An office, as part of a collaboration between CABI and the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS), has been opened in Hanoi to help strengthen food security and development of a responsible and sustainable food system in Vietnam.
The dedicated facility, at the headquarters of VAAS, follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between both parties to bolster Vietnam’s capacity to conduct long-term international cooperation in agricultural science and technology.
This includes the sustainable management of crop pests and diseases. Previously CABI has worked, for example, on projects such as the training of plant doctors in operation of coffee clinics to provide crop health advisory services to coffee growers.
CABI also worked to help farmers produce fruit crops through innovative and market oriented IPM, and to control the sweet potato weevil in Vietnam.
Further collaboration will also take place on research and projects such as the CABI-implemented Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) ‘safer spices’ project as well as the use of a AI Plant Doctor App to help tackle pests and diseases which can devastate dragon fruit crops.
Professor Dr Nguyen Hong Son, President of VAAS, said, “The opening of the project office is a milestone of VAAS-CABI collaboration. It is also very timely as the country enters into a new era of agricultural development and transformation towards a more transparent, responsible, and sustainable food system.
“VAAS and CABI will work more closely to carry out research and development activities in agricultural science and technology, to help farmers produce safer and high-quality food for better market access and increased income, and to address the new challenges such as climate change and invasive pests and diseases.”
Dr Feng Zhang, CABI’s Regional Director, East & South-East Asia, gave an overview of CABI and its partnerships with Vietnam as part of the official opening ceremony, and emphasized the importance of Vietnam-CABI partnership going forward.
Also present was Dr Arnaud Costa, PlantwisePlus Coordinator for CABI East and Southeast Asia, and Dr Muhammad Faheem, Integrated Crop Management Advisor at CABI, who both spoke about completed and ongoing projects in Vietnam.
Other representatives from VAAS were also in attendance including Vice-President Dr Dao The Anh, and Dr Bui Quang Dang, Director of Science, and International Cooperation.
Dr Nguyen Quy Duong of Plant Protection Department (PPD) and Dr Nguyen Van Liem of the Plant Protection Research Institute (PPRI) also joined the proceedings. They also gave updates on their respective plant health activities and proposed priority areas of collaboration with CABI.
Valued member country
The official opening of the project office, which will be managed by CABI Associate Dr Dao Thi Hang, marks more than 30 years of collaboration between CABI and Vietnam who is one of 49 Member Countries of CABI.
The country’s membership is administered through VAAS and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
Dr Zhang said, “Vietnam’s membership of CABI has been valued ever since it joined in 1992 and the opening of the dedicated project office in Hanoi is further testament to our joint commitment to expanding research into sustainable agriculture development.
“The dedicated office facility will help foster and increase greater capacity building in areas of joint research which will ultimately help increase Vietnam’s agricultural production, food security, and ability to access more lucrative export markets.”
Vietnam’s membership of CABI has also allowed CABI to also develop strong partnerships with other organizations such as Center for Vietnam Science and Technology Internationalization Promotion, Ministry of Science and Technology, Vietnam National University of Agriculture, CIRAD, and IRRI, etc.
Shared projects and programmes
This has helped with the implementation of collaborative projects and programmes to address agricultural development needs in the country and southeast Asia region where the use of digital tools can help mitigate devastating crop pests and diseases.
One example of this is the Plantwise programme which, thanks to collaboration with MARD-PPD and with support from the Southern Horticultural Research Institute (SOFRI) and the Western Highlands Agriculture & Forestry Science Institute (WASI), has seen the training of 367 plant doctors and the creation of 45 plant clinics.
These facilities, which include 35 guides and over 166 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.
Dr Dao The Anh, also CABI Liaison Officer, said, “The plant clinics become the farmers’ main source of knowledge and information on crop pest management. 97% of farmers who visited plant clinics had obtained good knowledge of pest control.
“There is a strong need for both parties to work together and contribute to national One Health initiative and Integrated Plant Health Management (IPHM) programme.”
Main image: Group picture of the VAAS-CABI Project Office opening ceremony (Credit: VAAS).