DEVELOPING GOOD AGRICULTURAL PRACTICE SYSTEMS FOR DRAGON FRUIT FARMERS AND EXPORTERS IN VIETNAM: AN HOLISTIC APPROACH TO QUALITY SYSTEM CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT FOR A VIETNAMESE RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Declining prices for domestic products and loss of export markets for Vietnamese fruit and vegetables during 2000-4 highlighted the challenges faced by Vietnams horticultural sector. During this time, producers of dragon fruit witnessed a decline in prices by as much as 60%. While demand for dragon fruit was identified in higher value markets in Europe and North America, regulatory requirements and consumer food safety concerns meant that access to these markets was not possible unless Vietnamese growers could adopt internationally recognised quality systems. However the implementation of these systems requires strong technical skills and knowledge in quality system management by local facilitators in order to train and support industry stakeholders in a sustainable way. This capacity did not exist within Vietnam until recently. In 2005, an Australian Governments funded project began with the overall objective to support the growth of the dragon fruit industry through the implementation of good agricultural practice systems. A key component of the project was to provide adequate technical training and support for Vietnamese extension/researchers to improve their capacity in farmer group and exporter quality management training procedures. This paper outlines how formal training, mentoring and a learning-by-doing approach in conjunction with the private sector has seen project team members emerge as the leading national quality system specialists in their field. They have since demonstrated their capacity to extend these skills to other crops and have begun to form commercial partnerships with industry to provide these services on a user-pays basis.
Rankin, M.K., Campbell, J.M., Hoang, N.H., Hoa, N.V. and Chau, N.M. (2011). DEVELOPING GOOD AGRICULTURAL PRACTICE SYSTEMS FOR DRAGON FRUIT FARMERS AND EXPORTERS IN VIETNAM: AN HOLISTIC APPROACH TO QUALITY SYSTEM CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT FOR A VIETNAMESE RESEARCH INSTITUTE . Acta Hortic. 921, 135-142
tropical fruit, market access, food safety, capacity building, industry-based training