Friday, 15 January 2016

How growing high-quality vegetables increased Moc Chau farmers’ income by 150%

ACIAR project AGB/2009/053 has helped Moc Chau farmers increase their net income an average 150% by supplying high-quality, accredited-safe vegetable to retail stores in Hanoi.

The project has demonstrated clear economic benefits available to farmers in the Moc Chau region of North Western Vietnam via new value chains supplying high-quality, certified-safe vegetables to urban consumers in northern Vietnam. In 2015, 68 project farmers (71% female and 10% H’mong) in the Moc Chau villages of Tu Nhien, Ta Niet and An Thai, produced about 800 tonnes of certified-safe vegetables on 22 hectares of land. 

In the neighbouring project village of Van Ho, H’mong farmers have been producing vegetables for only one season, yet they have already recorded a net income from vegetables of 116 million VND ($7,300) per ha per year, an increase of 480% over the 20 million VND per ha they can earn from rice. 

Farmers from the Tu Nhien village in Moc Chau earned an average net income of 300 million VND ($18,000) per ha in 2015 by supplying the high-quality vegetables as part of the new value chain developed by the ACIAR project team. This compares with an average net household income of 120 million VND ($7,560) per ha for non-project vegetable farmers in the village, which is an increase of 150% in net income. Alternative land uses such as growing maize or rice return a net income to the farmer of only about 20 million VND ($1260) per ha per year, or only 7% of the income they could make from accredited-safe vegetables.

The leader of 38 farmers in the Tu Nhien village, Ms Luyen said: “Farmers who are working in the new value chain are no longer poor, they do not have to borrow money to grow their next crop."

“Many of the farmers have been able to improve their houses, and can more easily afford to send their children to school."

“Before the project, it was mainly women working in the field growing vegetables, but now more men are working in the fields with their wives.” 

Ms Luyen has been able to buy two trucks for sending high-quality vegetables from Moc Chau to Hanoi in good condition.She has also built a covered packing area and a separate crop receival area where local farmers can bring their produce for grading and packing before it is sent to retailers such as FiviMart, Metro and Biggreen in Hanoi, on the night it arrives.
Before the project started in 2011, all the marketing of vegetables from Moc Chau was either to the local markets or to Hanoi via traders, while questionable production techniques were widely practiced. The new value chains have established effective direct trading relationships and two-way communication between the farmers and the supermarkets and specialty safe vegetable stores in Hanoi. This direct marketing to Hanoi represents a completely new market for the local farmers. 

Mr Bùi Văn Tùng and Ms Nguyễn Thị Quỳnh Chang from the Northern Mountainous Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute (NOMAFSI) inspecting a cabbage crop in Van Ho.

Ms Luyen from Tu Nhien village and Ms Vu Thi Phuong Thanh from Fresh Studio are justifiably proud of the premium strawberries now grown in Tu Nhien village.

By Gordon Rogers, Applied Horticultural Research

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