The Organic Project
Title: Developing a Framework for Production and Marketing of Organic Agriculture in Vietnam
Period: 2004 – 2012
Grant: 13.5 million Danish Kroner
Partner organisation: Vietnamese Farmers Union (VNFU)
Background and target group:
Organic farming is relatively new in Vietnam and the knowledge of this form of cultivation is limited among Vietnamese officials and donors who support projects in Vietnam and support for the development of organic farming has therefore been limited. Organic farming that is based on internationally accepted standards has only recently started in Vietnam. Several small organic initiatives in recent years have demonstrated that there is a basis for development of organic agriculture in Vietnam, especially for the domestic market. ADDAs project is based on the development of national standards for organic agriculture in Vietnam. The organic products are still unknown, and consumers have difficulty distinguishing between genuine organic products and other “clean” products. A certification system for organic agriculture does not exists in Vietnam yet, that’s why this project intends to support the formation of an independent certification organization.
There is a great need to strengthen civil society in the form of producer and consumer groups, since these groups have to be the driving forces in the development of organic agriculture in Vietnam.
The primary target group is about 1300 small farmers in Hanoi and selected surrounding provinces, which produce to the markets in Hanoi and Hai Phong. In Vietnam, men and women work closely together in the agricultural sector and the project’s objective is that at least 50% of the primary target group is women. The secondary target group is consumers in Hanoi and Hai Phong. The organic products must be marketed in order for the demand to increase. Especially the women, who are responsible for the daily shopping and cooking in the family, must be made aware of the quality of organic food. In addition the project targets distributors of organic food and the staff of the government, donors and NGOs.
Purpose and method:
The project aims to develop a structure for production and marketing of organic agriculture in Vietnam. The project will promote the organization of organic producers in cooperatives / associations / groups who produce certified organic products and supply the local market with these products. It is hoped that the project will contribute to an increased awareness and understanding of the organic production method. An important element of the project activities is commencement of field trials. The strategy contains two main elements 1) optimization of production systems and 2) research in basic production problems. The field trials will be organized by actively involving participants who have a key role in setting objectives, selecting methods and criteria for monitoring and evaluation of the experiments (participatory technology development).
On the consumer level, the project will increase consumer awareness and the demand for organic products. This level is particularly important in relation to the continuing success of organic agriculture in Vietnam because of increased demand from the consumers is essential for growth in the organic sector. The project will also explore opportunities in the export market, with particular emphasis on trade with other countries in the region.
The approach will be through training of local farmers who will then train their colleague farmers through the principles of “Farmer Field Schools”.