Belgian ambassador visits VECO projects in Phu Tho province

Belgian ambassador visits VECO projects in Phu Tho province

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Last Sunday, H.E. Ms. Jehanne Roccas, the Ambassador of Belgium to Vietnam, together with the Leader of the Crops Department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the Director of VECO Vietnam and representatives of private businesses went on a field visit to Phu Tho province. The delegates visited a Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) demonstration site for safe vegetables supported by VECO and exchanged with the members of Tu Xa Safe Vegetables Cooperative, one of VECO’s beneficiaries in the province.

Afterwards, the delegates met with Provincial Committee Leaders to discuss prospects for safe vegetables development and the potential for institutionalization of the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) in the province. At the meeting, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Hai, the Vice Chairman of Phu Tho People’s Committee praised the benefits of this participatory quality assurance system for safe vegetables and shared the lessons learned from the implementation of the VECO-supported projects. Ms. Roccas stressed that food safety is a pressing issues and that it will remain a priority area of Belgian development cooperation in the country. Mr. Hoang Van Tu, VECO Director appreciated the cooperation and support from Phu Tho’s People Committee and its functional bodies. He stressed that VECO will continue to support the province to systematize and capitalize the PGS in order to help institutionalize the system. The visit ended on a hopeful note with opportunities for collaboration being discussed between PGS farmers and private actors in Hanoi.

A multipurpose visit

This field visit served multiple purposes. First, it aimed to help key stakeholders understand VECO’s work and role in fostering a more inclusive, safe and sustainable vegetables chain. Second, it offered the opportunity for the delegates to discover PGS in practice and to learn about the benefits reaped from the implementation of this farmer-friendly quality assurance mechanism. Third, it enabled the Tu Xa Cooperative to connect with Hanoi-based private buyers for their safe vegetables. Finally, it created a multistakeholder dialogue between representatives of the government, private actors, farmers, and VECO on sustainable farming policy issues.

As a follow-up to this field visit, VECO Vietnam will support the Phu Tho Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to systematize and replicate the PGS operation model and will facilitate the signing of contracts between Tu Xa Cooperative and private businesses in from Hanoi.