In the presence of Vietnamese and Dutch representatives of the public and private agribusiness sectors, Fresh Studio launched the Fresh Academy on Thursday October 5 in Ha Noi.
Dutch and Vietnamese knowledge institutions, supported by the industry, have been working together since 2015 on the design and establishment of the Fresh Academy. This includes the development of training programs, training materials, implementing and testing them by training the trainers. All this hard work has resulted in the start of actual operations of the Fresh Academy. The first commercial training courses in practical horticulture will be available from early 2018 onwards in Vietnam.
The agricultural sector in Vietnam, including horticulture, develops strongly. Still one of the shortcomings in the sector development is the lack of well qualified professionals who can manage farms, individual greenhouses and fields and provide technical support to growers. Not only horticulture production companies are facing problems in finding well qualified staff, but also companies providing inputs to the sector and successful farmers who are expanding their farms and need to recruit workers and supervisors to manage their growth. Although training for farmers and other participants in the value chain are occasionally offered under government schemes and donor programs, the Fresh Academy is the first training & knowledge center in Vietnam offering training courses continuously on a commercial basis within the agricultural sector. These courses aim to develop professional farm managers, supervisors, senior workers and local farmers. The practical approach used in these courses fill an important gap, which is indispensable to come to a sustainable and technically advanced agricultural sector in Vietnam.
For the horticulture training courses, the Fresh Academy brings together the best of two worlds: practical training courses and trainers from the best applied universities and horticulture schools in the Netherlands and Vietnam, and all experience and local industry insights from Fresh Studio who has been developing successful horticulture value chains in Vietnam for over 10 years.
Fresh Studio, the Dutch HAS University of Applied Sciences, Wageningen University & Research, Lentiz Course & Consult, Demokwekerij Westland, Kenlog b.v. and 4 Vietnamese universities (Vietnam National University of Agriculture, Nong Lam University, Da Lat University and Dong Thap University) have worked together since 2015 in a project, with co-funding of the Netherlands government, to lay the foundations for the Fresh Academy. From now onwards, the knowledge and training center will operate as a business unit of Fresh Studio. In order to support the development of training courses and to ensure solid embedding in the Vietnamese agriculture industry, the Fresh Academy works with strategic educational partners in Vietnam: Vietnam National University of Agriculture in Ha Noi and Nong Lam University in Ho Chi Minh City. Furthermore, the Fresh Academy has a strategic partnership with the Lentiz Education Group in the Netherlands for developing and conducting advanced horticulture training courses.
Whereas the first phase of the Fresh Academy will focus on courses in horticulture (vegetables and flowers), on the long term the training portfolio will cover other agricultural sectors such as fruits, arable crops (e.g. potato and corn), aquaculture, and animal husbandry. For each agriculture subsector, the Fresh Academy will form partnerships with the best applied universities and training institutes in the world to develop training courses which are relevant and value added to local conditions. The Fresh Academy also envisages to play a regional role in Southeast Asia, in which participants from neighboring countries can join the training courses and at a later stage potentially training courses in countries like Myanmar and Indonesia can be setup.