New GCP Collective Action Initiative addresses Responsible Use of Agro-inputs in Vietnam

10 / May / 20

Plant protection products are commonly used in agriculture to prevent harmful weeds and pests. Yet their effects on the environment and human health are often debated. Against this background, GCP and partners are launching a new Collective Action Initiative to address the responsible use of agro-inputs for coffee in Vietnam. 

While plant protection products are widely used in Vietnam’s coffee sector, little is known about the drivers behind the choice of agro-inputs, applied quantities, product quality, accuracy of use and the effects on human health and the environment. 

Improper application of agrochemicals may incur unnecessary costs for farmers at origin and challenge the industry to meet regulatory requirements at destination. In addition, the main import markets have tightened their food safety regulations. For example, the maximum residue level for glyphosate, a popular herbicide, has been set at 1.0 mg/kg and 0.1 mg/kg in the US and EU respectively. Any container exceeding these levels cannot be exported. This seriously affects the trading, roasting and retail business from origin to coffee on the shelf. As such it calls for industry wide and pre-competitive action to restrict the use of hazardous agro-inputs and develop alternative cost-efficient plant protection practices. 

GCP’s Collective Action Initiative ‘Responsible Use of Agro-Inputs for Coffee’ is now responding to challenges and opportunities regarding agro-inputs with a five-year initiative in Vietnam. The initiative’s objective is to improve the responsible use of agro-inputs in Vietnam’s coffee production through developing best practices based on research and by introducing alternatives. The initiative will thus share sustainable weed management practices in order to reduce environmental pollution, improve the well-being of farmers, reduce costs of production and meet regulatory requirements at coffee destination countries.   

The initiative will focus on two complementary and related intervention levels:

  • Conduct field research to understand current practices and implications of agro-input use with the aim to develop and introduce suitable alternatives.
  • Reduce the use and improve the application, storage and disposal of agro-inputs, through awareness raising and dialogues with farmers and stakeholders. Based on these results, policy recommendations will be developed in coordination with the Vietnamese Coffee Coordination Board and submitted to the government. 

Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Nestlé, Tchibo and The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) are the founding members of this GCP Collective Action Initiative. GCP is inviting and encouraging additional partners to contribute, learn and be part of improving coffee farming practices. The initiative aims to start in June 2020. 

Find out more and join the initiative. Watch our recent webinar on how this new Collective Action Initiative will address responsible use of agro-inputs in Vietnam. Catch the full recording here.

Despite COVID-19, momentum for coffee sustainability ramps up

Meanwhile, the Government of Vietnam has updated GCP’s operational registration permit, news Mr. Pham Quang Trung, GCP Vietnam Program Manager, described as recognition of the Government for “all our work in the country”.

“Working together enables us to achieve greater results at scale. We are happy to see that our works benefit coffee farmers in the Central Highlands of Vietnam”.

Dak Lak and Lam Dong continues to be the key intervention areas of the platform. Currently, GCP is running its activities here, including the replication of the GCP Tool (Farm Code System) and the development of NSC Arabica and the forthcoming Collective Action Initiative.  

Caroline Glowka

Senior Manager Member Relationsemail me

Trung Pham

Program Manager Vietnamemail me