(VNFU’s Website) – This afternoon (4th February), in Hanoi, the First Vice Chairman of VNFU Mr.Nguyen Duy Luong met and worked with the delegation from Croplife Asia headed by Ms. Thelma L. Soriano – Executive Director. Representatives from Today Countryside Newspaper, Administration Deparment and International Cooperation Department attended the Meeting.
At the meeting, Ms. Thelma expressed her desire to cooperate with VNFU in the widespread implementation of projects on planting genetically modified crops in Vietnam. Through the results of successful tested models, the project will disseminate among farmers to help them understand about the benefits of genetically modified crops compared with traditional crops.
The CropLife also suggested VNFU attending the Asian Farmers’ Exchange Program which will be held in Philippines. This is an exchange program for farmers in Asia to visit and learn experience about genetically modified crops which have been successfully piloted in the Philippines.
Ending the meeting, the Union agree to take part in the exchange visits.
By Thai Ha – Translator: Mai Huong
(VNFU website) 13th January 2015 in Hanoi, VNFU and Kume Hiryo Company (Japan) has signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in applied research, transfer of science and technology for agriculture, rural development.
Vice Chairman Lai Xuan Mon and Mr. Shimatani Keiji- General Director of Kume Hiryo Company signed a memorandum of understanding.
Attending the signing ceremony, from VNFU side, Chairman Nguyen Quoc Cuong, First Vice Chairman Nguyen Duy Luong, Vice Chairman Lai Xuan Mon, and leaders of departments; from Kume Hiryo side, Mr. Shimatani Keiji- General Director and representatives of the relevant departments.
Through the signing ceremony, VNFU and Kume Hyrio coordinated an activity program based on common interests in the field of agriculture, for the purpose of conducting research, transfer, applications of science and technology for agriculture, rural areas in Vietnam.
The two sides will establish collaborative relationships with related departments and agencies through applied research, short-term and long-term training, proposed research and transfer application of science and technology and agricultural extension services to promote eco-agriculture to increase agricultural production with international quality standards.
Giving the speech at the ceremony, Chairman of VNFU Nguyen Quoc Cuong emphasized: ” This is the first Collaborative project between VNFU and Japan. So hopefully the terms of the signed memorandum of understanding will be the basis for specifying the programs and plans for coordination between the two sides, and work together to turn ideas into reality to bring Vietnam agriculture closer to the advanced agriculture in the world.”
By Mai Anh – Translator: Quynh Hoa
SOURCE: VNFU Website
“We believe that the key problem still remains with emissions from developed countries, which are already contributing to climate change and causing impacts on food production. Developed countries must urgently and immediately reduce their emissions and provide financing according to their obligations under the UNFCCC. For developing countries, adaptation has to be the main priority, adequately supported by developed country public finance. The agricultural challenges faced by the poorest and most vulnerable, in Africa but also in Asia, in small-island states, in Latin America, are adaptation challenges.”
This is part of the statement read by Lutfiyah Hanim of Aliansi Petani Indonesia in behalf of civil society organizations (CSOs), during the concluding session of the 2nd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change: Hunger for Action, held last September 3-7, in Hanoi, Vietnam, organized by the Governments of Vietnam and Netherlands, together with FAO and WB.
Besides Ms. Hanim, AFA was represented by Kanisorn Punyaprasiddhi of Sor Kor Por Thailand, Dr. Iqbal Kabir and Alaudin Sikder from Kendrio Krishok Moitree-Bangladesh and AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia. AFA participants worked with CSOs including SRD Vietnam, Third World Network, Oxfam International, SEARICE, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and IFOAM during the conference.
The AFA Sec Gen, reading from the CSO statement delivered during the ministerial roundtable, also called on the ministers to urgently direct resources “towards adaptation, particularly to help small-scale family farmers. Sustainable agroecological and organic approaches are the most important, reliable set of practices to protect yields and ensure resilience in the face of climate change. It is these approaches and producers that should be supported significantly with climate/public finance.”
At the start of the conference, the CSOs distributed a statement signed by 120 organizations, bearing the same messages.
The organic industry holds a huge potential for small women and men farmers in Asia. In order to understand the situation of the industry and see how farmers can benefit, AFA has been conducting industry consultations together with its member FOs in different Asian countries.
Organic vegetable in Vietnam
In Vietnam, the Vietnam Farmers Union (VNFU) is the local partner anchoring the study of the organic vegetable industry. Policy Advocacy Officer Lany Rebagay helped plan and conduct a national consultation last June 8, 2012 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The multi-stakeholder consultation was attended by small-scale organic vegetable farmers/producers, government representatives, local corporations, consolidators, NGOs, academe and media.
The consultation resulted in the following recommendations for each set of stakeholders:
a. For government:
• Law on Organic agriculture
• Increase budget and support for organic farming for small-scale farmers for the following:
o Certification policy (official recognition of PGS)
o Processing facilities (storage, refrigeration, etc.)
o Extension services
b. For Consolidators/Traders:
• Communicate market standard to farmers so that farmers can adjust their production based on the standards
• Mutually beneficial contract (fair benefit and risk sharing)
• Organize Organic Trade Fair / festivals
• Tour of consumers to organic
c. Academe/ Research Institutes:
• Documentation of good practices
• Research and documentation on sustainable technologies and models for organic vegetable
d. NGOs/ Farmers Union:
• Capacity building on sustainable farming technologies
• Technical assistance in the certification process
• Link farmers to consolidators /input supplier
• Assist farmers in making policy papers
e. Small-scale organic vegetable farmers:
• Organize into commodity cluster
• Adopt organic farming approach
• Engage government /Advocate for policies
Organic potato in Mongolia
In Mongolia, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is the local partner anchoring the study of the potato industry. Ms. Lany Rebagay, Policy Advocacy Officer helped plan the potato industry consultation in coordination with ADRA Program Manager Gerry Ganaba. Marketing Officer Vicky Serrato attended the national consultation last June 5 in Selenge Aimag, Mongolia. The multi-stakeholder consultation was attended by around 80 participants, including farmers in Selenge province and Dzavhan, representatives from seed producer groups, SMEs engaged in supply chain development and processing of potato, academe and ADRA operations staff.
Potato is one of the major agriculture produce in Mongolia. Based on the data presented, the per capita consumption per year ranges from 5l – 73.8 kg, 86kg per capita consumption in urban areas (exceeds normal consumption) and is increasing continuously. This situation creates higher demand for potato to supply the domestic demand. The data in 2004-2009 show that production of potato increased by 4 times. Through the government’s “Mongolia Potato Programme,” Mongolia targets to supply 100% of domestic demand by 2015.
Through the consultation, the participants were able to understand the industry situation, see the opportunities in the industry as well as the challenges faced by farmers specifically the limited time to grow potato. Participants were also able to discuss challenges such as the availability of quality seeds suitable to different climatic condition and storage especially during winter season so that supply can be sustained until the next harvest season and seeds can be preserved for the next cropping cycle.
Some of the stakeholders engaged in potato industry are:
– Mongolia Farmers Association for Rural Development (MFARD) produces seeds and distributes them to soums for mass production of seeds; MFARD buys the seeds produced in each soums= and redistributes them to individual members
– Adventist for Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) workson community/farmers organizing, capacity building on organizational management and enterprise development
– The Academe does research and development
– Government (Ministry of Agriculture) provides financing support and information
– Banks give financing support
Some of the recommendations during the workshop were:
o Examine and ensure quality seed for distribution or sale to the farmers. There’s a big difference in productivity when good/certified seeds are used (yield range of 25-35 tons per hectare for certified seeds and yields range of 10-12 tons per year for non-certified seeds). Certified seeds can still be used to plant until the fourth year, thus farmers can collect and preserve seeds that can be used for four years.
o Government to provide financing support for the acquisition of production and post-harvest facilities such mini-tractor, storage facility, etc.
o Local government to provide SME Loan program support to farmers
o Land regulation
– NGOs like ADRA, Mongolia Farmers Association for Rural Development
o Develop good link between the producers and consumers e.g. linking small scale farmers to support organizations such as marketing, technical, etc
o Mongolia Farmers Association – to help develop seeds that are adaptable to the highlands where temperature is low
– Farmers Organization
o Sharing of experiences as a strategy to inform other farmers of their experiences and initiatives on the ground e.g. technology, farm practices, market information, etc.
o Lobby to simplify bank requirements to ease farmers access to credit
o Consolidate farmers’ produce to save cost of transportation when marketing products
Regionally coordinated, nationally implemented industry analysis
The industry analysis is an AFA regionally coordinated and nationally implemented activity.
AFA has completed seven workshops for the organic rice in Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, Thailand, Bangladesh and Vietnam (organic vegetable).
A regional paper on the industry analysis will be produced soon.
AFA, together with its member VNFU, is co-organizing with AsiaDHRRA and VietDHRRA a CSO preparatory meeting today, June 11, 2012 in Danang, Vietnam. The CSO preparatory meeting hopes to bring together CSOs attending the first CSO-GO dialogue with the Senior Officers Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (SOMRDPE), which will be held in Furasama Danang Hotel. The CSO Preparatory Meeting aims to provide a venue for CSOs to share ideas and information, dialogue and discuss priority areas of cooperation that could be pursued in the next 3 years, within the context of the ASEAN Rural Development and Poverty Eradication Framework action plan 2011-2015 (RDPE-FAP) \ and beyond, keeping in mind the many initiatives being pursued by CSOs on the same agenda at all fronts. Specifically, the one day preparatory meeting shall (1) revisit the 2011-2015 ASEAN RDPE-FAP and other existing ASEAN frameworks on food security and climate change and level off on understanding and expectations, ( 2) arrive at some recommendations to explore collaboration between and among CSOs and GO, in relation to the various related ASEAN frameworks for action, including the discussions of appropriate coordination mechanisms at all levels (In particular, discuss strategies per thematic thrusts, anchored on current work and strengths of the CSOs), and (3) discuss the strategic roles and interest of CSOs in pursuing the ASEAN RDPE agenda.
The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) held various activities and decided on important matters on its recently concluded 5th general assembly, which was also a celebration of its 10th anniversary.
Vietnam Farmers Union (VNFU) hosted the event in Hanoi, Vietnam last March 9, 2012 back-to-back with regional farmers’ consultations on March 7-8 and a CSO consultation on the 31st FAO APRC that AFA attended on March 10-11.
The series of events officially opened on March 7 with a cultural presentation from a Vietnamese folk group, who also performed traditional songs and dances with participants from different Asian countries, and with welcome speeches from VNFU Vice-Chairperson Dr. Nguyen Duy Luong and incumbent AFA Chairperson Mr. Tsai, Shun-Te.
Around 45 representatives from 12 farmer organizations and partner NGOs from 10 Asian countries, such as API (Aliansi Petani Indonesia), FNN (Farmer and Nature Net) in Cambodia, VNFU (Vietnam Farmers Union), SorKorPor (Farmer’s Federations Association for Development Thailand), PAKISAMA (Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka) in the Philippines, AINOUKAI in Japan, KAFF (Korea Advanced Farmers’ Federation) and WAFF (Women Advanced Farmers’ Federation) in South Korea, TWADA (Taiwan Wax Apple Development Association), TDFA (Taiwan Dairy Farmers Association), KKM (Kendrio Krishok Moitre) and Action Aid in Bangladesh, NLRF (National Land Rights Forum) and CSRC (Community Self-Relience Centre) in Nepal attended the event, and ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) in Mongolia.
Representatives from partner agencies, such as Nellie van der Pasch of Agriterra, Ignace Coussement of Agricord, Thomas Price of GFAR (Global Forum on Agricultural Research), Marlene Ramirez of AsiaDHRRA, Jose Osaba of WRF (World Rural Forum), Michael Commons of Green Net, and Dinah Fuentisima of WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) also graced the occasion.
Review of accomplishments and decisions
Opening with a video showing photos of the past four general assemblies of AFA, the 5th general assembly reviewed AFA’s accomplishments in the last two years (2010-2011) vis-a-vis the strategic plans it set for 2011-2015, while member FOs gave updates on their respective organizational activities.
The assembly also heard, discussed and adopted the Chairperson’s report regarding the administration and activities of AFA and confirmed decisions made by the Executive Committee in between general assemblies.
Exhibit, field visit, and courtesy call
As part of AFA’s knowledge sharing activities, each AFA member organization also put up an exhibit of its country’s agricultural products and traditional processed foods just outside the meeting room, where participants exchanged information on the items on display.
On March 8, participants also went on a field visit to an organic farming project, which is run mainly by women farmers.
It was followed by a short meeting with the VNFU chairperson and other leaders at the VNFU headquarters in a new building in Hanoi, where the two sides shared their aspirations and activities for farmers.
Two-year thrusts, new members, and new officers
The 5th General Assembly set the thrusts of AFA for the next two years, focusing mainly on governance and organizational development, capacity building, knowledge management, and policy advocacy.
The assembly welcomed AFA’s first two member FOs from South Asia — KKM (Kendrio Krishok Moitre) in Bangladesh and NLRF (National Land Rights Forum) in Nepal — whose applications for regular membership were previously approved by the AFA Execom.
It also determined the new set of Executive Committee members for 2012-2014, which in turn elected the new set of officers.
Through a collegial process that follows the tradition of leadership rotation, the Execom elected FNN President Uon Sophal as the new AFA Chairperson, the representative from Ainoukai as Vice-Chaiperson and the representative from API as Treasurer, while re-appointing Esther Penunia as Secretary General.
10th year anniversary, international women’s day, and tribute to farmer leaders
The general assembly was also an occasion for celebration and commemoration.
AFA celebrated its 10th year of existence through an exhibit of agricultural products, solidarity night, ritual of mixing and distributing traditional rice varieties from each Asian country, reading of solidarity statements from partners, awarding of plaques of appreciation, launching of a draft anniversary video and banners containing 10 themes, and the announcement of a plan to come out with a coffee table book highlighting AFA’s important achievements and future plans.
AFA also celebrated International Women’s Day during the field visit, courtesy call to VNFU headquarters, and solidarity night on March 8.
The Women Advanced Farmers’ Federation (WAFF), AFA’s first and so far only FO member composed solely of women, gave away gifts to women farmers during the field visit to the organic farming project.
VNFU’s Chairperson and other leaders also presented gifts to all AFA women during the courtesy call at the VNFU headquarters.
AFA’s women were again honored during the solidarity night, where they were given roses and asked to share their sentiments about the occasion.
Finally, the general assembly also set aside a special time to commemorate the heroism and martyrdom of farmer leaders in AFA who have died in the struggle for farmers’ rights.
The life and death of farmer leaders Lee Kyung Hae of South Korea; Vicente Paglinawan, Renato Penas, and Florita Caya of the Philippines; and women farmers Lamlaya Chamchamagar and Janak Kumari Chaudhary who died during the land rights campaign in Nepal were presented at the opening of the general assembly, followed by a moment of silence and a dedication of the event to their memory.
AFA attended the preparatory CSO meeting last January 18-19, 2012 in Hanoi, Vietnam hosted by AFA member Viet Nam Farmers Union (VNFU). The objective of the meeting was to discuss the details of preparation for the CSO parallel forum to the 31st FAO Asia- Pacific Regional Conference which will be held on March 12-16, 2012. The meeting was able to come-up with key agreements on the design and the institutional arrangements related to the conduct of CSO parallel forum. The body was able to agree to form an organizing committee (OC) that will anchor the over-all conduct of the CSO parallel forum as well as ensure the meaningful interaction of CSO delegates to the official FAO-APRC process. The organizing committee is composed of VNFU as the head and representatives from established regional platforms engaging FAO (AHC and IPC) including AFA, APNFS, PAN-AP and IMSE. (Report and photo by Lany Rebagay, AFA Advocacy Officer)
Farmers in the central highland region were believed when the price of coffee constantly increased from VND25 million per tonne in 2009 to VND35 million per tonne in 2010. At that time, it eventually hit more than VND41 million per tonne, the highest level for the past 15 years.
The price hike caused a number of difficulties for businesses because they lacked capital. In the current situation, some businesses are likely to go bankrupt. When the price of coffee goes up businesses need huge capital to continue trading. Meanwhile, banks raised loan rates and tightened loan control.
Import-Export Company 2/9 in the Central Highland Dak Lak province recently purchased more than 35,000 tonnes of coffee beans, reaching 30 percent of planned total mass due to shortage of capital.
The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has confirmed that the US Department of Commerce (DOC) increase in the level of anti-dumping tariffs on Vietnam’s tra (Pangasius) fish runs counter to the letter and spirit of the free trade agreements between Vietnam and the US.
In an open letter sent to the Vietnamese Government and the US Ambassador in Vietnam on September 16, VASEP expressed indignation and concern over DOC’s preliminary antidumping duty rates in the sixth administrative review applied to Vietnam’s tra frozen fillets exported to the US.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ho Xuan Hung spoke to Thoi bao kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times) newspaper about ways to fund rural development
Viet Nam is on the way to becoming an industrialised country by 2020. Are we causing difficulties for industries when we ask them to pay agricultural debts?
Vietnamese farmers and agriculture experienced a long period of economising to build the country’s industry and they still make a lot of sacrifices for the country’s industrial development.
Millions of rural residents give up their land for the construction of hydroelectric plants, water reservoirs, industrial zones and residential quarters though they don’t benefit much from them. They have to move from their homeland to establish new villages and settle down. Therefore, using industry to pay agricultural debts is a reasonable requirement.
VietNamNet Bridge – Though Vietnam is an agricultural country with 70 percent of its population living in rural areas, agriculture insurance has not developed. Phung Dac Loc, Secretary General of the Vietnam Insurance Association, talks about the issue.
Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon: Could you please tell us about the proportion of agriculture insurance in the non-life insurance sector in Vietnam?
Phung Dac Loc: Agriculture insurance premiums in Vietnam are inconsiderable compared with total non-life insurance premiums. The premiums in 2009 were modest at 1.7 billion dong, while total non-life insurance premiums were 13,644 billion dong. The figure was 958 million dong in the first half of 2010 vs. 8241 billion dong.
In what is being described as a landmark case, a Taiwanese owned manufacturer has made an out of court settlement with thousands of Vietnamese farmers who claim pollution caused by the firm significantly effected their livelihoods.
Vedan Vietnam, which makes food additives including monosodium glutamate (known as MSG), reportedly discharged waste water in such quantities into the local river that it killed the ecosystem. Thousands of fish and shrimp farmers claimed the toxic waters killed their catch and ruined farmland along the river’s banks. Vedan has admitted responsibility and offered compensation worth US$11.5 million to farmers in three provinces.
Presenter: Bo Hill
Speakers: Huang, Vietnam Farmers Union; Le Viet Hung, director, Natural Resources and Environment Department, Dong Nai, Vietnam
VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese coffee producers apply different standards that are not applied throughout the world. As a result, Vietnamese coffee exporters suffer from a competitive disadvantage in the world market.
Numerous meetings and workshops discussing Vietnamese coffee standards on coffee export products have been organized over the last ten years. However, the problems still persist.
The Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association (Vicofa) has just organized one more workshop on the issue. The association once again called for the application of international standards for coffee exports.
HA NOI — Rice exporters are facing difficulties negotiating export prices due to domestic rice price increases, said the Viet Nam Food Association.
The association said this increase had made farmers happy but brought concerns to exporters. The exporters would have more difficulty in confirming export contracts because they could not compete with rival countries.
Over the last two weeks, rice prices have risen by VND500-1,000 per kilo to VND4,100-4,400 for low-quality rice, VND4,800 per kilo for medium-quality rice, and VND5,500 per kilo for high-quality rice.
Each year, Vietnam produces 180,000 tonnes of tea including 130,000 tonnes for export, earning US$79 million. Currently, it ranks fifth in the world in both production and export volume.
Over the past 15 years, the tea sector has surpassed its set targets for cultivated acreage, productivity and export volume. But export tea prices are lower than those in other countries such as India, Sri Lanka, and Kenya.
Vietnam has a total area of 120,000 hectares of tea grown in 34 provinces, mostly in the northern mountainous and central highland regions.
In 2009, the average price of tea in those countries was US$2.43 per kilo while Vietnamese tea stood at US$1.23 per kilo.
Between 1998 and this year, the world’s average tea price increased by 18 percent while Vietnam’s tea price fell by 20 percent.
HCM CITY — Viet Nam should restructure its livestock industry by applying lessons learnt from other countries, an expert has said.
“Global consumption of meat, milk and eggs is increasing, with greatest increase in South and Southeast Asian countries,” Andrew Speedy, representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, told a conference on livestock industry outlook in HCM City last week.
As Viet Nam’s population would rise from 86 million to 126 million by 2050, demand for pork and poultry was projected to rise from 2.3 million to 3.4 million tonnes and 415,000 to 610,000 tonnes respectively, Speedy said.
To meet the increasing demand, Viet Nam must enhance livestock production by encouraging investment in industrial poultry production, he said.
Nhan Dan – The adverse impact by the global economic crisis in 2009 had been made on the whole economy of Vietnam and gone deep in every corner of the rural areas to every farmer’s family, according to the survey result by the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agricultural and Rural Development.
As for the cultivation industry, with the maximal efforts by the authorities at all levels and farmers, the area nationwide under cultivation was not reduced and corn and rice productivity increased, but due to the sharp increase in prices of input materials whereas the prices of products did not rise of if any, it did not match with the increase in input cost, resulting in considerable decrease in profit. The survey made among households in Bac Can province showed that profit from rice production reduced by 8 – 20% according to the number of members each household had. In Nam Dinh, the fairly well-off households’ rice production cost was up 40.1%, whereas their profit was down 31.2%.
The animal husbandry and fishery sector had faced even bigger difficulties in 2009. It is because of the fact that prices of petroleum increased so high whereas prices of shrimps and fish were not high enough, or if any, it did not rise as required, so thousands of offshore fishing ships had to be stranded on shore. Especially, a state of affairs had cropped up that the area under aquaculture in a lot of localities had been abandoned.
VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese rice exporters will not be significantly affected by the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), which zeroed out tariff on exports among six member countries of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), effective on January 1 2010, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
The tariff reduction will not have much impact on Vietnamese rice production and trading as the countries does not have many rice export contracts with ASEAN countries, except for the Philippines, said deputy head of MARD’s Institute of Agriculture and Rural Development Policy and strategy.
Five other ASEAN member, including Vietnam, would apply the zero tax rates on the other members in 2015.
The adverse impacts of climate change on the Mekong Delta in Vietnam will be amplified several times if hydropower dams planned upstream by other countries are built, experts say.
Both local and international experts said at a forum on the Mekong River environment organized by the Can Tho University on Wednesday that the dams will seriously threaten food security in riparian countries.
Dao Trong Tu, former Vietnam country coordinator for the Mekong River Commission, said three hydropower dams are already under construction in China, and another 11 were planned in Laos and Cambodia.
La Chhuon, an expert of Oxfam Australia in Cambodia, said fishermen in the country had told him they wanted to eat fish and would not be able to eat electricity generated by hydropower dams.