Dutch and Vietnamese research institutions and companies joined forces to establish Fresh Academy, a practical knowledge and training center for the horticultural sector in Dalat in Vietnam.
Last week, 28 trainees from across Vietnam received training in Dalat, Vietnams’ horticulture region. The training focussed on practical knowledge and training skills in the area of indoor growing. This so-called Train-the-Trainer (TtT) program will have a timeline of 1.5 year.
The agriculture sector in Vietnam including the horticulture shows a strong development and offers opportunities for Dutch businesses. One of the shortcomings in the sector development is the limited practical and applied knowledge. The Fresh Academy project, with a duration of 2 years, will contribute to the knowledge provisioning by building a foundation for a horticulture training centre for training and demonstration.
The Train-the-Trainer program is an essential element of the project. The program educates trainers who then instruct and familiarize horticulture entrepreneurs, company employees and trainees about sustainable and technical advanced horticulture. The Fresh Academy project elaborates on horticultural projects and experiences of Fresh Studio in Vietnam gained in the past 10 years.
A unique consortium consisting of HAS University of Applied Sciences (project leader) and Wageningen UR/PPO, Lentiz Course& Consult, Demokwekerij Westland, Kenlog b.v. and Fresh Studio has joined forces to establish the Fresh Academy. In addition, 4 Vietnamese (agriculture) universities are involved in the development of the Fresh Academy.
Besides Dalat, the Fresh Academy will be operating in the North (production area of Hanoi) and the South (close of HCMC) of Vietnam. Currently, the project partners Demokwekerij Westland and Kenlog b.v. collaborate intensively with local horticulture sector specialised in flowering plants in the Mekong province Dong Thap.
In early December 2015, Fresh Studio was contracted to organize “Vietnam Fresh Produce Value Chain” study tour. The delegation consisted of 17 participants from both public and private sectors in horticulture.
The key objective of the study tour was to provide the delegates with insights into value chain development for fresh produce for the domestic market. When working with perishable products, it is vital to understand how and where in the chain the ‘value added’ can be created. Other issues such as training farmers, quality assurance and marketing of value added products should also be taken into consideration during the value chain development process.
Therefore, Fresh Studio organized a travel workshop along horticulture value chains that were started in 2008 in Dalat and have over the years expanded to the Mekong Delta, and until now developed into a sustainable business supplying fresh produce for urban consumers in Vietnam. During the seven-day study tour, the delegation traveled to three main horticulture production areas in the south of Vietnam. The group was accompanied by agronomists, QA specialists, marketing consultants and the company’s directors who supported the delegates to achieve the study goal.
The delegates visited HCMC peri-urban farmer areas and the modern and traditional wholesale and retailers in HCMC.
In Dalat, the delegates visited various vegetable/fruit/flower farming systems (from low tech, mid-tech to high tech farms) and the Fresh Studio R&D farm. In addition, the study tour participants also went to several traditional and modern vegetable packinghouses.
In the Mekong delta, the tour participants visited the modern fruit and vegetable processing facility of The Fruit Republic (TFR) Company in Can Tho and a successful fruit export sourcing system in Vinh Long province.
After the study tour, the knowledge of vegetable production and supply chain of the delegates has been improved greatly, especially on the knowledge of Vietnam vegetable production that can be applied in other SEA countries. Apart from learning activities, the delegates also enjoyed Vietnamese food and culture.
What supply chain challenges do Southeast Asian Food Ingredient companies face? How to optimise your supply chain management to export successfully to the European market? During a Supply Chain Management workshop Fresh Studio shared knowledge, experience and criteria companies should focus on to improve their supply chain.
Following the successful training courses held in Vietnam in Hanoi and HCMC later last year, Fresh Studio was contracted by the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands to train Food Ingredients companies in Southeast Asia in Supply Chain Management (SCM). The SCM workshop, a highly practical and interactive training course, was designed to help Food Ingredients Companies to improve their supply chain in order to export successfully to the European market.
The first training was held at the Ministry of Trade in Jakarta, Indonesia in April 2015 with over 40 participants representing CBI companies and Indonesian ministries (Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Industry). The training did not only focus on principles of SCM but also gave the opportunity to analyse and evaluate the supply chain of participating companies. More importantly, concrete action plans were made. Success stories of for example The Fruit Republic, a company exporting Vietnamese fruits to European market, were used to demonstrate the possibility of EU market penetration for small and medium enterprises from Asia.
In June 2015, the second SCM training was conducted at Davao City Chamber of Commerce, the Philippines. Top managers of CBI companies in the Philippines attended the 2-day training workshop. Although business activities and product specialties differ between the Philippines and Indonesia, CBI companies from both countries share common limitations in supply chain management, covering from sourcing, quality assurance, certification and packaging to marketing. This second workshop also achieved the same level of success as the previous ones.
Comments of some participants about the workshop: “Now I realise that our knowledge on SCM was so limited at the start of this workshop. We have a lot to do when I am back. I learned that all departments in the company need to better coordinate if we want to improve our supply chain and to expand our export to Europe”.
“My knowledge and experience in SCM has improved substantially after the 2-day training course. I will request a meeting with all departments in the company to analyse our SCM issues. For me, the ultimate goal is to make an action plan involving all important actors in the company’s supply chain and to make it a success story”.
As part of the CBI Food Ingredients Export Coaching Program (ECP), Fresh Studio provided a two-day workshop on Supply Chain Management (SCM) in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City for pre-selected high potential food ingredient business ranging from honey, spices to tea.
The aim of the SCM workshop was threefold:
to create awareness of the importance of SCM in order to become successful in the EU market
to increase the knowledge of workshop participants on supply chain management
strengthen the capacity on the requirements of European markets.
The workshop was in collaboration with Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) and the Center for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI).
During the workshop Mr. Siebe van Wijk (Managing Director of Fresh Studio) provided insights in the flows, forces, dynamics, evolutionary path and the key functional processes in SCM. The subjects were illustrated with different case studies in the field.
Important message of the presentation was: “Companies who want to export to EU market need to understand their chain and they should be able to control it.”
“This workshop was a good chance for me to learn about supply chain and value chain methodically. The games and case studies during the course were very meaningful and applicable. I will bring back and apply these useful knowledge to my company”
In order to adapt the information and to improve the SCM of each participating business the flow of information was interspersed with (group) assignments. By analyzing their own supply chain, companies were challenged to identify and share their strong and weak points and to turn issues into working solutions.
Participants analyzing their supply chain during the workshop in HCMC
Besides insights in SCM, Mr. Richard de Boer (Managing director of Control Union) provided information about his company services: certification, inspection and warehouse monitoring services. A much appreciate presentation for the food ingredient businesses, since quality is a frequent issue and the standards of the EU market for agricultural products is high.
The workshop was an effective platform for the food ingredient businesses to gain knowledge about SCM, to make the issues in the chain more transparent and to learn from each other.
“I hope that the knowledge I gained in these 2 days will help my company to become successful in the CBI program and to penetrate the EU market”