A high-level delegation including leaders of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Embassy of Canada in Vietnam, local governments, local authorities, and leaders of the VCED Project did pay a visit to Evergreen Ninh Thuan cooperative and Thanh Binh cooperative.
Welcoming the leaders, the two cooperatives made a deep impression on the achievements that they have achieved recently.
Jared Brading, Counselor for Development Cooperation of the Embassy of Canada in Vietnam shared: “I am so impressed with the way the chairmen have introduced their cooperatives. It shows me that they are very enthusiastic about their co-ops and farmers. And despite a fact that cooperatives, in general, still face many difficulties, especially in market expansion, these leaders do not hesitate, are willing to face challenges, and always seek solutions. This is a valuable thing.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam highly appreciates SOCODEVI's support through the VCED project: “I am grateful for the support of SOCODEVI because it is not just financial aid. By now, we all can see that with SOCODEVI's companionship through the VCED project, the cooperatives have made a clear and effective transformation. The number of members of five supported cooperatives has increased rapidly, the added value of each cooperative also increases every year. That is thanks to the significant improvement of governance capacity, thereby linking the cooperatives' activities to the market mechanism. And now, members of those cooperatives know the importance of promoting trade and how to do it. These are very cherished results.”
Giving Thanh Binh cooperative special compliments for its success in exporting dragon fruits of high value to Canada this year in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Director Cooperative Development Department, Ministry of Planning and Investment Nguyen Van Doan encouraged the co-op to register for a cooperative support program by the government.
Gaby Breton, Co-Director of VCED Project affirmed that supporting cooperatives to expand markets will be the top priority in the coming time: “The Vietnam Cooperative Enterprises Development Project - VCED has been implemented since 2015. In the coming time, we will strengthen our efforts to ensure that cooperatives can expand their markets, both domestic and international. And those must be high-quality markets. At the same time, we will also support these
cooperatives for them to obtain the necessary certifications to penetrate demanding markets. At this stage, by strengthening the cooperatives' business capacity, we aim to bring sustainable benefits to the members as well as bring the best and highest quality products to consumers."
The leaders highly appreciated that SOCODEVI, through the VCED project, will continue to support cooperatives to expand markets and pledged to facilitate the extension of the Project.
The visit took place as the two cooperatives had just completed and put into use new processing factories supported by SOCODEVI, the NGO that co-implements the VCED Project. During this working trip, the senior leadership team visited the new facilities, enjoyed the new products of the two cooperatives and assessed their performance and development potential. The visit marks the recognition of the government from the central to local levels for the efforts and achievements of the two cooperatives in particular and the VCED Project in general in such a difficult year when the global economy has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Evergreen Ninh Thuan, the leaders visited the processing complex built on the land that is the headquarters of the cooperative and another expanded part supported by the Ninh Thuan government. The complex is equipped with modern facilities and equipment following HACCP standards, including the functional areas: sorting, preliminary processing, producing dried- grapes, fermented grape juice, vinegar, distilling wine, packaging, an input storage area, and a showroom. After completing the upgrading of facilities and diversifying the product portfolio, Evergreen Ninh Thuan is actively boosting market expansion while enhancing trade capacity.
Meanwhile, at Thanh Binh dragon fruit cooperative, the working trip took place at a new packing house with modern facilities and equipment that are also qualified with HACCP standards. This packing house helps Thanh Binh Cooperative to become fully autonomous from production to preliminary processing, packaging, thereby enhancing its capacity to meet large orders, especially exports to difficult markets in the world. Right after the packing house came into operation, the cooperative successfully and independently carried out a business-to-business order of dragon fruits to Canada in October, when economic activities were still halted by COVID-19.
During the working trip, the leaders also visited some member-households of Thanh Binh co-op and together put their fingerprints on the murals of both co-ops to show their support.
Evergreen Ninh Thuan and Thanh Binh are two of five cooperatives established in Soc Trang, Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan, Lam Dong, and Ben Tre under the framework of the VCED project. This project is funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada, jointly implemented by SOCODEVI and School of Management for Agriculture and Rural Development II (CMARD II) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The project aims to improve the livelihoods of male and female farmers, through the development of agricultural value chains within the new cooperative model. The VCED project helps increase the cooperatives’ competitiveness through a variety of activities such as farmers’ training, coop governance
strengthening, equipment upgrading, marketing, and branding, etc.Up to now, the cooperatives supported by the project have made certain achievements with modern and safe cultivation methods that follow VietGAP/GlobalGAP standards and, especially, always integrate with environmental protection. Besides, there is a notable improvement in essential issues such as gender equality, as the number of female members, leaders continue to increase, and more women are confident to participate in social activities.
SOCODEVI is a network of 27 cooperatives and mutual organizations established in 1985 in Quebec, Canada to share expertise, practical experience, and the spirit of cooperating with partners in developing countries. SOCODEVI has worked in Vietnam for 20 years, contributing to the country’s sustainable socio-economic development.Since 2015, as the implementing partner for the VCED project, SOCODEVI has supported the cooperatives to build, upgrade facilities and equipment with special funding from the SOCODEVI Foundation.
Author: Thanh Son. Edited by Duc Huy.
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