On 18th & 19th March, 2014 the Vietnam Academic of Agricultural Science – VAAS and Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture – SFSA jointly organize the workshop on “Good Agricultural Practice – VietGAP: Current Status, Orientation and Development for safe vegetable production in Vietnam” at VAAS headquarter, Vinhquynh, Thanhtri, Hanoi. The workshop is co-chaired by Dr. Nguyen Van Bo – VAAS and Dr. Dao Xuan Cuong – SFSA.
Vice Minister of Agriculture &Rural Development (MARD) – Ms. Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu; Mr. Clive Murray – Director of Syngenta Foundation, ASEAN and 70 participants including Vietnamese & foreign experts, scientists, governmental officers, vegetable growers, traders, NGOs and public medias have attended in the workshop.
Speech delivered by Ms. Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu - Vice Minister of MARD
GAP has been widely implemented in developed countries (GlobalGAP) as well as in developing countries in ASEAN (ASEAN GAP). Good Agricultural Practice brings several benefits to commonwealth from growers, traders to consumers. GAP consists of 4 modules: Food safety; Product quality; Environmental protection; Worker health &welfare. The objectives of the workshop are: understand & exchange knowledge on GAP (Global; ASEAN GAP); technical regulation related (TR) to safe vegetable production and commercial; find out problems in implementing VietGAP & appropriate solutions to solve the problems… Several presentations from experts, governmental officers, growers and traders show that safe vegetables produced under VietGAP have been much improved compared to non- GAP in term of food safety & quality. Roles of different stakeholders in VietGAP implementation to support growers, traders, consumers… are discussed and built based on a strategy of public – private partnership (PPP).
Australian expert, Mr. Scott Ledge presents Global & ASEAN GAP at the workshop.
During 2 days of the workshop, several important matters are raised for discussion among the partners participating in the vegetable food chain. Dr. Bo’s presentation shows that there are 7 reasons causing obstacles in VietGAP implementation in Vietnam: 1- Not clear communication between different stakeholders. 2- No strong enforcement & punishment applied to violators. 3- Complex assignment between different ministries related to food safety (Ministry of Agriculture is responsible in the field; Ministry of Trade is responsible in the market; Ministry of Health is responsible in the daily meals. 4- Growers do not know who is consumer. What are standards for their produces; 5- Consumers do not trust on growers especially on pesticide use. 6- Consumer’s perception & knowledge on food safety are low. 7- Weakness in collaboration between different associations (grower, consumer…)
Dr. Nguyen Van Bo – Director of Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Science makes presentation at the workshop.
Dr. Bo suggests some initiates for improvement of VietGAP implementation: - Vegetables should be concentratively produced in an area where soil, water &production conditions can be managed and traced. - Building demonstrations of appropriate pilot models. - Avoid setting up too high criteria/ complicated process that are difficult for growers to meet. - Support growers on mini financial policy - More investment on communication and information systems that can change and improve consumer’s perception on necessary & advantage of safe vegetable consuming. - Support traders with some priority policies including allow their trucks carrying safe vegetables can be operated widely in the cities. An open discussion is arranged for deeper understanding on VietGAP & TR content and their impacts to growers & traders. This is followed by a session of group discussion. The participants are divided in 5 functioning groups (expert, grower, trader, scientist and governmental manager) to discuss on what are main problems to constrain VietGAP implementation. In reporting back, each group shows their identified issues
Expert group reports: - Lack of communication on VietGAP & TR between the partners in the food chain leading to confuse on these documents; who are involved in the processes.
- How can police non – compliance?
Farmer group shows: - the production areas selected & designed are not compliance to requirements of TR. VietGAP is complicated especially writing production activities is difficult and time consumed.
- The most difficult thing that they need to be helped is linking them to market to sell their vegetables. Any policies from Government to support them on this.
Scientific group shows: almost (70 – 80%) of vegetables is produced by individual small growers resulting the registration & announcement for their vegetable quality standards are very difficult. So concentrate production in form of farmer groups is necessary to overcome the problems mentioned. They emphasis that building consumer’s trust on safe vegetables produced by growers can be done via clear announcement on standards and close monitoring in process
Group discussion of scientist
In the workshop, participants are also listened to report on food safety and safe vegetables situations in Vietnam. Role of each partner in helping farmers &consumers to have enough information on food safety as well as to encourage them involved in the food chain positively.
Presentation from Big Green – a private company doing business on safe vegetables shows that their business plays a very important role in VietGAP implementation because the company is considered as a point to link growers with consumers. Through their shops the consumers know where they can buy safe vegetables. Apart from that Director of Big Green, Mr. Hung also mentions some difficulties his company facing such as big resources required to set up the business (renting the shop, equipment assembled, brand established); transportation truck time is limited in very early of the day... whilst the payback time is long & slow. He suggests to relevant organizations to support in order to solve these problem so that the benefits can be compensate the investment.
Generally, in order to implement VietGAP in safe vegetable production in Vietnam, a part from the growers who need to change their perception and behavior to produce quality vegetables to meet market’s requirements, we also have to pay attention on how to help the growers and other partners in the food chain to get better income. In future the functioning partners need to help farmer linking to market especially to improve consumer’s perception on importance of safe vegetable consumption. Better partnership to build the trading networks and strong building brand of safe vegetables to help farmers to sell their produces in the market.
Seating in front line (from left to right): 1. Dr. Lee Seong Hee (Director of KoPIA project in VN) 2.Dr. Nguyen Van Bo (Director of VAAS) 3.Mr. Nguyen Duy Luong (Vice President of Vietnam Farmer Union) 4.Ms. Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu (Vice Minister of MARD) 5.Mr. Clive Murray (Director of Syngenta Foundation, ASEAN) 6.Mr. Scott Ledger (Australian GAP expert) 7.Ms. Mandy (AVRDC) 8. Dr. Dao Xuan Cuong (Director of Syngenta Foundation, Vietnam)
Group picture, standing from left to right:
1.Dr. Dao Xuan Cuong (Director of Syngenta Foundation, Vietnam) 2.Mr. Antoine (FAO representative, Vietnam) 3.Mr.Robert Nissen (Ag-Hort International Ply Ltd) 4.Mr.Scott Ledger (Australian GAP expert) 5.Dr. David Parson (Head consultant of QSEAP) 6.DrTran Duc Vien (Rector of Hanoi Agricultural University) 7.Mr. Tran Duy Luong (Vice President of Vietnam Farmer Union) 8. Mr. Clive Murray (Director of Syngenta Foundation, ASEAN) 9.Ms. Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu (Vice Minister of MARD) 10.Dr. Nguyen Van Bo (Director of VAAS) 11.Dr. Nguyen Xuan Hong (Director of Plant Protection Department) 12.Dr. Trinh Dinh Quang (Vice Director of VAAS) 13.Dr.Nguyen Quoc Hung (Director of Fruit & Vegetable Research Institute).