Sowing a bright future for economic development and women’s empowerment

There are great opportunities to increase vegetable production in Son La and through these vegetable value chains empower local ethnic women and increase their technical as well as their management skills.

Successful vegetable production starts with access to good quality seeds, seedlings and access to knowledge and technologies for more advanced vegetable production. Without ensuring that these points are well implemented and present locally it will be difficult to bring vegetable production chains to a higher level.

This project will enable access to good quality seeds, seedlings and knowledge and technologies for more advanced vegetable production to hundreds of local farmers and farmers groups, specifically targeting ethic women.

Project objectives

  • Establishment of a seedling production sector creating increased capacity, additional income and jobs for ethic women in Moc Chau and Van Ho, with further upscaling in other areas.
  • More professional vegetable production resulting in better quality vegetables, produced year-round, in compliance with Viet GAP and against a better cost price generating higher incomes for over 500 famer households in Moc Chau and Van Ho and other areas in Son La province.
  • Establishment of 13 successful agri-businesses led and managed by women.
  • Creation of new and stable jobs within the agriculture sector suitable for local women.
  • Increased capacity of over 350 local women in technical and management skills through extension services, field days and training sessions
  • Accelerate the development of an inclusive, sustainable and modern horticulture production sector in Son La province
  • Increased cooperation between the public and private sector to develop the horticulture sector in Son La providing women more choice to beneficially engage in agriculture.

Project donor

Project partners

  • Applied Horticultural Research
  • BvB Substrates
  • Royal Brinkman
  • Semillas Fito
  • Semences Gautier
  • Fresh Studio

Women as Inclusive Business partners

The initiative ‘Women as Inclusive Business partners’ from BoP Innovation Center and ICCO Cooperation supports the private sector in strategy development to better engage women in their value chains in low-income markets, ranging from producers to consumers.

15 good practices have been analyzed of Dutch and international companies, ranging from SME’s or cooperatives to multinational corporations. The practices illustrate ‘the secrets’ to build a successful business case; which benefits both companies and women. Fresh Studio actively took part in developing one of these successful business cases:

The Fruit Republic case

The Fruit Republic (TFR) is a Dutch owned company in Vietnam supplying international quality fruits and vegetables to both international and domestic customers. To expand its vegetable sourcing to North Vietnam The Fruit Republic involved in a vegetable value chain to facilitate access for small-scale vegetable farmers to urban markets in Hanoi.

These smallholder vegetable farmers in North Vietnam were not yet connected to formal retail chains in urban areas. The absence of proper planning, coordination, collection and storage and distribution systems for fresh vegetables were considered to be major bottlenecks to connect these vegetable smallholders to such higher value urban markets.

The vegetable value chain in which The Fruit Republic was involved was built on the extensive local experience of the Vietnamese company Fresh Studio. During the last 5 years they have developed successful strategies to improve the performance of Vietnamese fresh food producers in Vietnam and other Asian countries.

Results for women

  • 1.000 small-scale farm-households in four areas across Vietnam are offered sustainable livelihoods. Especially in the North, most producers are women. In the South, both men and women work on the farms.
  • The producers have stable supplier contracts and receive ongoing agricultural extension to improve their horticultural quality.
  • In the packing houses and fresh cut facility employs 106 women.

Results for business

  • Women take their work more seriously, have an eye for detail and work with precision.
  • Product groups with female leaders are the most entrepreneurial and successful.

Read more about the BoP Inc & ICCO initiative and all its cases


Source: BoP Innovation Center

Publication date: May 2015