Fresh Academy Course for Rikolto in Vietnam: Capacity building for Inclusive Agricultural value Chains

Hanoi November 12-14, Fresh Studio/Fresh Academy conducted a three-day Training of Trainers (TOT) on Inclusive business for agricultural value chains for Rikolto staff in Vietnam and their projects partners including farmer cooperative leaders and local authorities in Rikolto’s rice and vegetable value chain projects. A diverse group of 15 participants came from Ha Noi, Ha Nam, Vinh Phuc, Dong Thap and An Giang.

The TOT is tailored designed based on the client’s needs and combined of theoretical and practical modules to enrich participants’ knowledge and skills that can be applied directly to their current projects. In the theoretical part, participants were exposed to concepts of supply chain management, business model canvas, inclusive business assessments, inclusive model development, impact planning and partnership brokering. In addition, for practice, group field visits were organized to different retail channels such as wet markets and supermarkets. Participants were able to see how the 4Ps of products marketing in reality, where values were added, and gathered lesson learned for their own specific projects. Information gathered from these visits were reflected in group exercises in which participants applied various toolkits to identify action plans for improvement of their value chains.

Training yields results

DALAT – Research and training initiatives are helping Vietnamese farmers produce year-round exportable crops.

Rene van Rensen, R&D manager at Fresh Studio Innovations Asia, speaks to ASIAFRUIT about some of the training projects it has been working on with Vietnamese farmers to help boost their profitability through good agricultural practices.

How does Fresh Studio work with governing bodies in order to maximise funding and other support for its training projects?

Rene van Rensen: For most production-related projects we organise farmer field days to present results and let farmers see these for themselves. At this tage we will also invite local authorities so that they can share the results in their network.

Currently we mainly work with funding from the private sector and national governements outside Vietnam. We would, however, love to make use of the funding Vietnam has received from, for example. the World Bank to implement practical projects at farmer level.

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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.