Improving market access for farm produce

(VEN) – Implemented from 2008-2013, the Food and Agricultural Products Quality Development and Control Project (FAPQDC) funded by Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) contributed to improving the quality and food safety and hygiene standards and market access for Vietnamese agricultural products.

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As the project’s main implementer, the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said that the project not only provided technical assistance but also solutions to manage production and sales through food safety control in the whole production chain and therefore connected manufacturers with consumers.

The project developed technical guidance for application of production standards and processes such as VietGAP, GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice), VietGAHP and standard operating procedures (SOPs). The project also trained farmers and producers in applying VietGAP, VietGAHP and GMP processes and provided training in vegetables and fruit production, packaging and sales, safe pig and chicken slaughtering and sales based on international standards. To be specific, the project provided training in VietGAP, VietGAHP and GMP application in the production of and trade in vegetables, fruits, pork and poultry meat for 574 people from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s organizations, departments of agriculture and rural development, departments of health and departments of industry and trade of provinces as the project’s beneficiaries. It also provided training in inspection and product testing for hundreds of quality control cadres from different models in eight provinces involved in the project; This is an important resource to extend food safety control models, a CIDA Coordinating Committee representative said.

All of 14 vegetable and fruit production models in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Lam Dong, Thanh Hoa, Dong Nai, Tien Giang and Bac Giang provinces were awarded the VietGAP certification. All of 11 pig farms and 11 of the 13 chicken farms were awarded the VietGAHP certification, while all of six pig and chicken slaughterhouses and all of five pork and chicken meat selling facilities were certified to meet food safety standards.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that sample food safety control models were multiplied in different localities through the project for construction and development of supply chains of safe products towards assuring high quality of agricultural products for domestic consumption and export from 33 provinces and cities nationwide. Successful experience in building and developing pilot safe farm produce production and trading chain models and food safety control systems of the project was popularized and transferred to 63 provinces, management agencies, research institutions and universities throughout the country.

One of the important results of the project is its support for upgrading seven testing laboratories.

Along with safety control, models also ensured environmentally friendly production, had adequate benefits for workers and clarified product origins. It also implemented activities to enhance market access for products including trademark construction, green label VietGAP logo design, labeling and packaging, and advertisement of certified products.

Food safety control models have had stable markets, increased sales and sold products at higher prices compared to supermarkets, canteens and safe fruit and vegetable stores and changed the way of thinking and doing business in farm produce production and trade, contributing to increasing benefit for producers and consumers./.

By Nguyen Tien Dung

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