For one of our clients, Fresh Studio developed a simple, cash-based farm monitoring system and conducted a trial with four dairy farmers in Cu Chi District, HCMC, Vietnam.
In order to obtain better insights in farm economics and performance of individual dairy farmers, Fresh Studio developed a smallholder dairy farmer monitoring system. This will help farmers to improve their farm management.
In addition, the monitoring system will help farmers to get easier access to loans. There is currently limited access to finance for dairy farmers in Vietnam which causes difficulties to smallholders who want to scale up their operations. To provide access to loans for farmers, the financial performance of farms should be quantified. In this way dairy farmers can, for example, show banks how much free cash flow they are generating to repay a loan.
Fresh Studio developed a dairy farm monitoring system to quantify the actual cash that is generated with dairy farming in Vietnam. Furthermore, we give dairy farmers information on key performance indicators as average milk production per cow, costs per kg of milk produced and share of inputs on total costs.
In order for dairy farmers to comply easily with the system, it focused on actual input. Farmers recorded their inputs in a simple booklet that distinguished different types of inputs.
A trial with the dairy farm monitoring system is conducted with four dairy farmers in Cu Chi, HCMC. At the start of the trial the stock of all inputs was recorded. During the trial farmers registered their actual inputs as well as cash expenses in a booklet. Every two weeks (one period in the monitoring system) a Fresh Studio consultant visited the farmers to collect the booklets and at the end of the trial stock was recorded again.
Fresh Studio completed the trial with a farm report for each farmer which included the revenue/outputs and all expenses/inputs and summarized the (financial) performance of the dairy farm. In addition a benchmark was made which showed the performance of an individual dairy farmer compared to the group.
Upon request of one of world’s largest wholesalers we developed a private standard on good agriculture practices (GAP) with a specific focus on food safety.
The standard, guaranteeing full traceability from farm to fork, is tailored to two distinct fresh categories: vegetables and fish. Next a training program was designed and all actors along the production chain were trained in the implementation of the new standard. To date a team of Fresh Studio auditors audits the contracted farmers and suppliers annually. A random sampling program is being executed, continuously monitoring the correct standard implementation at farm level. Quality controllers check the incoming products daily at the client’s platforms (Hanoi, Dalat and Can Tho) for further distribution to all the stores in Vietnam.
Working with a multitude of small scale farmers was one of the main challenges in realizing consistent volume and quality supply. The close collaboration between agronomists and QA staff has proven vital in the realization of the QA program. This program is unique in Vietnam and sets our client aside from competition in terms of food safety.
A significant side effect of the standard implementation is that a whole village started to follow the example of the GAP farmers in keeping their fields and surroundings free of litter and waste.
Fresh Studio has successfully assisted one of the biggest fruit exporters of Vietnam in obtaining GLOBALG.A.P. certification for pomelo.
Our client is a fruit exporting company targeting both the Asian and the European market with a portfolio of Vietnamese fruits. With European retail channels requiring GLOBALG.A.P. our client requested our support for the implementation of the standard at a large number of Vietnamese contract farmers. Fresh Studio’s QA team first trained the QA staff and agronomists of the fruit company in the GLOBALG.A.P. standard. Next Fresh Studio assisted the QA team and agronomists of the client in training the contracted farmers. Given that GLOBALG.A.P. is not yet common in Vietnam, the Fresh Studio team went to great lengths to make the multiple farmers understand the importance of the international quality standard.
Parallel to working with the farmers, Fresh Studio’s QA consultant assisted our client with the development of their internal quality management system (QMS). Although this QMS system had to be developed from scratch and it was a challenge to convince farmers to make the necessary investments like building adequate toilet and storage facilities to comply with the standard, after 6 months of hard work the fruit company passed the GLOBAL G.A.P. audit.
Fresh Studio was contracted by GIZ and IDH to develop a Globalgap certified smallholder pangasius (catfish) farmer group in Tra Vinh Province.
Following an expression of interest by European stakeholders to source pangasius from Vietnam, in 2009 a Public Private Partnership (PPP) was initiated to develop more sustainable pangasius production systems that meet European market standards. The public partners in the consortium were the German Developing Agency (GIZ) and the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and from NGO side also WWF Germany and WWF USA participated. A large fish importer and a multinational wholesaler represented the private sector within the consortium. The project targeted its activities to three professional large scale Vietnamese pangasius producers as well as a group of small scale pangasius farmers. (Average 1,5 pond per farms).
For Fresh Studio, the mission was divided into several components. First, we assessed the discrepancies between existing production systems and the GLOBALG.A.P. and ASC standards. Later, Fresh Studio created an Internal Control System (ICS) for the group of small farmers, trained them in the implementation of the ASC and GLOBALG.A.P. standards and assisted them in maintaining their system towards the final audit.
After a period of standards implementation by the farmer group, the 4 first farmers received certification from Control Union for the GlobalGap standard early this year. It is expected that this group will grow and that the best performers among those farmers will be able to apply for an ASC audit. We would like to thank the Tra Vinh fisheries association for all their great efforts to make this project successful.