Fifty per cent of targeted farmers in a sustainable rice project in Vietnam show interests in learning new farming techniques and change is what they want.
“We expect the project will create change and bring more benefits to our farmers,” said Trinh Van Cuong, a farmer and director of Vinh Cuong Cooperative in Bac Lieu Province.
“Our 5,000 farmers in Vinh Cuong cooperative are interested in the new rice farming techniques of the Sustainable Rice Platform standard. We expect the new change of rice techniques will make more profits and help us sustain,” Mr. Cuong expressed during a recent kick-off workshop of the Better Rice Initiative Asia phase II or BRIA II project in Vietnam.
The BRIA project, backed by the Vietnamese Government and Olam International with support of German International Cooperation (GIZ), has entered its second phase, known as BRIA II to improve market access for rice farmers in four provinces of the Mekong Delta – Can Tho, An Giang, Dong Thap and Bac Lieu.
The project’s objective is to raise the living conditions of farmers in Asia by improving the quality of the rice they grow and helping them reduce their investment cost.
“Rice is one of the targeted sectors by the National Government to increase food security and livelihood of farmers,” said Do Duc Thinh, Director of Department of Economic and Rural Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“We [Vietnam] are successful in rice production and exporting to 150 countries, but it is low quality export with lower price and [we consider it as] unsustainable.”
“In joining the BRIA II project, Vietnamese cooperative rice farmers have a chance to produce sustainable rice and meet high market requirement in European and United States,” Mr Thinh said at the kick-off workshop.
BRIA II will reach 10,000 rice small-holder farmers in four provinces by 2022.
Today, the rice sector in Viet Nam provides income to 9.3 million households; still, many farmer households remain poor. Most of rice farmers are small-holders characterized by often having poor infrastructure and limited access to know-how and technical advice, quality farm inputs, machinery and services, as well as to financial services and stable markets.
Mohit Agarwal, Director of Olam Vietnam Cooperation said that “For the BRIA II, we will help the farmers to produce a good quality rice with empty pesticide residue, increase farmer access to market and achieve the Happy Farmer and good Sustainable Rice Platform standards.”
He introduced at the workshop that Olam Vietnam maintained top 5 largest private buyers for Viet rice during many years and Olam International was operating in 70 countries supplying various products to 23,000 customers worldwide.
About 80 delegates across sectors attended the event on 12 December 2018 in Can Tho province, Southern Vietnam.