The first pilot of GCP Progress will be launched in Vietnam soon. This project will assess how far Vietnamese farmers understand and adopt good practices of coffee production, while improving their knowledge of sustainable issues in coffee farming. Additionally, the information collected will become a source for government’s agencies to provide necessary support for farmers in the places where the gaps exist.
During the last year, GCP and the Vietnam Coffee Coordinating Board (VCCB) team worked closely together with the Ministry of Agricultural & Rural Development (MARD) and the Software Provider KIAG to facilitate the impact measurement via the development of a digital tool. This effort entailed an alignment of the SPF and the Vietnam’s assurance system based on the National Sustainability Curriculum (NSC). The ultimate target of this tool is to facilitate impact measurement on the ground, enabling producers to monitor their practices and related changes in productivity, while helping organizations and governments to tailor programs, training and projects for supporting sustainable production.
As one of the world’s biggest coffee producers, Vietnam has a high demand for measuring sustainable practices adoption to support the local coffee producing community and change the general mindset to better reach the domestic and abroad markets with high quality products. That’s is why the Global Coffee Platform chose Vietnam, next to Brazil where National Indicators for the Coffee Sustainability Curriculum are being measured with an App, to become the first country for piloting the reporting tool (GCP Progress) due to the great commitment seen from the local government. Vietnam’s strong public and private alignment, built thanks to the VCCB, has led to a successful field test in Lam Dong province.
Last 11th of June, GCP and VCCB hosted a workshop in Da Lat city with representatives of several provinces and 12 districts in Vietnam. The Ministry of Agricultural & Rural Development (MARD) offered support, along with other organizations: Acom, Olam and Louis Dreyfus. The session presented all relevant legal frameworks issued by the Vietnamese Government, which helped encouraging the active participation of all districts in Lam Dong province towards the tool pilot. The strong political will from MARD and VCCB is an important element which helps sustain the use and scale-up of the data collection approach in the long term.
Following the workshop, a training of trainers (ToT) was organized during from June 12th to 14th in Di Linh district. The ToT has received great support from local authorities and active participation of agricultural extensionists at district and commune level. In the training, delivered by the representatives of Di Linh and KIAG as well as GCP experts, participated by 30 potential master trainers, a monitoring experts group as well as representatives from Di Linh district’s agricultural centre focusing on technical aspects, basic function of smartphones, knowledge of coffee, questions, techniques for interviewing and skill for monitoring. Additionally, a practical session was conducted, in which all participants had the chance to test the tool in 30 households within two villages of one commune. This activity provided constructive feedback that will help improving several functions of the tool and enhancing its user-friendly experience for larger audiences.
After the ToT, and as agreed with the local authorities of Di Linh district, the reporting tool will be piloted with around 15,000 coffee farmers in 5 targeted communes in its first phase. To ensure the tool could be sustainably used at the lowest cost, GCP Vietnam also planned to test a new approach for data collection in one of those areas, in which farmers will collect the data for their own farm, with the initial support of the coffee companies, and the local government. This approach will provide more experience to highlight new scale-up opportunities for the future.
During the launching workshop in Da Lat and the training of Trainers in Di Linh, we collected some comments of the local coffee community:
Why is this project important?
Trader. “Vietnam is struggling with the advertisement of its coffee’s quality. The production of quality coffee in Vietnam is great, but the global market barely knows it. So, besides tracking changes in production practices and improving respective practices, the tool helps us to better advertise our high quality, as we can prove it.”
Producer. “For most producers the income from coffee is barely enough to feed the family. Investment for tools and machines to increase productivity and sustainability is often a struggle because of missing access to finance. So, we hope that we can show our good practices and value, learn from each other and increase our credibility for better support.”
Representative of local authorities: “We are aware of the general issues and struggles of the local coffee producers. Unfortunately, keeping track of details requires lots of efforts and big investments. Thus, we need to increase our reporting to better understand and supply the demand for knowledge transportation, training and support for producers to increase their productivity. The joint effort with GCP can help us to save resources while being able to accomplish this mission.”
What are your expectations with this project?
Producer. “A lot of training sessions are more like advertisement events, where suppliers just recommend using their products instead of providing knowledge for improvement. As a producer, we expect better training sessions conducted by a reliable organization, including the coffee platforms and authorities where we get valuable knowledge to improve our practices and quality.”
Trader. “Knowledge is key to improve production practices and coffee quality. Even certified coffee often does not have a proper valuable price for producers as well as for local trading companies. We want to show and prove the quality of Vietnamese coffee by providing more transparency to help us increasing the income for all supply chain members in Vietnam.”
How does this project accelerate sustainability in Vietnam?
Collector. “Over time Producers have a lot of questionnaires to respond without understanding the actual purpose or seeing value from their efforts. Once the purpose of the current project has been explained to the households, their feedback expressed a lot of interest as they see a potential value for themselves. Based on their interest for the outcome of the project, their responsiveness is much better than any other data collection approaches. Even more interest and responsiveness is gained by the official support of the Vietnamese authorities as this is the first time a data collection is supported by the Government, which is highly appreciated throughout all parties of the local coffee community.”
Stay tuned for more details on the Vietnam Coffee sector! Check the work of the National Coffee Platform in Vietnam