The story begins with the An Hoa Agricultural Service Cooperative, Vinh Phuc province, specialising in growing cucumbers. Established in 2016, An Hoa Cooperative initially had only 5 hectares of cucumber cultivation, and mainly supplied to the free market. In 2018, Rikolto started to support the cooperative under the project "Development of sustainable agricultural value chains for small farmers in Vinh Phuc". Cooperative members are trained to improve production, business and market access capacities. Since then, the cooperative started to have major contracts with Big C supermarket chains in the North, businesses and industrial kitchens. Due to the increasing supply, in 2020 the cooperative plans to expand the raw material areas.
An inclusive business model for cucumber in Tuyen Quang
The Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony between enterprises and the State management agency marks the success of the association model of the two cooperatives of An Hoa and Minh Tam, and affirming the role of Rikolto in supporting farmers and businesses’ development of production and business, linking enterprises with State agencies and farmers, thereby not only bringing benefits and economic efficiency to farmers, but also developing the agricultural sector in local and sustainable food systems.
From seeking a new production area…
…to a successful model in Tuyen Quang…
In September 2020, An Hoa Cooperative cooperated with Minh Tam Poultry Breeding and Production Cooperative in Son Duong District, Tuyen Quang province, to expand cucumber production areas in the province. With 12 households participating, and a starting area of 3.5 ha, after three months of implementation, the results exceeded expectations with a total yield of 175 tonnes/ 3.5 ha (equivalent to $11,000 / ha / crop) by 12 participating households. All this output of cucumbers is sold by An Hoa cooperative as per commitments. By the end of 2020, the number of smallholders in the model has increased to 200 households with a total area of 40 hectares.
In addition to signing contracts and providing quality plant protection products and varieties from An Hoa cooperative, from the beginning of 2021, households have also been instructed on production techniques and safety standards as well as commitment and responsibility by Rikolto and the local Agricultural Extension Centre.
“My family at first only cultivated in 15 acres of farmland, then increased to 3 ha. With the selling price of about $0.2 / kg, my family's revenue was about $30,000 after only 3 months. Cooperatives also always complete purchases as per commitments and pay on time. We and other households all feel satisfied when participating in the model”.
…and the timely engagement of the Government agencies
On 12 March 2021, the memorandum of understanding signing ceremony between the Agricultural Extension Centre of Tuyen Quang province, the Agricultural Service Centre of districts and Minh Tam Cooperative was officially held, confirming the determination of the governing bodies in supporting model implementation. In 2021, Rikolto will continuously connect three stakeholders including businesses - state agencies - and farmers, along with the cooperatives, to expand raw material areas, provide technical assistance and monitor the implementation process.
It is expected that in 2021, the model's cucumber growing area and consumption will increase to at least 100 hectares with an estimated output of 4,000 tons / year, contributing to localities’ fulfilment of the economic development target for the year.