Review on 28 existing decrees, policies, and strategies for ensuring safe and quality agro-products in Vietnam is completed.
Ten (10) documents including 3 national standards/ technical regulations were formulated/ amended/ revised. An additional five documents are being finalized.
On June 2010, MARD issued a decision to establish a steering committee to apply VietGAP in producing vegetable, tea, and fruit under the chairmanship of Vice Minister Bui Ba Bong. In December 2010, the first meeting of the Committee was held in Can Tho city. The second Steering Committee meeting was conducted in VungTau and during the meeting chaired by Vice Minister Bui Ba Bong, the Committee carried out a review on implementation of the VietGAP application movements in vegetable, fruit and tea production.
Units for food safety control have been established in NAFIQAD, DCP, and in each DARD of the 16 participating provinces.
Based on the guideline on pilot implementation of the crop food safety management system (CFSMS) developed by IPMU, 14 provinces are monitoring and reporting on food safety from their respective crop production through a provincial food safety index (PFSI) established under the Project.
To date, 718 staff in relevant agencies under MARD and DARDs departments are trained in food safety and quality certification system.
As of 2011, 29 certification agencies have been accredited for safe vegetables, fruits, and tea to service the project provinces. Since then, a new regulation on certification of fisheries, crop and livestock products which are produced and/or primarily processed in conformity with Good Agricultural Practices in accordance with the Circular no. 48/2012/TT-BNNPTNT has taken effect on 10 November, 2012. Since then, more than 20 VietGAP certification bodies have been re-accredited and are allowed to operate nationwide.
To date, two national GAP standards and 2 technical regulations related to conditions for safe production and primary processing of fresh vegetables, fruits, and tea products have been issued while one more national standard is being finalized and is expected to be issued in 2015.
A total of 95 SAZ models have been identified based on the soil and water quality testing to suit the crop production requirements. Civil works contracts to carry out these investments are at various stages of implementation.
The Safe Agricultural Zone (SAZ) planning schemes identified under the Project cover a total area of 178,780 hectares (ha) across all 16 participating provinces, accounting for 58% of the total agriculture area for tea, fruits and vegetables being targeted by the Project (i.e., 307,029 ha).
Based on the approved SAZ planning schemes, 95 production locations under the schemes have been selected for investment in infrastructure and equipment for safe agricultural production. To date, investments cover a combined area of 2,189 hectares. Infrastructure and equipment upgrades include among others; market access roads, access to electricity and safe water, waste disposal and packing/primary processing facilities, and suitable marketing infrastructure.
To date, certification services carried out by the Project have covered a total of 6,525 hectares of vegetable, fruits and tea production areas. 17,264 household-based producers have been granted with VietGAP certificates.
To date, 14,369 staff have been trained on GAP food safety system management and certification. 34% of participants trained are women.
The replacement of crop varieties was carried out in 10 of the 16 project provinces that produced tea and fruit; and covers a combined area of 14,959 ha. These expected outputs accounts for approximately 19% of the total area of tea and fruit production in need of new varieties (78,959 ha). Based on the updated indicator for this target (i.e., 14,000 ha), the activity is assessed to have been completed.
To effectively monitor, analyze, and certify agriculture products, the Project upgraded key regional laboratories with new laboratory equipment. Six laboratories were re-equipped and included those under the Department of Crop Production (1), Department of Plant Protection (1), and the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD) (3); which are spread across Viet Nam's northern, central and southern regions.
The Project through 16 PPMUs has constructed 30,849 biogas digesters. Of these households, only 29,949 households have so far been technically accepted and received financial assistance.
The BPMU and PPMUs have conducted 2,170 various training courses for 54,201 participants, among who include managers, technicians, builders, and biogas works users. Female participants accounted for 22%. Households trained on the safe construction, operation, and maintenance of biogas digesters have exceeded 30,000.
During implementation, the Project realized that the locations of SAZ models for crops are not necessarily compatible with where livestock farms are situated. Application of bio-slurry to crop production at the identified SAZ models is also not straightforward due to complicated logistic arrangements in safely transporting the bio-slurry and the corresponding costs required. The Project supported the household level biogas digester construction only. A possible linkage between SAZ and medium to large biogas digesters can be assessed under the LCASP. Therefore, the ADB Review Mission agreed to drop this indicator.
Pilot demonstration of 40 medium and 10 large biogas digesters is included in the ADB financed Low Carbon Agriculture Support Project (LCASP). Preliminary discussions have been made in carrying out a market study to assess the demand for medium- and large-scale biogas plants in the five provinces that overlap with Loan 2968-VIE: Low Carbon Agriculture Support Project. The terms of reference for that study have been developed and are under ADB's review. To avoid overlapping, the Mission agreed with the CPMU to remove this indicator from the Project targets.
The CPMU reported that 13,794 households received loans from VBARD and CCF. The target number of households aimed to avail the Project's biogas credit line is not expected to be met due to: (a) overestimated original demand, (b) increased subloan amounts due to price increase of materials and labor, and (c) low repayment rate that makes it difficult to expand the credit coverage. The Mission agreed with the CPMU to reduce the target to 12,000 households.
The Project M&E Consultants has been contracted and mobilized. They are tasked to assist the CPMU and other project implementation units with strengthening of the M&E system for the whole project, and at the same time perform baseline survey and assessment activities for preparing regular and monitoring reports as well as an end-of-project report (project completion report).