Hanoi DARD and Rikolto start new partnership to promote PGS in Hanoi

Hanoi DARD and Rikolto start new partnership to promote PGS in Hanoi

in News

In July 2018, Hanoi’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Rikolto started a new collaboration to setup PGS for safe vegetables in various locations around Hanoi. Supported by the Conservation, Food and Health Foundation, this project aims to build evidence of the benefits of PGS in order to replicate the model across Hanoi.

Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) is a low-cost quality assurance mechanism that guarantees the quality of agricultural products and has the potential to regain consumers’ trust. Introduced in Vietnam in the organic agriculture sector, it has enabled smallholder farmers to certify their safe and organic vegetables for over 10 years.

Considering the large number of smallholder farmers producing vegetables in Hanoi and the increasing concern of Hanoians for food safety, there is really a huge potential to develop PGS around Hanoi” says Mr. Hoang Thanh Hai, Rikolto’s vegetable programme coordinator.

The objectives of this project are threefold: first, through PGS, we want to create incentives for farmers to produce safe food. Once farmers obtain a PGS certificate showing that they comply with BasicGAP (Good Agricultural Practices), they can more easily sell their vegetables as safe and collect a small price premium for it. This makes them more likely to invest in growing safe vegetables, and to abide by the restrictions that go along with it. Second, we want to improve consumers’ access to safe vegetables, not only in supermarkets and specialised shops, but also at traditional markets. The project will therefore support farmers to expand their marketing channels, particularly with institutional buyers. And third, we want to build evidence of the positive impact that PGS generates by including smallholder farmers in safe vegetable value chains.

Learn more about our work on safe vegetables and PGS by visiting our project page

PGS for safe vegetables

In July, we introduced PGS to two cooperatives: Yen My Agri-service Cooperative in Thanh Tri district and Dang Xa Agri-service Cooperative in Gia Lam district. After they decided to move forward with PGS, farmers divided themselves into farmer groups and developed their own operational rules on group structure, management, membership fee, and members’ duties and rights. They elected their leaders and defined clear roles and responsibilities for PGS operations. In total 6 groups were formed: 3 in Dang Xa (50 farmers) and 3 in Yen My (53 farmers). After the groups were formed, farmers moved on to discuss the rules and regulations at the PGS level: they develop bylaws to set the framework for future PGS operations and divided responsibilities amongst themselves. In line with the PGS philosophy, all rules and decisions were made by the farmers, with Rikolto and DARD acting only as facilitators.

Local authorities have a role to play in supporting the development of PGS. The system has shown its effectiveness and potential to reduce management costs.

Ms. Le Thi Kim Oanh Plant Protection Officer, Hanoi’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

In the next months, our collaboration will focus on training farmers on good agricultural practices for safe vegetable production (BasicGAP), constituting PGS inspection teams and improving farmers’ post-harvest processing.

We will also support the two cooperatives in strengthening their business management capacity, particularly on how to plan their production to meet the demand of the markets, how to negotiate contracts with buyers, and how to better market their vegetables.

Furthermore, DARD will develop a strategy to bring safe vegetables to traditional markets around Hanoi, creating new opportunities for consumers to access quality food at their preferred shopping place.

Once the two PGSs are fully up and running, more farmer organisations will be invited to join the system. Our attention will then move towards training lead farmers and officers from Hanoi’s technical departments on how to deliver trainings on PGS and accompany farmer organisations who decide to apply PGS.

Acknowledgements: We would like to thank the Conservation, Food and Health Foundation and the Belgian Development Cooperation for their generous support on this project.

Any questions?

Hoang Thanh Hai
Hoang Thanh Hai
Vegetable and Tea Programme Coordinator
+84-24 6258 3640/41 - ext. 32