A new PGS is coming to life in Ha Nam province

A new PGS is coming to life in Ha Nam province

04/07/2018
in News

On 28-30 May, Rikolto organised a 3-day workshop to design a new participatory guarantee system (PGS) for safe vegetables in Ha Nam province, marking the first step in the creation of the brand new PGS Ha Nam.

PGS is a low-cost quality assurance mechanism that guarantees the quality of safe agricultural products and has the potential to regain consumers’ trust. In a context where smallholder farmers are struggling to obtain certifications for their safe vegetable production, PGS has the potential to create new market opportunities for smallholder farmers and to ultimately increase their income. On the other hand, PGS enables greater transparency, traceability and a closer relationship between farmers, consumers, and authorities, thus contributing to improved trust in the value chain. This inception workshop had five main purposes:

  • To teach new PGS stakeholders about the PGS development process
  • To identify the most appropriate structures of the new PGS Ha Nam
  • To determine the conditions for stakeholders’ participation in the PGS
  • To agree on the general framework for PGS Ha Nam’s regulations
  • To test Rikolto’s new training curriculum for the development of PGS

Laying down ground rules for PGS Ha Nam

So far, two farmer organisations are involved in the new PGS Ha Nam: Cat Lai cooperative based in Binh Luc district and Thanh Son Cooperative established in Kim Bang district. When PGS Ha Nam will be fully operational, more farmer organizations will be invited to join in the system.

The workshop was attended by representatives of the 2 cooperatives, a safe vegetable buyer and representatives from Rikolto’s implementing partners in Ha Nam: the provincial Agro-Forestry and Fisheries Quality Assurance Department and the Crop Production and Plant Protection Department. The discussions were facilitated by a group of leading PGS experts in Vietnam including Ms. Tu Tuyet Nhung, chairwoman of PGS Vietnam, Ms. Tran Thi Thanh Binh from Vietnam National University of Forestry, Dr. Pham Thanh Hai, former principal of The North Vietnam College of Agriculture and Rural Development (NVCARD), and Rikolto’s in-house experts.

During the workshop, participants agreed on a series of decisions related to the organisation of PGS meetings, the recording of documentation, the monitoring and certification process, the new logo for PGS, and vegetable packaging.

The next steps will be to finalise the regulations for PGS Ha Nam based on the decisions that were made during the workshop, to discuss and validate them with all stakeholders, and to finalise the formation of farmer groups.

The Plant Protection Department will also issue a list of recommended agrochemical inputs to be used within PGS Ha Nam based on the national list and their availability locally. Only farmers who apply the inputs as recommended by the Department will be allowed to obtain a PGS certification.

Testing Rikolto’s new PGS training curriculum

In addition to launching a new PGS in Ha Nam, the workshop was also the occasion for the training team to reflect on the adequacy of the new training curriculum for PGS. After more than 6 months of collaboration with the PGS expert team, Rikolto developed a new guidebook for trainers to set up and manage their own PGS. The guidelines include lesson plans and facilitation tips to guide trainers through the different steps required to create a new PGS.

Every evening after the workshop, the team came together to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the different sessions. Based on these reflections, the team updated the content and structure of the tool to better reflect the reality of the field. In addition, a trainer’s guide on BasicGAP, a safe vegetable production standard used with PGS, was developed following a Farmer Field School approach.

The PGS toolbox for trainers will be officially launched at an event taking place in Hanoi on Monday 30 July. If you wish to receive an invitation for the event or to be informed of future PGS developments, send us an email at vietnam [at] rikolto.org

As part of its 5-year programme in Vietnam, Rikolto aims to support 21 farmer organisations to implement PGS by the end of 2021.

Any questions? Ask our expert Mr. Hoang Thanh Hai, Vegetable Programme Coordinator

Hoang Thanh Hai
Hoang Thanh Hai
Vegetable Programme Coordinator and National Tea Project Coordinator
+84-24 6258 3640/41 - ext. 32