Victor Benbakir: Discovering Vietnamese aquaculture sector

CAN THO – For this study I had to find a 6 months internship related to this main subjects and Fresh Studio has offered me the possibility to go in Vietnam to make this course.

I am Victor Benbakir a French student of 21 years old; I studied Bsc in sustainable aquaculture and quality management in the University of Savoie.

During my internship I was based in the fish department office in Can tho (one of the largest cities of the Mekong Delta). There the staff offered me the best welcome I ever had for all the internships I had made in my life and I was considered as a fully-fledged employee of the company.

The office in Can Tho was originally created for a continuous project for Metro (German supply company) which wanted to secures the fish chain supply for all the Metro stores in Vietnam. For this project Fresh Studio created a network of farmers, a standard named “Metro Requirement” and a fish transformation factory in Can Tho.

During the first month I had to get use to a totally different way to produce fish and learn the biology of the cultured local species. It was really a chock for me because I was use to work in modern farming system and it was kind a back in the time to see how the farmers grow the local species. I also didn’t know so much about these species (Snakehead fish, Knife fish, Climbing perch…) so it’s of course a plus for me now.

A part of my work was to go on the farms with the aquaculture consultants to check if the farmers respected the standard, give productions advices and also make some trainings for both farmers and consultants about fish farm management.

Then a new project came over in association with the De Heus Company (Dutch animal feed company), the creation of the first R&D services farm, and I have the opportunity to participate to it. I followed the creation of the farm and its design. I made some research with the consultants about all the devices needed for a R&D farm and used the data from the productions farms to find out what type of interesting research could be done on this farm.

Thanks to this internship I had a very concrete discovery of the aquaculture sector in the South Vietnam; it was also my first professional experience in a large company so it allows me to discover it. Furthermore I had the opportunity to work on a big project which is difficult when you’re only an intern in France or in Europe…

Moreover I visited many amazing places, meet a lot of very welcoming people and discovered the real Vietnam which is I think difficult to do when you only go for tourism here. I want to thanks Fresh Studio again for this great opportunity, I will remember this internship for a long time.

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Preparing Vietnamese companies for GlobalGAP, BRC and ETI certification

HCMC – In the past few months the portfolio of clients contracting Fresh Studio for quality assurance assignments has been growing rapidly.

Fresh Studio now assists several clients in developing their QA systems to comply with the following standards: BRC, GLOBALGAP, Ethical Trade Initiative standard (ETI) and HACCP.

These QA projects cover a variety of products, ranging from fruits, fish, and vegetables to special packaging materials used by the agricultural sector.Also interesting to read:

Fresh Studio attracts attention of both the Vietnamese as well as Dutch press

HANOI – The work of Fresh Studio in Vietnam attracted the attention of both the Vietnamese and Dutch press.

Fresh Studio’s director, Siebe van Wijk, was interviewed by both Vietnam’s leading newspaper, “Tuoi Tre”, as well as the Dutch financial newspaper “Het Financieel Dagblad”. The article in Tuoi Tre can be found here:

The article in het Financieel Dagblad can be found here: Also interesting to read:

Dutch young man blowing fresh air for Vietnamese agricultural products

HANOI – In his story, Siebe van Wijk always used images to illustrate such as: farmers on the paddy field, harvester in green house, fish seller in the market.

All of these images contain a poor life, a smile, sad eyes and lament when there products are broken or reject. The young Dutch man talks about agricultural product of Vietnam as if it was the story of his family.

6 years ago, when he for the first time visited Vietnam, he fell in love with this country because there were quite some similarities with the Netherlands. For example by doing so well in agriculture, produce the value to feed the people, and the very high population density. Despite being a small country the Netherlands manage to be the second largest country in the world in terms of the value of exports of agriculture products, with a value of about $ 50 billions. Like the Dutch, Vietnamese like business, earn money, become the owner and develop. Each household farmer want to have progress, take risks, effort to get rich… but quite a large majority is still poor.

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Source: Tuoi Tre News paper

Publication date: April 2010Also interesting to read:

Exciting Vietnamese consumers with the best avocados from Vietnam

DAK LAK – Fresh Studio and several local partners are implementing a two year program to professionalize the avocado agricultural sector of Vietnam.

The best avocados in Vietnam come from Dak Lak Province, where about 250,000 avocado trees are grown. After an extensive supply chain analysis, all actors in the avocado sector were brought together and an action plan was developed.

One of the main activities was the creation of a consumer awareness campaign to grow the domestic market demand for avocado. Another important activity was to create a higher quality avocado, and to determine an introductory label (DAKADO) which would later be harnessed as a real brand.

In a unique cooperation with Vietnam’s largest supermarket chain, Saigon Co.Op Mart, and Vietnam’s largest wholesaler, Metro Cash & Carry, the avocado sector will present itself to Vietnamese consumers through the ‘Discover the magic of avocado’ campaign. This campaign will run from the 23rd until the 29th of July in the stores of Vietnam’s largest supermarket chain, Saigon Co.Op Mart, and from the 9th until the 16th of August in the stores of Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam.

The avocado is relatively new in Vietnam, and consumers are not yet familiar with the fruit’s nutritional value and uses. For example, few know that the avocado contains more than 14 vitamins and minerals, almost as much protein as milk.

In Co.Op Mart stores in Ho Chi Minh City, special avocado promotion teams will inform consumers about the magical values of avocado, and inspire consumers to discover new ways of preparing avocado through presenting versatile recipes, and offering taste-tests of the Dak Lak variety. To demonstrate dishes made with avocado, the campaign in METRO’s An Phu store in August will include a cooking demonstration by a professional chef. For one week consumers in-store will discover the ‘magic avocado brings to your kitchen, your health, your beauty’ and of course, to nature.

This consumer campaign is part of the not-for profit project titled ‘Development of an avocado value chain from Dak Lak province’ (DAKADO for short). The DAKADO project aims to create a supply chain which will deliver Dak Lak quality avocados to Vietnamese consumers, while resulting in improved benefits for all actors involved in the chain. To achieve this goal, the DAKADO project team facilitated a dialogue between farmers, collectors and traders, which resulted in a cooperative agreement to ensure high consumer quality, through improved avocado harvesting and post-harvest operations.

Now, for the first time in Vietnam, avocados will be harvested in a professional way, transported with care, packed in specially designed trays, and labeled with the DAKADO logo. In the coming eighteen months more improvements will be made – avocado cultivation training programs and cold storage experiments will be implemented. The potential for avocado processing (avocado oil, for example) will be assessed. In 2008, the DAKADO label will be further developed into a consistent quality brand.

The DAKADO project is funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development within the framework of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Program of the Ministry of Planning and Investment and GTZ. The project follows a so-called ‘value chain’ approach. This means that strategies have been developed for all stages in the chain, from planting avocados to eating avocados. The DAKADO work is carried out by the Center of Science and Technology Application (CSTA), the Western Agriculture Research Institute (WASI) and Fresh Studio.

For more information about the project and avocado facts please visit : www.dakado.vnAlso interesting to read: