New Zealand Ambassador to Vietnam Wendy Mathews (R) receives the IFC's Food Safety Toolkit in Vietnam (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, will help Vietnamese smallholders farmers improve the safety of their products like poultry, fruits and vegetables in a new project.

The project is expected to unlock new market opportunities and increase income for the smallholder farmers, thus contributing to better food security, the IFC announced during an event to launch the project in Vietnam on June 22.

The project, Farmer Advisory Component, is a component of IFC’s broader Vietnam Food Safety Programme, which was launched in July 2017 in partnership with the Slovak Republic, aiming to address food safety standards and practices in the country.

The annual food consumption in the domestic market accounts for roughly 15 percent of Vietnam’s GDP, with an average annual growth rate of approximately 18 percent. But, inadequate safety standards can inhibit the sector’s growth potential, jeopardising consumer health and reducing market opportunities for local food producers in the modern food value chain. 

“Implementing internationally accepted food safety practices and systems is essential for the sustainable growth of Vietnam’s agribusiness sector. This will improve competitiveness and help increase sales for farmers and food producers,” said Kyle Kelhofer, IFC Country Manager for Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. “IFC’s work in Vietnam builds on our experience in other countries around the world where we helped local players grow and create new and better opportunities.”

[Vietnam wants World Bank’s support in food safety]

Over the next three years, IFC, in partnership with New Zealand, will raise awareness of increased food safety standards and deliver customised training programmes to about 1,000 smallholder farmers based on the basic level of GlobalGAP requirements and other relevant standards. The project will also provide a more intensive package of support to up to 20 small-scale farms, helping them acquire GlobalGAP certification — an internationally recognised set of farm standards dedicated to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) or equivalent standards.

It will also identify opportunities to connect the trained farmers with potential retailers and agribusiness firms who are looking for internationally certified products. 

“Improving food safety standards in order to access new markets is key to achieving Vietnam’s 40-billion-USD agricultural product export target in 2018 and beyond,” said New Zealand Ambassador to Vietnam Wendy Mathews. “We are very pleased to support IFC's efforts to connect smallholder farmers with growing domestic and international markets. Promoting better agribusiness practices and food safety standards will benefit Vietnam’s farmers, businesses and consumers.” 

Under the IFC Vietnam Food Safety Programme, the IFC has helped 40 poultry houses of two independent downstream poultry farms which source breeding chickens from Bel Ga JSC – a leading poultry breeding firm – acquire the GlobalGAP Certification within just a year. 

By establishing a system for GlobalGAP, which focuses on hygiene and biosecurity, antibiotic reduction, and traceability, among others, these two farms — from Binh Phuoc and Dong Nai provinces — have been able to supply about 3 million GlobalGAP-certified broilers or 6 million kilogrammes of chicken meat to the domestic market and export to Japan over the past year.-VNA