CABI has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) which will see the two parties working together to further help strengthen food security and development of a responsible and sustainable food system in Vietnam.
The signing ceremony was conducted virtually, chaired by Assoc. Pr. Dr Dao The Anh, CABI Liaison Officer and Vice President of VAAS, and witnessed by Dr Qiaoqiao Zhang, Membership Director of CABI.
The agreement, which will also see the establishment of a dedicated VAAS-CABI Project Office in Hanoi, aims to bolster Vietnam’s capacity to carry out long-term international cooperation in agricultural science and technology. This includes, for example, the sustainable management of crop pests and diseases.
It also features additional collaboration on research and projects such as the CABI-implemented Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) ‘safer spices’ project as well as help mitigating pests such as the fall armyworm.
Vietnam is one of the world’s largest producers of peppercorn exporting an estimated 220,000 tonnes a year to over 100 countries including high-value markets in Europe and the United States. The ‘safer spices’ project aims to secure market access through improved food safety within the peppercorn value chain.
It is anticipated that the agreement with VAAS will help with the development of novel technologies for sustainable management of crop pests and diseases – including coffee berry borer on Vietnam’s coffee crops – as well as using safer-to-use and more environmentally friendly biological control solutions as part of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies.
Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, CABI’s Executive Director of Global Operations, said, “Vietnam has been a valued Member Country since its’ joining CABI in 1992. Our agreement with VAAS and the creation of a dedicated joint office at their headquarters in Hanoi is a further step towards greater capacity building in research and the field to help increase the country’s agricultural production, export ability, economic gain and overall food security.”
The enhanced partnership will also help increase the use of pest risk analysis tools, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and the monitoring of Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for pesticides applied as part of improvements along the food value chain.
Professor Dr Nguyen Hong Son, President of VAAS, said, “VAAS has a long history of collaboration with CABI. Vietnam’s agricultural sector has entered into a crucial transformation stage, not only increasing the productivity but also improving the food quality and enhancing the competitiveness of agri-food value chains in the domestic and international markets.
“CABI is regarded by VAAS as a very promising partner organisation to work together and implement collaborative projects/programmes to address agricultural development needs in the country and southeast Asia region.”
Dr Feng Zhang, CABI’s Regional Director, East & South-East Asia, added, “CABI-VAAS collaboration has included help to foster good agricultural and hygiene practices in peppercorn and spices value chains as well as the creation of digital tools to help mitigate issues such as major pests and diseases of coconut – another economic crop for Vietnam.”
Another way in which CABI has been supporting smallholder farmers in Vietnam is through the Plantwise programme which, in collaboration with CABI, has seen the Plant Protection Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Southern Horticultural Research Institute (SOFRI) and Western Highlands Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute (WASI) establish 25 plant clinics.
These facilities, which include 35 guides and 63 factsheets written with the support of VAAS, strengthen the capacity of extension staff to deliver quality plant health advice through plant clinics and complementary extension approaches.
They also work by strengthening the linkages between plant health system stakeholders – leading to better targeting and coordination of farmer support.
Through CABI’s engagement and further technical discussions with Sustainable Management Services (SMS) Vietnam, for instance, a project in 2019 sought to train plant doctors on safe pesticide use on coffee plants in Vietnam.
This included the calibration of equipment, use of Personal Protection Equipment, the safe manipulation of pesticide and pesticide resistance management.
Other work and services CABI have provided in Vietnam include training farmers in sustainable pomelo production, researching youth engagement in the country’s agriculture and providing Vietnam with free access to CABI’s Crop Protection Compendium and Pest Risk Analysis Tool.
Main image: CABI’s agreement with the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) will help ensure greater food security in Vietnam which is one of the world’s main exporters of peppercorn (Credit: CABI).
Relevant project page
See also the project page ‘Food safety and market access for peppercorn in Southeast Asia.’
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