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.