Thousands of small-scale bamboo growers and clam farmers stand to benefit from a 4.3 million euro ($5 million) project that will enable them to improve product quality and sustainability while enhancing access to new markets.
The project will enable small-scale farmers to gain greater say along the value chain through comprehensive development, starting from the policy level and extending to grassroots assistance.
The “Inclusive and sustainable clam and bamboo value chains development in Vietnam” project, part of an overall effort to reduce poverty and inequality, has been initiated by Oxfam and funded by EuropeAid.
It will help small scale producers (SSPs) and Micro/Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) processors in the provinces of Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Tien Giang, Thanh Hoa and Nghe An. Oxfam in Vietnam will coordinate implementation of the project in partnership with International Collaborating Center for Aquaculture and Fisheries Sustainability (ICAFIS), Non-Timber Forest Products Research Center (NTFPRC) and Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).
The project, implemented over five years (2018-2022), will directly benefit 150 manufacturing groups with 35,000 members and 60 medium and small processing companies.
Ms. Babeth Ngoc Han Lefur, Director of Oxfam in Vietnam, noted that incomes of small-scale manufacturers can improve if their products can meet needed quality and sustainable production standards, and they can negotiate better with with processing and trading companies.
This would in turn help them “gain increasingly effective access to both domestic and global markets,” she said.
By facilitating innovation of manufacturing techniques and increasing added value and effectiveness in processing and trading, the project will focus on improving the ability of small manufacturing families.
It will, simultaneously, offer technical support for leading firms in the field of bamboo and clam production with a view to meeting fundamental sustainable production standards for bamboos and clams.
Sustainable production standards are perquisites to accessing critical markets like Europe.
Doctor Phan Van Thang, Director of Non Timber Forest Products Research Center, said that in order to increase added value and competitiveness of bamboo products, strict adherence to sustainable standards of manufacturing was imperative.
The project will also seek to establish a favorable policy landscape towards enhancing the efficiency of value chain management.
It also envisages the establishment of public-private unions in the five provinces. The unions will include local authorities, public service organizations, finance organizations, leading firms, socio-political organizations and other partners. They will practice sustainable development strategies, increase trade promotion, access to credit and market penetration.
New markets for bamboos and clams will be researched and approached via domestic and global trade promotions, especially through partners like the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), and other associations and networks of international retailers.
Doctor Pham Van Chat, an arbiter with the Vietnam International Arbitration Center (at VCCI) and Reporter at Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that most European countries, Japan and United States had regulations for bamboo, rattan and craft imports, especially concerning environment protection.
Under these rules, countries should have control over material origins, harmful insects and infections. Improper drying techniques would particularly affect a product’s acceptability in such markets.
Clams and bamboos are two vital resources that help sustain and improve livelihoods for 1.5 million small-scale farmers in Vietnam.
With increasing domestic and global consumption of bamboo products and seafood items like clams, it is hoped that helping small-scale farmers gain greater access to markets will help alleviate poverty, promote equality and sustain livelihoods for millions.