Promoting Sustainable Shallot Farming in the Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta River is renowned for its shallot production in Vietnam. However, traditional farming methods have posed significant challenges to the environment and farmers’ livelihoods. The impact cluster: “Transition towards sustainable shallot value chains in the Mekong Delta” is aiming to build the sustainable shallot value chain in this area.

Farmers are open to more sustainable farming practices

As mentioned in the news report of VTV4, initially met with skepticism, innovative and sustainable shallot farming practices are gradually accepted by farmers. By encouraging farmers to try the drip irrigation, integrated pest management (IPM) and the new shallot variety named Maserati F1, farmers are convinced with the immidiate results: reduced water consumption, lower input costs, and improved crop yields.

Mr. Sang’s success story is not an isolated incident. Many farmers, hesitant at first, are now witnessing the positive outcomes of the new shallot variety and modern farming techniques. The project’s emphasis on farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing has proven to be a powerful tool in overcoming initial resistance and fostering a sense of community among the farmers.

A Collaborative Effort for a Sustainable Future

By transforming shallot farming practices, the project is contributing to a brighter future for farmers, the environment, and consumers. The collaboration between Fresh Studio, Can Tho University, Dutch agricultural experts, and local cooperatives exemplifies the power of collective action in driving positive change. By combining scientific knowledge, technological innovation, and community engagement, it demonstrates a holistic approach to addressing the complex challenges facing the agricultural sector.


The impact cluster: “Transition towards sustainable shallot value chains in the Mekong Delta” is funded by The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and consists of the following project partners:

  • Bejo Zaden
  • Groot & Slot
  • Royal Brinkman
  • BvB Substrates
  • Eurofins
  • Can Tho University
  • Fresh Studio

Launching Of Post Harvest Center For Vietnamese Fruit Sector And SOP Training For Mango Varieties To Extend Storage Time At SOFRI

To strengthen the value chain of mango production in the Mekong Delta, the ceremony for the inauguration of the Post Harvest Center for Vietnamese Fruit Sector and the training of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for mango varieties was held at the Southern Horticulture Research Institute (SOFRI). This event the establishment of the Post Harvest Center and SOP’s are part of the project: “Strengthening the mango value chain in the Mekong Delta” under the program Green Innovation Centers (GIC) for the agriculture and food sector (Vietnam country package).

Launching Of Post Harvest Center For Vietnamese Fruit Sector

The Mekong Delta region of Vietnam is renowned for its fertile lands and favorable climate, ideal for the cultivation of a variety of fruits, with mangoes being one of the most prominent. However, despite the abundance of produce, challenges in post-harvest management and storage have often led to significant losses in quality and quantity, thereby impacting the livelihoods of farmers and the overall value chain.

Recognizing the need to address these challenges, Fresh Studio, in partnership with GIZ through the Green Innovation Center initiative, embarked on a project to strengthen the mango value chain in the region. The establishment of the Post Harvest Center for Vietnamese Fruit stands as a testament to their commitment to fostering innovation and sustainable practices within the agricultural sector.

At the heart of the ceremony was the training of Standard Operating Procedures tailored specifically for key mango varieties In Mekong delta such as Cat Hoa Loc mango, Cat Chu mango, Tuong Da Xanh mango and Keo mango, aimed at extending their storage life. This comprehensive training program equipped participants with the knowledge and skills, including the post-harvest issues such as sap burn on mango, anthracnose control and stem rot prevention and how to implement best practices in post-harvest handling, storage, and transportation.

Over 100 participants consisting of scientists, agricultural officers from the Plant Protection Department, companies active within the fruit sector , cooperatives and farmers, joined the event. The event featured insightful discussions, practical demonstrations, and hands-on training sessions, ensuring that participants gained practical insights that could be directly applied in their operations.

The collaboration between Fresh Studio,, GIZ, and SOFRI underscores the importance of public-private partnerships in driving sustainable development initiatives. By leveraging expertise, resources, and networks, these organizations have paved the way for transformative change within the agricultural landscape of the Mekong Delta.

The Post Harvest Center for Vietnamese Fruit serves as a hub for knowledge exchange, research, and innovation, empowering farmers and stakeholders with the tools and technologies needed to optimize post-harvest practices. Through initiatives like these, the potential for value addition, market access, and income generation within the agricultural sector is greatly enhanced, ultimately contributing to the socio-economic development of rural communities.

As the ceremony concluded, there was a palpable sense of optimism and determination amongst participants. Armed with newfound knowledge and skills, they departed with a renewed sense of purpose, ready to implement sustainable practices and drive positive change within their communities.


The Green Innovation Centre Viet Nam is a country package of the Green Innovation Centres in the Agriculture and Food Sector (GIC) Program. This global program is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) within the framework of the special initiative ‘One world – No Hunger’. The GIC Viet Nam Project is jointly implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and GIZ.

Embracing Integrated Pest Management for Sustainable Shallot Cultivation

In a significant stride towards sustainable agriculture and enhanced crop health, the Impact Cluster Shallot project recently organized a comprehensive training program on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for shallot cultivation. This initiative, in collaboration with Fresh Studio and the Soc Trang Department of Crop Plant and Plant Protection, marked a pivotal moment for shallot farmers in the region, aiming at equipping them with advanced, sustainable farming techniques.

Integrated Pest Management: the holistic approach focused on sustainable pest control

The training saw the participation of 150 shallot farmers, who gathered to enrich their knowledge and skills in effective pest management, a crucial aspect of shallot farming. The presence of esteemed lecturers from Can Tho University further elevated the training, bringing in a wealth of expertise and research-backed insights into the IPM strategies tailored specifically for shallot crops.

Integrated Pest Management for Sustainable Shallot Cultivation

Integrated Pest Management is a holistic approach focused on sustainable pest control, minimizing the reliance on chemical pesticides while maximizing the health and productivity of crops. By understanding the ecosystem and the life cycles of pests, IPM allows farmers to implement strategies that are not only environmentally friendly but also economically viable.

During the training, participants were introduced to a variety of topics, including the identification of common pests in shallot cultivation, the use of biological control agents, cultural practices to prevent pest outbreaks, and the judicious use of chemical pesticides as a last resort. Practical sessions provided hands-on experience in monitoring pest populations and implementing IPM strategies effectively.

A Glimpse into the Impact Cluster Shallot Project Training

This initiative is part of the broader objectives of the Impact Cluster Shallot project to enhance the sustainability and profitability of shallot farming in the region. By adopting IPM, farmers can significantly reduce their input costs, minimize environmental impact, and produce healthier, more resilient crops. This not only benefits the farmers themselves but also contributes to the well-being of the community and the ecosystem at large.

The enthusiasm and engagement of the participants underscored the growing awareness and willingness among farmers to adopt more sustainable practices. The training provided them with the tools and confidence to transition towards IPM, promising a future of more sustainable, productive, and environmentally friendly shallot cultivation.

As the Impact Cluster Shallot project continues to unfold, its emphasis on education, collaboration, and sustainable agriculture practices sets a precedent for similar initiatives worldwide. The success of this training program highlights the critical role of knowledge transfer and capacity building in transforming agricultural practices and ensuring food security and sustainability for future generations.

Tropical hybrid shallot variety Maserati gaining traction in Vietnam

The successful introduction and adoption of the hybrid tropical shallot variety Maserati by Vietnamese shallot farmers in the Mekong delta is a crucial component of the impact cluster: “Transition towards sustainable shallot value chains in the Mekong Delta”. 

The first successful harvest of Maserati in Vietnam

To demonstrate the added value of Maserati over 15 demonstration fields with local farmers were established to collect data to quantify yield and other agronomical performance indicators of Maserati and to showcase the results to local shallot farmers.

The first harvests of the new shallot production season started this month (January 2024) in Tra Vinh and Soc Trang province.  An ideal moment to check and compare the performance of the tropical hybrid shallot variety Maserati in the field by teams of Bejo, De Groot & Slot and Fresh Studio and to organize the first fields days of the season to showcase Maserati to local shallot farmers.

Figure 1. First harvest of Maserati of the new shallot season in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam.
Figure 2. Excellent colour and bulb size of Maserati.
Figure 3. Inspection of field with Maserati by Bejo, Groot & Slot and Fresh Studio.

First demonstration fields being harvested showed higher yield results and larger average bulb size of Maserati compared with the local shallot variety. Especially mini bulbs produced from Maserati seeds earlier in the year, showed very good results. On pungency and taste Maserati scored at least similar or better compared to the local shallot variety.

Most important is however that shallot farmers are enthusiastic about Maserati. During the field days organized at 2 different locations this was clearly the case and farmers showed their interest in planting more Maserati for the coming season. Through direct cooperation with local shallot farmers, cooperatives and traders the project partners will further upscale the production of Maserati seedlings and mini bulbs for the next shallot season.

Figure 5. Mr. Dung from Bejo Vietnam presenting Maserati to shallot farmers.

Exciting possibilities await in 2024

Directly after the Vietnamese New Year (TET) celebrations the project will continue with further training activities and field days in the shallot production areas. Besides highlighting Maserati other topics, such adaptation of innovative and sustainable production practices, such as sprinkler or drip irrigation, irrigation decision support tools, fertilizer application advise, and integrated pest and diseases management will be addressed.

Figure 6. Happy impact cluster shallot partners at Maserati demonstration field.

After TET marketing activities to support the sales of Maserati in the market will also start. As local shallot traders in Vietnam have the tendency to try to control the market or are conservative, they are often not very eager to try to develop a new variety. Through marketing activities more market demand and linkage with the end market will be created to stimulate local shallot traders to prefer buying Maserati over local shallot varieties.


The impact cluster: “Transition towards sustainable shallot value chains in the Mekong Delta” is funded by The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and consists of the following project partners:

  • Bejo Zaden
  • Groot & Slot
  • Royal Brinkman
  • BvB Substrates
  • Eurofins
  • Can Tho University
  • Fresh Studio

Study Tour Mango Sector in Thailand

From 14 – 18 January 2024, Fresh Studio organized a study tour to the mango sector in Thailand for Vietnamese partners in the project: “Strengthening the mango value chain in the Mekong Delta” under the program Green Innovation Centers (GIC) for the agriculture and food sector (Vietnam country package). A delegation of 18 representatives from cooperatives, companies, and agriculture officers partnering in the project joined the study tour.

Study tour mango sector Thailand

The valuable experience exchange of Vietnam and Thailand in mango cultivation

The study tour to Thailand is one of the project activities to enhance collaboration, share knowledge, and enhance the capabilities of the project partners regarding the production and post-harvest management of mango fruits and gaining a better understanding and ideas how to further develop mango value chains in the Mekong delta of Vietnam.

The heart of the study tour revolved around visits to mango farms in Thailand. Participants had the chance to witness firsthand the innovative techniques employed by Thai farmers to grow mangoes successfully. These farms served as living classrooms, enabling the delegation to learn about various aspects of mango cultivation, such as pruning, soil management, pest control, and the application of fertilizers. Engaging with local farmers allowed the participants to gain practical insights and ask questions directly related to the challenges they face in their mango cultivation endeavors.

The exchange of knowledge was a two-way street during the study tour. The representatives of the project partners joining the study tour had the opportunity to share their own experiences and expertise in mango production in Vietnam. This mutual exchange enriched both parties, fostering a collaborative environment where best practices from different regions could be combined for the benefit of all. The interaction with Thai farmers was not limited to the fields; it extended to discussions on market trends, post-harvest handling, and the overall mango value chain.

One-of-a-kind study tour for mango innovators

One of the highlights of the study tour was the visit to the Fruit Research Institute at Kasetsart University in Thailand. Participants were given an exclusive insight into the latest advancements in mango breeding programs. The institute showcased ongoing research and development initiatives aimed at enhancing mango varieties, improving disease resistance, and increasing overall crop productivity. This segment of the tour provided a valuable platform for the participants to explore potential collaborations in research and development within the mango sector.

Study tour mango sector Thailand - Fruit Research Institute at Kasetsart University in Thailand

The study tour included a visit to Rachen Farm, a leading mango producer in Thailand. Participants had the opportunity to learn about pre and post-harvest practices that contribute to the production of high-quality mangoes. This aspect of the tour covered topics such as optimal harvesting techniques, de-sapping, hot water treatment, transportation methods, storage conditions, and packaging practices. The firsthand exposure to these advanced practices equipped the participants with valuable insights that can be implemented in their own mango cultivation processes back home.


The Green Innovation Centre Viet Nam is a country package of the Green Innovation Centres in the Agriculture and Food Sector (GIC) Program. This global program is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) within the framework of the special initiative ‘One world – No Hunger’. The GIC Viet Nam Project is jointly implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and GIZ.

Fresh Studio In Cooperation With SOFRI Provides Sop Training On Mango De-Sapping And Hot Water Treatment

Mangoes are a beloved tropical fruit enjoyed worldwide for their succulent sweetness and vibrant flavors. However, ensuring the quality and shelf life of mangoes post-harvest can be a significant challenge.

SOP Training On Mango De-Sapping And Hot Water Treatment

Training on standard operating procedures

In an effort to address this issue and reduce post-harvest losses, on November 6, 2023 Fresh Studio Innovations Asia and the Southern Fruit Research Institute (SOFRI) within the Strengthening the Mango value Chain in the Mekong Delta, a component of the Green Innovation Center for the Agriculture and Food Sector have come together to conduct training on Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for mango de-sapping and hot water treatment for 50 project members who come from cooperatives, companies and representatives of DARD in Mekong Delta.

This collaborative initiative aims to empower mango cooperatives and companies to implement effective post-harvest handling techniques, ultimately increasing the shelf life of mangoes and reducing waste.

De-sapping, the process of removing latex and other exudates from the fruit’s surface, and hot water treatment, which helps control the sap burn and common post harvest disease such as anthracnose and stem rot diseases, are two critical steps in maintaining the fruit’s condition and ensuring it reaches consumers in optimal form.

De-sapping and Hot Water Treatment

The training sessions offer a wealth of knowledge and practical techniques to improve mango post-harvest handling, benefiting mango cooperatives and businesses in the process. Implementing these SOPs can extend the shelf life of mangoes, allowing them to be stored for longer periods and reducing post-harvest losses, which is especially important for cooperatives and business seeking to reach wider markets.

The participants are highly appreciated the knowledge transfer and useful SOP to be applicable into their production. Empowering mango cooperatives and companies with these techniques is an investment in the future of the mango industry, ensuring that consumers can enjoy high-quality mangoes while contributing to the economic growth of the regions where these fruits are cultivated.


The Green Innovation Centre Viet Nam is a country package of the Green Innovation Centres in the Agriculture and Food Sector (GIC) Program. This global program is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) within the framework of the special initiative ‘One world – No Hunger’. The GIC Viet Nam Project is jointly implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and GIZ.

Mango Sales and Marketing Training Course – Mango Business School

On Thursday and Friday 19 and 20 October 2023, the Mango Sales and Marketing training course was organized as part of the Mango Business School training program in Long Xuyen city, An Giang province.

The training was organized in cooperation with Dr. Tai Pham (research lecturer from FPT School of Business and Technology). With 50 participants from various organizations from the public and private sectors, the training was well attended.

Mango Business School is an initiative of the project “Strengthening the Mango Value Chain in The Mekong Delta” a project implemented under the Green Innovation Centre Viet Nam country package to enable stakeholders throughout the mango value chain to successfully implement identified innovations to enhance their business in terms of sustainability, climate change resilience and profitability.

The purpose of Mango Business School is to increase the knowledge capacity of key staffs of cooperatives, companies, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and other actors in the mango value chain.

During the Mango sales and marketing 6 main topics were covered:

  1. Introduction about Marketing Communication
  2. Digital/Online Marketing for Small-Scaled Enterprises
  3. Neuromarketing
  4. Introduction about Social Media
  5. Podcast
  6. Real Experience Sharing from 1 successful farmer applying digital marketing to promote traditional cultural farming cultivation of IFC (Innovation Farming Co.op).

Although most participants were aware about sales and marketing, they had limited to no experience on applying sales and marketing strategies as part of their mango business. The trainees were, therefore, eager to learn more about sales and marketing strategies and how to apply these in their business.

Through the training setup, covering fundamental principles as well as real life examples the trainees could associate with the trainees could enhance their knowledge and understanding on applying sales and marketing strategies.

Mr. Tung, Director of Tan Thuan Tay Cooperative from Dong Thap province was happy to share that “Thanks to the Project, thanks Dr. Tai Pham, lecturer & facilitator from Australia to provide to all participants, especially the cooperatives the practical and helpful training & education opportunity, acknowledge the latest information and trends on modern marketing, easy to apply into real and direct operation of cooperatives. I think that the training and lesson organized is the starting point for a revolution of Mango marketing in the Mekong Delta Region.


The Green Innovation Centre Viet Nam is a country package of the Green Innovation Centres in the Agriculture and Food Sector (GIC) Program. This global program is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) within the framework of the special initiative ‘One world – No Hunger’. The GIC Viet Nam Project is jointly implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and GIZ.

Transition towards sustainable shallot value chains in the Mekong Delta

Maybe unknown to many but shallot is one of the key vegetable crops in the Mekong Delta, generating one of the highest income contributions per m2 and month. One of the most important production areas for shallot in Vietnam, is Vinh Chau district in Soc Trang province in the Mekong Delta.

Shallots are a crucial source of income for farmers and workers, who mostly belong to the Khmer ethnicity. Poverty incidence among the Khmer, are one of the highest in the Mekong Delta. For those Khmer who have been able to switch to shallot farming, this has been one of the few pathways to grow out of poverty. Just the shallot sector in Vinh Chau district created jobs for about 70,000 Khmer.

Collecting shallots after harvest from the field (picture: Fresh Studio®)

High use of ground water

Although shallot has been an important crop to reduce poverty among the Khmer, the current farming system is putting pressure on the environment, as currently large amounts of ground water is used to produce shallots in an inefficient way.

Based on data collection by Fresh Studio, the volume of ground water being used for one shallot crop cycle being cultivated on 1,000 m2 is estimated to be 220.5 m3. The volume of 220.5 m3/1,000 m2 per crop cycle, means 2,205 m3/ha per crop cycle. If we multiply this number times the 6,000 ha of shallot cultivation in Vinh Chau, this means that in the main shallot season an estimated 13,230,000 m3 of ground water is used for shallot production. This is equal to 189,000 m3 of ground water per day for 70 days, which is an enormous amount of water.

There are two key reasons for this high use of water:

  • Inefficient irrigation methods
  • At least one to two crop cycles to produce the shallot bulbs used as propagation material, before the main shallot crop is grown. These shallot bulbs cropping cycles for propagation material also require quite some water.

The extraction of ground water for shallot production leads to land subsidence in Vinh Chau district. Land subsidence makes the Mekong Delta more vulnerable to the rising sea levels and accelerates salinization.

Irrigation by hand of shallot crop in Soc Trang (picture: Fresh Studio®)

Current irrigation method

That farmers mainly use ground water, through their own drilled wells for irrigation water is confirmed by a study among 90 farm households in Vinh Chau district in Soc Trang Province, of which 85% use groundwater from drilled wells during the dry season. Unfortunately, this groundwater is then used in an inefficient way, mainly delivered in buckets, whereby only 20% of the irrigation water reaches the crop, according to the head of the Soc Trang department of irrigation (Vietnamnet, 2013). 

This current inefficient irrigation methods, are confirmed by a study by Can Tho university with sprinkler irrigation on shallots in Vinh Chau. This improved irrigation system resulted in a 43-59% reduction in water use and an income increase of 20% (Hong Minh Hoang et al, 2016).  The Asian Development Bank in a paper published in 2017 also identifies the implementation of high efficiently irrigation systems (HEIS), such as sprinklers and drip irrigation, as a key strategy to reduce the amount of water used per kg of crop produced. 

Bringing these technologies to smallholder farmers in the Mekong Delta would be an important innovation and one that would be supported by government policy, which has recommended that HEIS be adopted more widely.

Shallot bulbs

Currently farmers produce their own shallots bulbs as propagation material, to produce consumption shallots in the December- March period which they sell to traders.

To produce these shallot bulbs, they use a part of the harvest of the December – March, and then plant those shallots bulbs again in very high density to produce bulbs as propagation material to be used for next season. They produce the shallot bulbs as propagation material in the Feb-April period, after which they need to store the shallot bulbs till December of the new production season.

During this storage period from April till November about 30-40% of the shallot bulbs stored as propagation material for the next shallot production season, will be lost (mainly due to Fusarium). As a result of losses, many farmers produce yet another shallot bulb crop in November – December, using additional water without increasing productivity.

In addition to significant post-harvest losses and the high costs to produce the shallot bulbs as propagation material, the shallot bulb production also has the big disadvantage of propagating diseases, thereby reducing productivity in future harvests as well.

Tropical hybrid shallot variety

A new tropical hybrid shallot variety (Maserati) developed by the Dutch seed company Bejo Zaden B.V. enables shallot farmers to produce shallots from seeds.

Maserati is based on the genetic material of the Vinh Chau shallot and therefore has the same appearance and taste. These shallot seeds can be sowed directly in the field or first used to produce shallot seedlings, which are then transplanted in the field to produce shallots. Because these true shallot seeds are hybrid and will be guaranteed disease free, the farmer will get higher yields and a better pest and disease resistance.

In addition, they will not have to spend one or two seasons on producing and storing the shallots bulbs as propagation material. Even though the seed price might be higher, starting with hybrid shallot seedlings (produced from seeds), will have an enormous impact on increasing farm income and will halve their use of ground water for shallot farming.

Adaptation of innovative and sustainable production practices, such as sprinkler or drip irrigation, irrigation decision support tools, fertilizer application advise and integrated pest and diseases management to name a few will further increase the positive impact on farmer’s income, water use efficiency and reduce the agro-chemical footprint of shallot production on the environment.

Successful mini-bulb production from hybrid seed for early planting of next shallot production season. After mini-bulb production, shallot seedlings are produced in the nursery for the main shallot production season.

Impact cluster: combining technologies and knowledge

This is also an important reason why this impact cluster is formed, as just introducing hybrid shallot seeds to shallot farmers is not the optimal solution. The combination of the knowledge and technologies of the impact cluster partners enables the cluster to establish and introduce shallot farmers the system to start their shallot production from hybrid shallot seedlings.

The creation of nurseries specialized in producing hybrid shallot seedlings and mini bulbs provides an opportunity to generate additional income and jobs in the region. As part this project the following parties collaborate together:

  • Bejo zaden
  • Groot & Slot
  • Royal Brinkman
  • BvB Substrates
  • Eurofins
  • Can Tho University
  • Fresh Studio
Project meeting at Can Tho University

Project objective

The main objective of the impact cluster “Transition towards sustainable shallot value chains in the Mekong Delta” is to strengthen the shallot production sector in the Mekong Delta (Soc Trang province, > 6,000 hectares of shallot production), by introducing and making innovative Dutch production technologies and methods accessible for local shallot farmers, which will make shallot production more sustainable and profitable.

The impact cluster will further strengthen the adoption of these improved production technologies, by creating market linkages for the shallot farmers, so that a sustainable shallot value chain is developed.

Project activities

Through this impact cluster an important contribution will be made to address excessive and inefficient water use by shallot farmers in the Mekong Delta.

In the area of Vinh Chau district of Soc Trang Province, shallot farming is the second largest agricultural land use activity. This type of land use is contributing to one of the highest rates of subsidence in the Mekong Delta (Minderhoud et al, 2018), making the shallot sector a key contributor to reduced water security in the region. By increasing water use-efficiency, the extraction of ground water can be halved, which can help to reduce the rate of land subsidence. 

The main activities of the impact cluster to achieve the project objective are:

  • Demonstrating optimized irrigation strategy and water use efficiency
  • Demonstrating optimized shallot production technologies through hybrid shallot seedlings and integrated pest and disease management
  • Demonstrating optimized fertiliser application strategy
  • Field days to showcase improved hybrid shallot production technologies
  • Develop training programs in sustainable and improved hybrid shallot production for farmers
  • Capacity building shallot sector stakeholders
  • Creating market linkages of hybrid shallot producers with the domestic and export markets

GAP CU LAO GIENG COOPERATIVE PRODUCES THE FIRST BATCH OF DRIED MANGO BY SOLAR DRY DOME.

The Mekong Delta region in Vietnam has long been celebrated for its lush landscapes, fertile soils, and the bountiful fruit orchards that flourish in its tropical climate. Among the many fruits that thrive here, mangoes have stood out as a prized agricultural commodity. However, the journey from mango orchard to market-ready product often presents significant challenges, including issues related to fruit preservation, post-harvest losses, and quality control. This is where the Solar Dry Dome, supported by the GIZ organization through the Strengthening Mango Value Chain project, apart of Green Innovation Center for Agriculture and Food Sector in Vietnam (GIC) has emerged as a transformative solution.

Gap Cu Long Gieng Cooperative - solar dry dome

In recent news, the Gap Cu Lao Gieng cooperative in the Mekong Delta has successfully put the Solar Dry Dome into operation, marking a significant milestone in the region’s agricultural landscape. With the guidance of the Solar Dry Dome and the technology transfer facilitated by the Southern Fruit Research Institute (SOFRI) and Fresh Studio Innovation Asia Co. Ltd, the cooperative has produced its first batch of dried mangoes, setting a promising precedent for the future of mango farming in the region.

The Solar Dry Dome: A Beacon of Sustainable Innovation

The Solar Dry Dome is an innovative drying system designed to preserve the flavor, color, and nutritional value of mangoes while significantly extending their shelf life. It utilizes solar energy to gently remove moisture from the mangoes, transforming them into delicious and market-ready dried fruits. This eco-friendly approach not only reduces the carbon footprint associated with mango drying but also provides an affordable and sustainable solution to an age-old problem.

GIZ, in collaboration with local partners, recognized the potential of this technology to revolutionize the mango value chain in the Mekong Delta. Their support has not only made it possible for mango farmers to adopt this novel approach but also ensures a more sustainable and resilient mango industry in the region.

Technology Transfer by SOFRI: A Catalyst for Change

The Southern Fruit Research Institute (SOFRI), renowned for its expertise in tropical fruit research and post-harvest technologies, played a pivotal role in making the Solar Dry Dome project a reality. SOFRI’s technology transfer initiatives have equipped local farmers and cooperatives with the knowledge and skills necessary to implement this cutting-edge drying technology effectively.

SOFRI’s involvement is essential for the success of the project, as it ensures that mango farmers in the Mekong Delta can take full advantage of the Solar Dry Dome’s capabilities. Their expertise in mango cultivation, harvest, and post-harvest practices guarantees that the dried mango produced using this technology is of the highest quality, meeting international standards and satisfying consumer demands.

Unlocking the Full Potential of Mango Farming

The introduction of the Solar Dry Dome and the expertise offered by SOFRI, Fresh Studio Innovations Asia Co. Ltd have unlocked new possibilities for mango farmers in the Mekong Delta. With the ability to dry mangoes efficiently and preserve their quality, farmers can now access previously untapped markets, both domestically and internationally. Dried mangoes are not only a popular snack but also a versatile ingredient in various food products, including cereals, snacks, and baked goods.

Furthermore, this innovative approach has the potential to reduce post-harvest losses, which have traditionally plagued the mango industry. By decreasing spoilage and increasing the value of their produce, farmers can improve their economic well-being and create a more sustainable livelihood.

A Bright Future for Mango Farming in the Mekong Delta

The successful operation of the Solar Dry Dome in the Mekong Delta is a testament to the power of innovation, collaboration, and sustainable agricultural practices. With GIZ’s support and the technical guidance from SOFRI, Fresh Studio Innovations Asia, the mango industry in this region is poised for significant growth and transformation.

As more cooperatives and individual farmers adopt the Solar Dry Dome technology, we can expect an increase in the production of high-quality dried mango products, contributing to the prosperity of the Mekong Delta’s agricultural sector. The Solar Dry Dome is not just a technological marvel; it’s a symbol of hope for mango farmers in this region, offering them a brighter, more sustainable future.


The Green Innovation Centre Viet Nam is a country package of the Green Innovation Centres in the Agriculture and Food Sector (GIC) Program. This global program is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) within the framework of the special initiative ‘One world – No Hunger’. The GIC Viet Nam Project is jointly implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and GIZ.

SỬ DỤNG ÍT NƯỚC VÀ CHẤT DINH DƯỠNG HƠN TRONG CANH TÁC TẠI VIỆT NAM

The project consortium partners Ridder, Royal Brinkman, HollandDoor and Fresh Studio are pleased to announce that our project application under the Partners for Water program has been approved. Under the project name: “Improving water availability and safety through optimized irrigation and fertilizer application by hydroponic growers in Vietnam” the project consortium will establish 2 pilot locations to demonstrate the feasibility and advantages of re-using drain water to local horticulture farmers in Lam Dong province, which is the horticultural production center of Vietnam.

Before the application of this pilot project a thorough feasibility study was undertaken by the consortium, providing sufficient understanding and proof for which crops, and under which circumstances an investment in re-using drain water has the fastest return on investment.

In Vietnam a modern greenhouse sector is fast developing, especially in the highlands of Lam Dong Province, which is since decades the main production region of fresh vegetables and flowers for the densely populated urban Mekong, including Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). To prevent soilborne diseases and to increase productivity, greenhouse production in Lam Dong is shifting fast towards hydroponic greenhouse cultivation (out of soil, on a substrate) in which irrigation is combined with fertilizer application (fertigation). In terms of water efficiency hydroponic cultivation is much more efficient, however irrigation requirements are still significant. This project is unique as it unlocks abilities in both the fields of water safety and water security:

  • Water security: increasing water use efficiency to produce horticultural produce and thereby decreasing the water footprint of vegetables and flowers produced by saving 10 – 35% of irrigation water.
  • Water safety: greatly reducing the contamination of the environment (eutrophication) by avoiding leaching of nutrient rich drain water into the environment.

The rapid expansion of intensive horticulture production combined with irrigation practices and management which are not optimized, is putting pressure on the availability of sufficient irrigation water. The limits of available irrigation water resources are already reached. With increasing demand for fresh vegetables, this creates a risk for food security in some periods of the year. Using irrigation water more efficient and increasing the water use efficiency will enable the horticulture sector in Vietnam to grow in a sustainable manner, while ensuring food security and water availability in the future.

Picture of the greenhouse production area surrounding Da Lat city in Lam Dong province.

The re-use of drain water is not yet applied in Vietnam by local growers, while this is common practice in the Netherlands within the horticulture sector. Adapting the technologies applied in the Netherlands to be technically and economically feasible in Vietnam to re-use drain water makes this project unique and innovative. Especially the Ridder VitaLite system, which has not yet been applied by local vegetable growers in Vietnam. It may seem simple to copy the Dutch system and put it in place in Vietnam, but it is certainly not as simple as that. The systems to re-use drain water have been developed and have evolved over 40 years. Access to knowledge and companies providing services related the re-using of drain water are readily available in the Netherlands. This is, however, not the case in Vietnam. To introduce re-use of drain water successfully in Vietnam a holistic approach is required. For example, the Ridder VitaLate system which disinfects drain water, will not work if there is not a well working drain water collecting system collecting and transporting the drain water to the Ridder VitaLite system. The system also requires adaptations in monitoring and adjusting the fertilizer application program, to prevent that crops will not perform up to their full potential.

Schematic overview of re using drain water (source: Ridder) and the project partners.

To demonstrate and convince horticulture growers (main beneficiaries) to invest in this technology we will establish a pilot project, where 2 systems to re-use drain water with the Ridder VitaLite are established with local growers. Through these 2 pilot systems we will:

  • Test the system on a commercial scale and eliminate any unforeseen issue
  • Quantify the results of drain water re-use e.g. crop performance, water savings, fertilizer savings (water footprint) of crops grown and return on investment
  • Demonstrate the Ridder VitaLite technology enabling drain water re-use to 500 – 750 growers stimulating adoption of the technology by local growers
  • Create awareness of authorities of the benefit of re-use of drain water
  • Enable upscaling and commercial application of re-using drain water by Vietnamese growers
  • Develop a leasing construction for growers who are unable to make the investment themselves

The long-term objective of our pilot project is that the re-use of drain water becomes common practice in the horticulture sector in Vietnam. This will support the development of a more sustainable, environmentally friendly and more efficient horticulture sector as re-use of drain water will greatly improve the water use efficiency and prevent contamination of the environment (eutrophication) through leaching of nutrient rich drain water into the environment. At the same time re-using drain water will reduce the production costs and make Vietnamese growers more cost efficient.

For more information about this project please contact:

René van Rensen

The Partners for Water program is implemented by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) on behalf of the Ministries of Infrastructure and Water Management, Foreign Affairs, Economic Affairs and Climate and Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.

For more information see: www.partnersvoorwater.nl

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