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.

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

Improve profits by properly sourcing mangoes and managing the packhouse

Seasonal production is one of the main problems causing unstable price throughout the year. Besides, the lack of management at the packhouse will lead to high post-harvest loss and reduce the ability to trace back once there is any quality problem.

Reckoning all these issues, the Mango Business School had organized a successful one-day training called “Mango sourcing & packhouse management” at Sao Mai Hotel, Dong Thap to strengthen the knowledge of cooperative’s and company’s leaders as well as local extensionists on 28th June 2023. The training is a capacity building activity operated under the Green Innovation Centers for Agriculture and Food Sector (GIC Vietnam) project.

The training was provided by both Fresh Studio’s sourcing expert in cooperation with a lecturer from Nong Lam University. The lecture covered comprehensively from managing raw materials at production stage to packing stage through 6 topics: building sourcing area and farmer system, planning and prediction the production volume, standard operation for a packhouse and how to manage and finally, quality control at the packhouse.

40 participants had registered for this course, whom came from a diverse background such as cooperative, company and local extensionist. Besides presentation, the workshop creates lots room for discussion through minigames and exercises. Most of trainees feedback the course is useful for their current works.

Shallot value chain analysis highlights key intervention opportunities

In Vietnam, the province of Soc Trang is famous for its shallots. Since a few years, however, it is no longer the shallot itself but the shallot farmers which are grabbing headlines across the country.

Most shalllot farmers are among the poorest people in the country. Increasingly unpredictable rainfall has lowered yields and changing market conditions have created demand uncertainty. Each year thousands of tons of shallots remain unsold. Soc Trang province is aware of the difficulties facing the sector and wants to provide support.

Fresh Studio was requested to support Soc Trang province in this process. In the first phase of the project, Fresh Studio conducted a value chain analysis to critically assess the issues faced by different stakeholders and identify opportunities for improvement, including:

  • High cost and inconsistent quality of shallot seed.
  • Unstainable shallot production practices.
  • Short storage period with high losses of consumption shallot and seed shallot.
  • Losing market share in the domestic market due to strong competition from cheap and year-round available Indian shallots.
  • Consumers like the Vinh Chau shallot, but are not aware about the heritage of Vinh Chau shallots and can only buy them a few months per year.

Based on the findings of the value chain analysis, a detailed action plan will be made to develop the shallot sector. Read more about our Soc Trang value chain analysis below or contact us for further information about this project.

Minister Koenders opens Dutch embassy in Myanmar

On Wednesday (12 October) Minister Koenders (Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands) opened the Dutch embassy in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). An unique moment because everywhere else in the world the Dutch embassies are closing down or at least decreasing the number of staff. But in Myanmar a new Dutch embassy is being established.

Furthermore, this was the first Dutch political mission to the new Myanmar government. The last political elections in November 2015 were the first elections in 60 years in which the leading party (NLD: National League of Democracy) was democratically chosen by a majority of votes. After 60 years of military rule, and hardly any focus on the development of the country and the people, the current government has a very challenging task but certainly shows the mentality to succeed.

Only two months ago the first Dutch ambassador arrived in Yangon. This changed the economic mission of the Netherlands in Myanmar into a more ambitious mission which results in having a Dutch embassy present in Myanmar. Surely this indicates the potential of Myanmar in general, and specifically in trade and the water and agro-food sector.

During his 3-day visit to Myanmar Minister Koenders had meetings with the private sector in order to stimulate and strengthen the economic relationships between the Netherlands and Myanmar. This is also something he stressed several times during his speech at the opening of the embassy.

For SAPA, these are encouraging and beneficial developments: the establishment of the Dutch embassy in Myanmar; the continuous strengthening of the economic relationships between the Netherlands and Myanmar; and finally the focus on developing and improving the agriculture of the new government.

Read more about the SAPA project:

Improving food security and livelihoods in Myanmar

SAPA is a Public Private Partnership project in which strengths are combined of European companies and knowledge institutions and local NGO’s and knowledge institutes active in the poultry value to chain …

Vitalising the Vietnamese potato sector: read the results of year 2

How to achieve food security, improved nutrition and accelerate sustainable agriculture in Vietnam? How to increase the income of small scale farmers in Vietnam? 

The ‘Growing out of poverty with potato’ project aims to tackle this challenge and sets an example by creating a value chain for a high quality and sustainable potato production system in Vietnam. Since its launch in 2014, the ‘Growing out of poverty with potato’ project made a great deal of progress. The results up to March 2016:

In summary

Supply

  • Field trials with 5 high-yielding potato varieties were successfully completed.
  • Potato production enhancing equipment, like irrigation systems and machinery to plant and harvest potatoes was successfully tested.
  • 950 farmers (of which 70% female) received a training certificate after attending 3 potato training modules regarding potato production.
  • Training of 14 potato production advisors was completed. Potato production advisors will visit contract farmers at least once every two weeks to assist them in optimizing their production performance.

Demand

  • Over 200.000 consumers were reached through awareness campaigns in wet markets and supermarkets in Hanoi and HCMC.
  • 400 consumers were interviewed to get more insight in their potato preferences.
  • Food labs: 400 consumers participated in the sensory evaluation of potato varieties.
  • 50 households prepared 4 selected potato varieties at home and provided feedback per potato variety.

Supply chain development

  • 10 field days were organized and attended by 6 traders and over 350 farmers.
  • 353 farmers signed contracts with traders to deliver potatoes.

Policy development

  • 2 meetings were organized with the Potato Policy Discussion platform
  • In cooperation with all partners, Dutch embassy, Vietnamese authorities and research institutes a policy brief was completed with recommendations to strengthen the Vietnamese potato sector.

For more in-depth information about the progress in year 2 of the ‘Growing out of Poverty’ with potato project and projection to year 3 kindly download the full newsletter of Year 2 below:

First milestones achieved for the development of a modern greenhouse sector

With the completion of 6 modern greenhouses an important milestone is achieved as part of the Transition Facility project “Accelerating the development of a modern greenhouse vegetable production sector in Vietnam”. Sweet pepper and tomato crops are planted and the first harvest is expected in October. The greenhouses will be used to train >700 farmers in modern greenhouse vegetable production.

The completion of 6 modern greenhouses is the result of a lot of preparation and efforts of various project partners and the 6 selected pilot farmers. Although this is a real milestone, the project activities don’t stop here. The next phase of the project involves the actual production in the greenhouses and knowledge dissemination activities towards farmers. Regular updates regarding the crop status and production results will be provided in future project updates.

Access to finance

To enable the pilot farmers to make the investment in modern greenhouse vegetable production the Rabobank Foundation signed an agreement with Sacombank to provide the 6 pilot farmers with a loan to finance their investment in the modern greenhouse hardware and the initial operational costs. After obtaining approval from the State Bank of Vietnam the loans were disbursed to the pilot farmers in April 2015.

Greenhouses

At Fresh Studio’s R&D farm a multi-span greenhouse (CMF ESPACE 9.60 M) with automatic ventilation and screening (SVENSSON XLS 50 F HARMONY REVOLUX) is installed. At the other 5 pilot farms a multi-span greenhouse (CMF ESPACE 9.60 M) with fixed ventilation is installed.

Climate control and irrigation

A climate control and irrigation system (PRIVA NUTRIFIT and MAXIMIZER) is installed at the Fresh Studio’s R&D farm to operate the new greenhouse. This system will also be used to collect climate data for the project partners.

Giá thể trồng cây

Grow slabs (with a mix of cocopeat, peatmoss and perlite) from BVB-substrates are imported to be used as substrate by the pilot farmers.

Varieties

5 pilot farmers decided to grow tomatoes (beef, normal, cocktail and cherry) and 1 pilot farmer decided to grow sweet pepper (red and yellow). The varieties planted are from Rijk Zwaan.

Fertilizer

YARA Vietnam made arrangements to enable the pilot farmers to buy the Kristalon fertilizer range.

Training materials

The first version of Vietnamese sweet pepper and tomato training materials is completed. For NFT lettuce, training material is being developed. Farmer training activities will start in September 2015.

Knowledge development

As a spinoff of this project a proposal to develop a practical knowledge and training institute that supports the development of the Vietnamese agrifood sector towards a sustainable, healthy and upgraded industry, through sharing knowledge and skills in the production-, postharvest- and distribution stages of the supply chain was submitted by HAS Hogeschool and granted by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. The name of the project is Fresh Academy Vietnam.

This development is a result of the collaboration with project:

Accelerating a modern greenhouse vegetable production sector

Modern greenhouse vegetable production can provide an innovative solution to meet the fast growing demand for high quality, safe and sustainable produced vegetables, which are year round available …

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