Promotion of supply and demand of Eco-Fair Agri-food processing products in Vietnam
In many countries, eco agriculture and Fair Trade are emerging as a promising agricultural development strategy, particularly in economic plans such as the national socio-economic development lagging areas away from the Mekong corridor. The newly signed EVFTA (European Union Vietnam Free Trade Agreement) between the EU and Vietnam has a specific clause related to promoting eco-fair products; however, challenges persist. The barriers to a certified eco-fair supply chain in agri-food processing in Vietnam must indicated the elments of the capacity of MSMEs on fair and eco development are still limited.
Project: Promotion of supply and demand of Eco-Fair Agri-food processing products in Vietnam
Project grant total: 1.838.256,23 EUR
Funded by the European Union: 1.470.604,99 EUR
Location: Nation wide
Duration: 36 months from April/2020 to April/2023
Led by: Vietnam Rural Industries Research and Development Institute(VIRI)
Centre For Creativity and Sustainability (CCS)
Vietnam Cleaner Production Centre Co. Ltd (VNCPC)
Funzilife Oy Ltd (FUNZI)
Overall Objective: To promote sustainable production and consumption of eco-fair agri-food processing products in Vietnam, to contribute to the economic prosperity and poverty reduction and the development of sustainable livelihoods and a green economy for a transition toward a low-carbon, resource-efficient and circular economy in Vietnam
Final beneficiaries: (1) Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in agri-food processing; (2) Consumer groups and individual consumers in Vietnam; (3) Industry bodies and intermediary business support organisations; (4) Sectoral associations
Outputs, results of main activities
- Specific objective 1: To enhance the capacity of MSMEs to implement sustainable production and product innovation practices in the agri-food supply chain
– Expected outputs/results: Increased use of eco-fair technologies and practices by MSMEs in Vietnam and increased development and diversification of fair and eco products
– Activities: (A1.1) online learning courses to build capacity of 1000 agri-food processing MSMEs; (A1.2) on-site training and assessment on RECP, product innovation, technology innovation for 200 MSMEs; (A1.3) eco-fair certification of 20 MSMEs
- Specific objective 2: To raise awareness of a large consumer group about sustainable consumption behaviours and to build a network to promote the eco-fair label
– Expected outputs/results: Increased sustainable consumer behaviour
– Activities: (A2.1) awareness raising activities through online learning, media (TV, articles, social media, etc.); (A2.2) Customer profiling; (A2.3) high visibility events aiming towards increased awareness and building a change-maker network
- Specific objective 3: To use a sustainable E-platform to build an eco-fair retailer network
– Expected outputs/results: Increase in SCP best practices and their replication mechanisms, improved capacity of business intermediaries to promote SCP sales through the E-platform; Increased share of eco-fair products and technologies/design in EU-Asia and intra-Asia trade through E-platform and eco-fair shop network
– Activities: (A3.1) Stimulating sustainable consumption and production through B2B E-platform; (A3.2) facilitating EU-Asia partnerships on product design and technologies; (A3.3) Setting up a network of eco-fair retailers
- Specific objective 4: To enhance the capacity of eco-fair MSMEs to access financing
– Expected outputs/results: Increased capacity of MSMEs towards bankable projects and access to finance through on-site training and matchmaking
– Activities: (4.1) Capacity building for MSMEs on bankable projects and access to finance through online training service, (A4.2) on-site training for potential investment projects at MSMEs (Lead by VNCPC)
- Specific objective 5: To support policy development on eco-fair production and consumption in Asia
– Expected outputs/results: An enabling environment for SCP is advocated through calling for implementation of national SCP policy in Vietnam, capacity building of sub-national agencies and regional policy dialog on eco-fair in Asia.
– Activities:(A5.1) Advocating for eco-fair & circular economy policy for agri-food processing and (A5.2) implementing line ministries and capacity building for sub-national agencies; (A5.3) organizing a regional policy dialog on eco-fair production and consumption in Asia
There are 4 key following target groups involved in the action.
(1) Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in agri-food processing;
Currently MSMEs still lack the capacity, effective information and financial access as well as an enabling environment for SCP uptake. The action provides components for capacity building including production and product innovation, financial access, E-platform, and Funzi mobile learning service to enhance sustainable trade as well as developing an enabling environment for eco-fair replication. Furthermore, with up to 500,000 consumers involved in the action, the MSMEs’ market is also substantially enlarged.
The project team has had many direct consultations with MSMEs in Vietnam, who have had positive attitudes and support for eco-fair since customers are increasingly demanding it. In addition, it can help MSMEs to position themselves in the international market. A number of MSMEs have certain levels of eco-fair readiness, which includes both technical and management capacities, but the majority of MSMEs still need plenty of support for capacity building and coaching for eco-fair certifications.
(2) Consumer groups and individual consumers in Vietnam:
Only a limited number of consumers in Vietnam have adopted habits/ behaviours of using eco-fair products due to limited availability and access to green and eco-fair commodities, though they are willing to pay more for such certified goods. Through the implementation of E-platform and a network of eco-fair retailers to introduce and promote traceable and certified eco-fair products, both existing problems faced by customers will be tackled in the Action. A substantially increased number of customers interacting with true and updated information/knowledge of eco-fair products through online learning provided by Funzi, then adjusting their consumption behaviour, will eventually enlarge the eco-fair market and in turn, generate more income for producers to invest in their production and better serve their clients. The continuous loop, once initiated, is foreseen to create an impact to a far more number of people on both sides of the market.
The project team had different consultations with consumer groups through Fair Trade shops (derived from the project Promoting Fair Trade in Vietnam supported by EU-Mutrap). A small portion of consumers, most of whom are foreigners living in Vietnam and tourists visiting Vietnam, have practices in using eco-fair products with the choice of “healthy”, “natural content”, and “ethical concern”. The majority of Vietnamese people are confused by different sustainable voluntary standards are also price sensitive.
(3) Industry bodies and intermediary business support organisations;
Intermediary business support organizations such as VIRI, VNCPC, CCS, Chamber of Commerce etc. These stakeholders lack the capacity and resources to support MSMEs in promoting eco-fair products. The Action shall provide tools (ITC E-platform/Funzi mobile learning service / SCP tools etc.) through ToT training and opportunities for policy advocacy to improve their consultation capacity as well as their role and status in Vietnam.
VIRI worked closely with co-partners in the proposal (VNCPC, CCS) who have strong management and technical background on SCP in order to develop content of this Action. We also undertook face-to-face and online meetings with Funzi, who have impressive records on online and mobile learning and replication to a large number of users. Furthermore, VIRI sought consultations with national associations (rice, cashew nuts, vegetables and fruits processing) in order to gain a deeper insight into the industry, as well as their support for the Action’s implementation. All of these stakeholders provide strong support and dedication for eco-fair promotion in Vietnam.
(4) Governmental bodies and Sectoral associations.
Governmental bodies such as ministries and sub-national agencies: Their capacity and resource to replicate SCP for the agri-food processing sector at national scale is minor. The action creates chances for capacity building, raising awareness, and advocacy activities, as well as tools for eco-fair promotion for this target group.
VIRI worked with Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade – Ministry of Trade) and Department of Co-operatives and Rural Development (DCRD – Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) to discuss eco-fair promotions in Vietnam, through which process VIRI received strong support. DCRD and Vietrade have strong management and a thorough knowledge of eco-fair, through their sub-national agencies at provincial level, however, require further training alongside capacity building on eco-fair implementation.
In addition, industry associations also play an important role in the implementation and support of creating favorable environmental conditions for sustainable production, eco-fair development in Vietnam.
(*) Food processing means a process of preparing preliminarily processed food or fresh and raw food by an industrial or manual method to create food materials or food products.(Law on Food Safety No. 55/2010/QH12)