On July 9, 2021, Ha Nam Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department - Department of Agriculture and Rural Development held a conference titled "Publishing the guiding documents for the system to jointly ensure quality assurance (PGS) for safe vegetables in the province." The conference attracted representatives of leaders of relevant departments and agencies at all levels, Rikolto in Vietnam, and some cooperation vegetable production and trading communes in the province.
Ha Nam publishing practical guidelines for PGS safe vegetables
Within 5 years of implementing the project "Building a sustainable vegetable value chain for smallholders in Ha Nam" since 2017, according to research, farmers earn more money from PGS vegetables than from non – PGS certified vegetables and other crops. Famers in the province earn an average of 110-430 USD per month from safe vegetables and PGS organic vegetables, depending on production scale and season. Most PGS have stable sales contracts with retailers or collective kitchens.
Rikolto has been supporting Ha Nam province to apply PGS since 2018, initially in Trac Van producing vegetables following organic standards, applied to Cat Lai and Thanh Son cooperatives in 2019 to produce vegetables following basic GAP standards. So far, Trac Van and Cat Lai's vegetable products have been present at the supermarket system in Hanoi, while also expanding into new consumer markets such as Tuyen Tuyen Company, TD Mart Company (Hai Duong), Phu Yen Cooperative (Hung Yen), Bao An Cooperative, and numerous school kitchens throughout the province. According to PGS, the total number of farmers producing safe vegetables in Cat Lai is 42 households with an area of 10 hectares. During the winter crop of 2020, the PGS system was used as an internal control tool when applying the GlobalGap standard for exported cabbage products and certified in Cat Lai. In 2021, the application of the PGS system for quality management is expanding to apply at Thanh Tan cooperative - Thanh Liem - Ha Nam.
In PGS implementation sites, environmental sustainability is ensured by complying with organic or GAP standards. Farmers implementing PGS have more closely linked activities with the community, learning responsibility to the community. Some creative PGS organize community activities and mini fairs for farmers to share experiences and learn from each other.
Speaking at the conference, Mr. Nguyen Manh Hung, Deputy Director of Ha Nam Department of Agriculture and Rural Development highly appreciated PGS's suitability for small-scale production in the province and stated that the province will strengthen its use of PGS as a quality assurance system throughout the province in near future.
PGS stands for "Participatory Guarantee System" - The system that participates in ensuring food quality and safety, being applied in more than 70 countries around the world. PGS helps ensure the quality of organic and safe vegetables for consumers and contributes to improving livelihoods and increasing incomes for farmers.
PGS operates transparently based on the active participation of parties: producers, traders, support units such as state management agencies, and especially consumers. Up to now, PGS is the only Quality Monitoring System with the participation of consumers.
Decision 131/QD-SNN dated July 8, 2021 of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on the promulgation of documents guiding the practice of the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) for vegetables all over Ha Nam province.
Practical guide for the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) for safe vegetables in Ha Nam province.