A lack of knowledge is one of the biggest problems for farmers in developing countries. That is why Bayer, through Food Chain Partnership, supports farmers in building capacity and implementing good agricultural practices to obtain the necessary certification – for example by organizing BayG.A.P. facilitator training in Vietnam.
Participants at the BayG.A.P. facilitators training in Vietnam
Vietnam’s agricultural sector is mainly dominated by smallholder farmers. The average landholding is just 0.5 hectares while the average farm in Canada, for example, is 332 hectares in size. But it is smallholder farmers who grow around 80 percent of the food consumed in developing countries. That is why they need to achieve sufficient productivity and gain access to the market – a huge challenge! Implementing good agricultural practices and obtaining certification is the key for smallholder farmers to become competitive in local, regional, and international markets. However, a lack of knowledge often prevents farmers from obtaining these certificates on their own.
Enabling farmers to make farming sustainable
For the first time ever, Bayer has organized the BayG.A.P. facilitators training course in Vietnam, together with VinEco, an emerging producer of high-quality farm produce. The sessions covered topics such as irrigation systems, integrated pest management, food safety, and application technology. The training took place at the VinEco farm in Đồng Nai, a province in the southern part of the country. The goal was to train VinEco staff and local Bayer experts in good agricultural practices. “With these trainings our local experts and the staff of VinEco can go to the farms and enable farmers to make farming more sustainable and obtain the necessary certificates,” says Nguyễn Huy Dũng, Smallholder Farming Manager at Bayer in Vietnam. With BayG.A.P., farmers receive intensive training and learn how to implement sustainable farming standards and the principles of good agricultural practices – the first and most important step toward obtaining certification.
Transferring knowledge to the farmers
Sustainability in agriculture is not a new phenomenon in this Southeast Asian country; it has always been important to the Vietnamese government and the nation’s industry. “However, the awareness of farmers and actions for sustainability is still limited,” says Nguyễn Huy Dũng. “Farmers need economic motivation for applying sustainable farming practices.” Today, VinEco has a network of 1,000 farmers. Following the training, the VinEco staff will further discuss how to transfer the knowledge and better support the farmers. “This training was very helpful for us to understand how to produce safe and high-quality food,” said one of the participants. “It’s a very innovative program perfectly adapted to the needs of the Vietnamese market.”
Relying on strong partners
VinEco is at the frontline of Vietnam’s high-tech certified agricultural production, focusing on clean and standardized crops. Currently, the company runs 14 farms and supplies more than 2,000 tons of fresh produce every month, such as sprouts, herbs, vegetables, and fruits. “We want to become a pioneer in leading the reform of the agricultural sector in Vietnam,” said a VinEco spokesperson. “To fulfill the requirements of the worldwide markets we have to change agricultural practices to provide safe products with the highest quality. For this, we rely on strong partners such as Bayer, and trainings such as BayG.A.P. are a big milestone for us.”
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