Beyond PPI Compacts: Commitment for sustainable production in Vietnam

Seven years of efforts to engage the local public sector in a partnership with end buyers, traders, farmers,  development partners, and civil society organizations (CSOs) in Vietnam enabled IDH to achieve their strong engagement and commitment to field-level sustainability in coffee and pepper productions, which goes beyond the existing interventions of PPI (Production, Protection, and Inclusion) Compact.

“IDH is not a big donor, but creates big initiatives,” said Mr. Su Thanh Hoai, Chairman of Lac Duong District People’s Committee. “It’s like putting every gear of a machine into their right positions and making them work together. IDH has actually created a team – not only a partnership – of the public and private sector, companies, farmers, services providers, etc. who join forces and work on mutual objectives with concrete actions. We have not ever done the same before.”

The mutual objectives and actions were made into a PPI Compact and harmonized with the green growth targets of the district. “Working in this way enabled us to have a clearer picture and define the roadmap towards achieving sustainability to meet market demand,” Mr. Hoai underlines. “We are committed to investing in interventions beyond the compact through coordinating and concentrating the existing resources as it also helps us achieve green growth objectives.”

Investment, Engagement, and Commitment

Mr. Bui Duc Hao, Program Field Officer, said: “PPI Compact is a catalyst for changes in Di Linh. The district pushed up the implementation of a reforestation program funded by the central government because it committed to increase forest coverage under the compact. In 2019, the district reforested 500 hectares of land. IDH did not invest in this activity. Di Linh District People’s Committee also concentrated its resources to build a community irrigation system in Tan Nghia Commune. The system will be replicated to other areas by using the resources of its irrigation program.”

“We decided to dredge a stream and mobilize local communities to sacrifice their lands to build a road in the mini-landscape area,” Mr. Hoai said. “Both works will be done by our resources. We have convened relevant authorities to allow farmers to clear lands for artichokes in the mini-landscape, ensuring short-term livelihoods for the local community.” All of these go beyond the previous commitments of the district to the project as they see it contributes to the sustainable landscape while also meeting the demand of agricultural markets towards improved quality.

Mr. Vu Dinh Khiem, Program Field Officer, underlined that effective and strong engagement of the public sector at local level was the biggest commitment beyond the PPI Compact in Krong Nang District. “The objectives of the compact fit with the development goals of the district. The compact maps out the solutions to many issues that the district is facing. They have reasons to be committed to doing more than we expect. In its meeting on 24 February 2020, the Steering Committee requires the mobilization of existing resources for the implementation of its compact while proposing for replication of the compact beyond 2020”.

Mr. Truong Hoai Anh, Chairman of Krong Nang District People’s Committee, underlines: “I think that no international organization can do what IDH has done in Krong Nang District. Apart from co-funding, IDH functions its roles of initiating ideas, facilitation and convening stakeholders so well. It facilitates transformational changes in our sector governance. It also helps to improve awareness, behavior and the way of working of each staff of the local authority”.

A long process, a huge effort

The Landscape and Coffee Programs of IDH started with individual projects with companies between 2013 and 2016. At that time, the public sector was engaged through certain activities like workshops or creating an enabling environment for the programs and businesses to work together. Since 2016, the provincial public and private steering committees for sustainable landscapes were established with the participation of the public sector to give guidance for programs, support improved legal framework to pave the way for programs with businesses to run well. In this step, their awareness was built up and they were engaged in the implementation of the program’s activities. In 2019, IDH worked together with the public sector to design and co-implement the PPI Compact.

Mr. Hao said: “It took us seven years with huge efforts to persuade the public sector to collaborate with us. They were persuaded because they saw the value of the approach applied by IDH that also allows them to achieve their objectives. They were persuaded because they saw the results of pilot models implemented by IDH in their areas. And, IDH is very open for sharing experience and lessons learned with all stakeholders, including the public sector”.

“More importantly, we engaged the public sector to ensure their ownership,” Mr. Khiem said. “There are so many projects or programs which were pushed to them by the central government and not harmonized with their specific circumstances. Instead, IDH joins forces with them to learn their needs and design intervention programs as well as co-fund for its implementation. It is the right approach which helps us to achieve their commitment beyond the PPI Compact.”