Rikolto - VECO Vietnam

02/11/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/11/2019 05:10

Rice Programme – Rikolto in Vietnam – To understand better about Value Proposition

Question: What is the reason that we apply *Sustainable Rice Platform ( SRP ) Stardards in our programme?

Dr. Minh - Answer: SRP is one of our intervention strategies. Almost every region in our rice programme has SRP pilot. And with this, we are supporting our rice cluster's global impact.

Q: Why is there a need to develop an SRP brand for domestic market?

A: First, it links to food safety management. Consumers' demand for high-quality rice is increasing. Meanwhile, The reputation for rice quality within domestic market isn't high due to overuse of inputs and pesticides, this leads to high chemical residues in Vietnamese rice. So developing an SRP brand for domestic market will increase accessibility to safe food for consumers. Second, with SRP rice, income for farmers will increase; they can have better long-term relationship with companies that source high-quality rice through signing contracts. Third, with SRP rice production, we aim to reduce greenhouse gas emission, thus reducing climate change impact due to growing rice. And last, SRP production can bring more participation from young people and women into the rice value chain through innovative techniques to grow rice.

Q: You mention about young people, so why should youth be included in the rice value chain?

A: There are two reasons for that. First, farmers, especially rice farmers are aging, there are more old farmers in the field but in most cases we rarely see young people involved. So in order to have sustainable rice production, we need to see more participation from the young people in rice sector in the future. Youth inclusion should be strengthened. Second, for the young people who are already involved in the rice value chain now, they are turning old already, so It can be considered that they soon becomed excluded in the count of youth, what's more important is that the seniority in the rice chain is quite strong, so young farmers' voice is often ignored, and a lot of opportunities are not given to them.

Q: Why and how is Rikolto adopting climate change tackling methods into rice production?

A: The reason why, is because rice sector in the Mekong delta region is victim of climate change. Meanwhile, rice farming is also one of the factors that contribute to climate change. Those are the two reasons why we need to adopt climate change methods in rice production. And how? to address the problems, promoting SRP is also one way to deal with climate change. As a package, SRP can help to reduce water use, leading to better water management - this is a factor contributing to climate change. And in some projects, we are adopting climate-smart rice techniques in rice production such as Alternative Wetting and Drying, Integrated Rice-Fish Farming System, and Modeling of Biochar Production that turns rice straw into biochar instead of burning, by this way it is proved to reduce carbon footprint in rice production.

Q: What is the role of *Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) in sustainable rice production?

A: We have just recently adopted PGS in our rice value chain. In theory, PGS is a tool to have farmers' commitment to SRP standards in rice production. It creates trust within the farmers themselves, help them to gain ownership of their own products through the cross-check activities which are carried out by themselves right in the field. With this, we aim to create a better understanding within farmers about their own SRP application and for them to be more proud of their high-quality rice. PGS is also a better alternative to traditional certification methods such as VietGap or BASicGap. It costs less in terms of certifying the agricultural products, thus reducing the production costs for farmers.

Q: And the last question, how is the Business Development Package ( BD Pack) useful for farmers?

A: For farmers, BD Pack mainly focuses on farmer organizations (FOs) whose work is benefiting individual farmers as the members of that particular FO. With BD Pack, we help training FOs to better manage their business. And they play the role as service providers to the members, and to establish business relationship with the partners. That is the first factor. More than that, we also build their collective production capacity, and we do it through different kinds of interventions including training, facilitating their relationship with rice companies, etc. And the outcome we would like to see is, when they have better collective production planning, and better business management, they will have more power. And individual farmers will benefit from selling their rice through FOs, reducing the transaction costs. And there is opportunity for increasing the price when they sell it in bigger volume to the companies. And they can also build stronger connection with the buyers through bypass collector system. All of this helps to increase their income. Furthermore, FOs can also provide other services related to inputs - fertilizers, seeds, water, etc. and often, they provide those services at a lower cost to their members. So with that taken into account, we see that is the way how individual farmers can benefit from this BD Pack.

Q: Thank you for your sharing about Rikolto Rice Value Proposition.