain and business management aspects within the horticulture sector.

During the training week, the trainees were not only introduced to the concepts of supply chain management, but also given the chance to visit the biggest wholesale markets for vegetables (Binh Dien) and flowers (Ho Thi Ky) in Ho Chi Minh city. In Long An province, Lavifood was visited to study post-harvest management of fruits and vegetables. During the training course the trainees were required to build business models on different topics by making us of the Business Model Canvas approach. An economic expert from Nong Lam university was invited to act as an investor to assess the feasibility of business models that the trainees developed during the training and presented.

The training week was successful completed and trainees will work further on their business and supply chain assignments as part of their homework. The next training course is planned for November 2016 in Da Lat.

Fresh Academy: A practical knowledge and training institute

A practical knowledge and training institute to support the development of the agrifood sector in Vietnam.


Horticulture in Vietnam has been growing fast in the past few decades. While rapid economic and population growth has imposed a high pressure on horticulture production, there is still a large potential for productivity improvement for the domestic market as well as exporting but at the same time the concerns on food safety (overuse and miss use of agrichemicals, health risks for workers and consumers) also demand for effective solutions.

Growing conditions in Vietnam show a wide variation due to different climatic zones and altitudes. For example, Dalat’s high altitude and temperate climate is suitable for greenhouse production of ‘European’ vegetables and flowers whereas in the Red river delta horticultural production is very seasonal due to a huge difference between the very cool winter and hot humid summer. Thus, the Vietnamese horticultural sector requires application of modern technology and knowledge with a dedicated regional scope.

The Vietnamese governmental institutes are not very strong on practical and applied knowledge, especially on protected agriculture sector because their main scope is academic research and education. However, there is an increasing awareness and willingness to promote applied science and technology in regular education and practical training.

The Netherlands is the world’s second largest exporter of food and agriculture products, thanks to its modern and innovative technology. A number of Dutch companies have actively participated in Vietnamese agrifood sector and some of them include knowledge transfer in their normal scope, but an integrated and coordinated approach is still missing.

Fresh Studio, since long time, has seen the need to structurally invest in applied knowledge development in the Vietnamese agrifood sector. Fresh Studio actually has taken the initiative in stimulating (more) knowledge-to-knowledge cooperation through R&D and consultancy, building knowledge and skills in vegetable, potato and fruit supply chains. A partnership in horticulture between the Netherlands and Vietnam was launched in March 2013 (HortiViN) to pave the way for long term collaboration between the governments, academic institutes and companies in order to support Vietnam to become a major player in horticulture and address the aforementioned challenges.


Taking into account all above issues, the partners in the project decided to establish the ‘Fresh Academy’, a practical knowledge and training institute that supports the development of the Vietnamese agrifood sector towards a sustainable, healthy and upgraded industry, through sharing knowledge and skills in the production-, postharvest- and distribution stages of the supply chain.

The Fresh Academy aims to cover all primary agricultural produce of the whole country on the long run. However, for this initial project, the priority is on vegetables and ornamental products that are grown under protected and controlled environments.

Convention: Business opportunities in the Vietnamese agricultural sector

Would you like to do business in Vietnam? Visit the RVO convention on 9 September and connect with Vietnamese buyers from the flower-, fruit and meat sector in the Hague, The Netherlands.

During the convention you will receive information about the opportunities in the Vietnamese market. The convention will finish with a speed date session and a networking reception. The main language during the convention will be English.

Visiting Vietnamese buyers

From 6 – 10 September a group of Vietnamese buyers of agricultural products will visit the Netherlands. They would like to get acquainted with the Dutch food production system and they are actively searching for potential business partners.

The delegation consists of participants from the flower-, fruit and meat sector. The purpose of their mission focuses especially on the quality and food safety of Dutch agricultural produce. During the convention you will have the opportunity to talk extensively with the Vietnamese delegation.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports entrepreneurs with ambitions beyond borders. Together with the international-based entrepreneurs the Ministry aims to strengthen the Dutch trade- and investments position abroad. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) is responsible for the implementation.

RVO.nl organises this event together with the Dutch embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Focus on sectors

During the convention the focus will be on the following sectors:

  • Vegetables and fruit
  • Meat
  • Flowers, plants, bulbs and seeds


Vietnam is an upcoming market with a growing middle-class and spending pattern. There is a growing demand for higher quality food which is guaranteed safe and traceable. The Vietnamese consumer is ready to pay a higher price for this promise. The country is not yet in a position to produce their own safe food. They depend on countries where food safety is already guaranteed, such as the Netherlands.

Visit the RVO Dutch country page to learn more about Vietnam.


3 – 3.30 PM:

Welcome and registration

3.30 – 3.35 PM:

Opening word by mr. Arie Veldhuizen, Agricultural Councel Vietnam and Thailand, moderator

3.35 – 3.55 PM:

Introduction of the Vietnamese market with the focus on the agricultural sector by Ms. Sigrid Wertheim-Heck, Director Marketing and Business Development, Fresh Studio

3.55 – 4.10 PM:

Pitch about the Post-Harvest Network, Ms. Françoise van den Broek

4.10 – 4.25 PM:

Closing words by ms. Sara Knijff, Deputy Director European Agricultural policy and Food security (Europees Landbouwbeleid Voedselzekerheid)

4.25 – 5.30 PM:

Speed dating and network reception

You can register until 4 September at the latest for this convention. Register here

RVO (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland)
Prinses Beatrixlaan 2
2595 AL The Hague (Den Haag)

The Netherlands

Google Maps

Organising partners:
Dutch embassy Hanoi, Vietnam
Ministry of Foreign affairs
Ministry of Economic Affairs

Read more about the convention at RVO.nl (language: Dutch)

Adding knowledge to the chain

Within the framework of the Vietnam Facility, The Netherland Ministry of Economic affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, contracted Fresh Studio.

Together with Applied Plant Research from Wageningen UR, Van Hall Larenstein of the Wageningen University, and Dalat University, Fresh Studio was contracted to manage and implement a project entitled: ‘Adding Knowledge to the Chain”.

This project aimed to find tailored practical solutions for a number of serious problems faced by the market oriented vegetable sector of the Dalat region in Vietnam.

These problems relate to productivity and profitability constraints in vegetable farming, irresponsible pesticide use, over-abundant fertilizer use, farmer safety and consumer food safety. The current vegetable sector in the Dalat region has limitations in current management skills, decision-making, and in finding innovative solutions to address modern market requirements (such as sustainable production methods, food safety and off-season production).

The project managed to establish a collaborative model between farmers, Fresh Studio, market players, Dalat University, agricultural policy makers, and others, which continuously applies innovative R&D, and to promote sustainable and profitable vegetable farming in the Dalat region of Vietnam.

Successfully developed innovations included lettuce production under rain shelters during the rainy season, and bell pepper production in local greenhouses on risky husk-based substrate.