The final workshop for the three-year “Making Markets Work Better for the Poor, Phase 2” project (M4P2) was held in Hanoi on June 21.

The project is supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and will be managed and carried out by the ADB and the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

M4P2 aims to increase participation of poor people in three areas: public private partnerships in infrastructure services, distribution networks and private sector employment.

When addressing the workshop, the Head of DFID Vietnam, Fiona Lappin, said the project aims “to harness one of the core strengths of the private sector in Vietnam” - its ability to generate and invest in new ideas and use them to benefit the poor, by using viable commercial business models that have a strong social impact.

The new approach, which empowers farmers by linking them up to large enterprises, has been piloted to enable rural Vietnamese markets to function better and give poor people the chance to take part in them, she added.

ADB’s Country Director for Vietnam Tomoyuki Kimura said “the project has worked across a number of markets and has proved to be successful,” adding that “as markets expand further they can become a powerful way of pulling people out of poverty, in a sustainable manner.”

Seven sub-projects carried out by a range of companies, from household enterprises to joint venture companies, transnational groups and state-owned enterprises, reflect the diversity of businesses operating in Vietnam’s agricultural sector.

The projects ranging from cheap mushroom growing technologies, to organic tea produced by ethnic minority groups, fertiliser produced from cassava waste, semi-washed Robusta coffee, pomelo and quality controlled fish processed for international supermarket chains.

The initial results show that around 16,900 people have seen a positive impact on their incomes and livelihoods while over 2,100 jobs have been created.-VNA