Crucial steps to sustainably produce pepper in Vietnam achieved.
Together with our partners within the Vietnamese taskforce on Pepper and Agrochemicals, a National Sustainability Curriculum for Pepper has been developed and approved by the government of Vietnam and is now the official training material on pepper farming.
The Curriculum includes a Training of Trainers and Training of Farmers, and consists of five modules. On pepper seedlings and replanting technique, pepper tending technique, pest and disease management, techniques of harvesting, semi-processing and storage, and on quality standards and certification. Guidance on the effective and safe use of agrochemicals has also been incorporated as a part of the curriculum. The Curriculum is given to national and local extension workers; i.e. those who provide training services to farmers.
Other key achievements from the Taskforce include the creation of an Agrochemicals App, the establishment of Vietnam Pepper Coordination Board, the implementation of joint field level projects for Sustainable Pepper Production, and legislation change.
The Agrochemicals App provides farmers a list of registered and banned pesticides announced by the Vietnamese government and ISEAL, and includes procedures on how to prevent harmful insects. The piloting of this App and further roll-out will happen in 2019.
The Vietnam Pepper Coordination Board set-up is considered as a further step to institutionalize the Public Private Partnership governance platform and functions as an advisory board to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Taskforce.
Joint field level projects for Sustainable Pepper Production between IDH and private companies have been developed and implemented with aims to fulfil the target of at least 7,000 tons pepper to be sustainably produced and at least 4,000 farmers to be trained in sustainable practices by 2020.
The platform interventions also led to legislation change. Over the last two years, the government of Vietnam banned some active ingredients from pepper disease treatment.
Based on the lessons learned, in the future, IDH, the Vietnam Pepper Association, and the Plant Protection Department, as co-chairs of the Taskforce, will develop a new strategy to attract more support from domestic companies. A more comprehensive strategy to deal with agrochemicals will also be developed in the future. The issue of agrochemicals used in pepper farming has been initially addressed, however, the interventions are somehow still fragmented and not yet been very comprehensive to have impacts at wide scale. Last but not least, over the last 3 years the price of pepper has decreased by 30% every year, leading to narrowing down the farming area, production, and make farmers focus more on quality improvements. This will bring an opportunity to work with key pepper producers on setting up field level projects to produce better quality pepper in their sourcing areas.
The Public Private Partnership Taskforce on Pepper is one out of seven Taskforces focusing on six crops and the cross-cutting issue of agrochemicals under the Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture in Vietnam (PSAV) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. IDH is co-chair of the Partnership, and of the Pepper, Aquaculture, and the Agrochemicals Taskforces.