Báo cáo Nghiên cứu khoa học Enhancing smallholders’ access to Agribusiness in the Central region of Viet Nam

Tài liệu Báo cáo Nghiên cứu khoa học Enhancing smallholders’ access to Agribusiness in the Central region of Viet Nam: Collaboration for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) Program 64 THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF AGRIBIZ PROJECT Project title: Enhancing smallholders’ access to Agribusiness in the Central region of Viet Nam Project code: CARD 055/04 VIE Author(s): Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mai Van Xuan1, Dr. Sandra Martin2, Stewart Pittaway2 Project Implementing organisations: 1 Faculty of Economics and Development Studies, Hue College of Economics 2 Lincoln University, New Zealand 1. Introduction This project, implemented from 2005 to 2009, aiming at developing the agribusiness capacity of the Faculty of Economics and Development Studies (FEDS) at Hue College of Economics (HCE) so that they can act as a strategic resource for rural development in the Central regions of Vietnam. The lack of agribusiness skills of smallholders and the provincial extension staff leads to constraints in livelihood improvement for the smallholders. The project methodology is to let the Australian partner, Lincoln U...

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Collaboration for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) Program 64 THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF AGRIBIZ PROJECT Project title: Enhancing smallholders’ access to Agribusiness in the Central region of Viet Nam Project code: CARD 055/04 VIE Author(s): Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mai Van Xuan1, Dr. Sandra Martin2, Stewart Pittaway2 Project Implementing organisations: 1 Faculty of Economics and Development Studies, Hue College of Economics 2 Lincoln University, New Zealand 1. Introduction This project, implemented from 2005 to 2009, aiming at developing the agribusiness capacity of the Faculty of Economics and Development Studies (FEDS) at Hue College of Economics (HCE) so that they can act as a strategic resource for rural development in the Central regions of Vietnam. The lack of agribusiness skills of smallholders and the provincial extension staff leads to constraints in livelihood improvement for the smallholders. The project methodology is to let the Australian partner, Lincoln University, develop the agribusiness and applied research skills for the FEDS staff in a 3-year period. The capacity building program includes 3 major phases: i) Survey to determine the agribusiness needs of smallholders and provincial staff in 4 Central region provinces: Nghe An, Thua Thien Hue, Kon Tum, Quang Ngai; ii) Development of training courses for them and the development of an agribusiness program curriculum at HCE; iii) Delivery of the training courses for smallholders and provincial agencies including the development of the capacity of the provincial agencies to deliver effective agribusiness training courses for smallholders. Project outputs will include: i) FEDS with an improved agribusiness teaching, research and consultancy skills, HCE with an improved agribusiness curriculum; ii) Provincial agency staff with enhanced agribusiness skills and able to deliver courses for smallholders then they with better agribusiness skills and supported by more effective provincial agencies; iii) Smallholders with better agribusiness skills and supported by more effective provincial agencies in order to improve their livelihood. Overall goal of this project is enhancing smallholders’ access to Agribusiness Services in the Central Region of Viet Nam in way of providing smallholders necessary skills in Agribusiness so that they can improve their livelihoods. The expected outputs of the projects are (1) FEDS with improved applied research skills and agribusiness training, teaching, research and consultancy skills; (2) FEDS with an improved agribusiness curriculum; (3) Provincial agency staff with enhanced agribusiness skills and able to deliver agribusiness training courses for smallholders; and (4) Smallholders with better agribusiness skills and supported by more effective provincial agencies. 2. Approach and Methodology 2.1. Approach Our approach is based upon lessons learned from the partners’ previous and current rural development and capacity building works in the Central Regions as well as Lincoln University’s experience in other capacity building projects. Capacity building projects need to be based upon a sustained program of activities. The implementation of these activities should be flexible to respond the various challenges that arise during implementation. CARD 055/04 VIE – Agri-business 65 A key part of the overall approach is to gain a good understanding of agribusiness skills and knowledge needs of the sector especially of smallholders (including ethnic minorities and women) and the provincial extension and service agencies. This will provide the basis for the development of subsequent project activities. Our overall approach has the following features:  Development of the farm agribusiness resource at FEDS – through staff training and an associated training resource (course curricula and notes etc);  Curricula must be based upon an assessment of the needs of the sector stakeholders;  Project inputs are phased to allow ideas and concepts to be absorbed;  Facilitation of FEDS project leadership through mentoring by Lincoln University (LU);  Linkages with rural development initiatives in the Central Region. The project’s communication strategy will ensure that the target groups and stakeholders are regularly updated on project activities. 2.2. Methodology The project methodology consists of:  Training of FEDS staff in applied research approaches and farm agribusiness methods;  Pilot survey of farm agribusiness needs of Thua Thien Hue province – farmers, service sectors etc;  Survey of the other three project provinces;  Analysis of data gathered and development of farm agribusiness training courses for stakeholders;  Delivery of training courses – developing master farm agribusiness trainers in the provincial extension staff of Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD);  Development of the FEDS agribusiness curriculum;  Presentation of findings at regular seminars and workshops as well as through publications. The original methodology has been modified. It was decided by both partners to make the survey of Thua Thien Hue province into a pilot study before committing significant staff and financial resources to the survey of the 3 other provinces. The survey method and results were evaluated in association with Lincoln University staff in November 2005. This evaluation included a workshop and as result the surveys in the other 3 provinces were modified. 3. Research results and discussions According to the objectives and methodology of the project, activities classified into 4 areas: i) building capacity for FEDS staff in research and training about agribusiness; ii) Training need assessment (TNA) about agribusiness of extension staff and farmers of 4 target provinces Nghe An, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Ngai, and Kon Tum; iii) Developing training modules; and iv) Delivering training modules for farmers and extension staff and TOT. Project has gained main achievements as follows: 3.1 Improving FEDS staff capacity in research and training In Viet Nam, Agribusiness is still a new concept and field. So far, very few universities have Bachelor training program in agribusiness. In addition, most of training programs for extension staff and farmers delivered by organizations in provinces have focused on the technical aspect of agricultural productions. Therefore, most of extension staff lack of skills and knowledge of agribusiness. Hence, improving FEDS staff capacity in research and training is one of the most important objectives of the project. FEDS as a training unit, where supply human resource having skills and knowledge about agribusiness for DARDs, organizations and companies… that is way in order to transfer skills and knowledge on agribusiness into farmers. The following are main activities of the project to gain this objective. Mai Van Xuan, Sandra Martin & Stewart Pittaway 66 3.1.1 Developing agribusiness curriculum in the FEDS is an important issue The study visit to Lincoln University, New Zealand (February 2006) was an important capacity building activity that occurred just prior to the reporting period. The FEDS staff that joined the visit have learned much knowledge and skills in agribusiness analysis, curriculum and training course design and training methods. They had a good chance to visit farms and cooperatives activities in New Zealand. Thanks to Lincoln University experts’ attentions, the FEDS training curriculum was revised and amended better. 3.1.2 Carrying out training courses on agribusiness Many seminars, training workshops on the several areas such as supply chain, value chain, farm management; case study; cooperative active models... were hold for FEDS staff. Professors of Lincoln University have provided invaluable lessons and experiences. Based on the training courses, FEDS staff conducted more than 30 case studies in 4 target provinces, undertaken supply chain and value chain analyses. These researches (case studies and supply chain analysis) focused on key agricultural products such as Pigs, Fish, Vegetable... (in lowland area); Rubber, Coffee, Banana, Sugar cane... (upland area); Shrimp, Rice, Pig... (costal area) or main agribusiness activities of households. These activities aimed to improve research capacity in agribusiness, understanding better farmer roles, relationship between farmers and cooperatives, and rural market. FEDS staff have been sent to study master or PhD programs in abroad, especially 3 staff have studied PhD on Agribusiness at Lincoln University; more than 200 students took Bachelor degree in this area. 3.1.3 Research activities and publicity FEDS staff have conducted many province and ministry projects, many papers have been published on domestic and international journals related to agribusiness area (more than 40 papers in which 30 in domestic and 10 in international journals); participated in several international conferences. Developing skills and knowledge on agribusiness for FEDS staff is among of important achievements. Many FEDS staff are invited to be consultants on agribusiness and rural development for DARDs in recent years, they have been conducting more than 15 consultancy contracts and 9 projects funded by international organizations. Working with Lincoln University experts, 4 training modules for extension staff and farmers have been completed, including: i) Training farmer: course design and training methods; ii) Farm analysis; iii) Marketing and supply chain analysis; iv) Farm agribusiness planning. These training modules have been developed into 2 level, level 1 for extension staff and level 2 for farmers. Thanks to good cooperation and relations with DARDs of the target provinces and Lincoln University experts the training modules meet to extension staff and farms demands and impact significantly in capacity building for them in agribusiness area. Obviously, these are first training materials for extension staff and farmers in Vietnam on agribusiness that were designed and prepared systematically. These materials were considered positively by Provincial DARDs and NGOs and especially the Australian Ambassador to Hanoi. CARD 055/04 VIE – Agri-business 67 In brief, the project have impacted and improved significantly FEDS staff capacity on the aspects: - Methodology on agribusiness, developing training curriculum, improving skills and knowledge on agribusiness; - Carrying out researches and publishing; - Conducting projects with provinces and international organizations; - Being consultancy in the field. 3.2 Improve skills and knowledge on agribusiness for extension staff In fact, extension staff of DARDs have been well organized and well operated in long time. Obviously, extension staff is an important bridge that transfer skills and knowledge of agribusiness to farmers. We carried out the training need assessment of extension staff and farmers in order to know their demands about skills and knowledge of agribusiness. Based on the survey results, we developed 4 training modules as mentioned above. Extension staff of 4 target provinces have participated on seminars, training workshops, conducted case studies, built up farm agribusiness planning with FEDS staff. In addition, they attended many training courses that delivered by FEDS staff. Especially, the project has trained a core group of 6-8 extension staff in each province. These persons were sufficiently provided with training materials and systematically trained so that they have been able to conduct training courses for other extension staff and farmers (TOT – training of trainer). The training method bought significantly results and was well recognized as another important achievement of the project. In total 78 training courses for extension staff and farmers with more than 3000 participants, there were 45 courses delivered by FEDS staff and 33 courses delivered by extension staff. Recently, though the project have completed, training courses are still delivered for farmers by TOTs of provincial DARDs. All target provinces have joined to adapt training modules to meet their farmers and extension staff demands. 3.3 Enhancing smallholders’ access to Agribusiness This is one of the important goals of the project. The project has provided farmers with Mai Van Xuan, Sandra Martin & Stewart Pittaway 68 agri-business skills to help them estimate resources, to analyse supply chain and to design production plans. More than 3000 farmer participations, in which 25% of them were women, around 3% were ethnic minorities, were trained to become more business-minded. Farmers interviewed by CARD evaluation team reported that through making production plan and supply chain analysis, they could calculate net benefit of their production and know how to invest in their businesses. Farmers trained by the Agribiz project are now more capable in controlling their farming systems as well as their enterprises and gain more stable incomes. The project also selected 12 farm households (three households per province) – to establish project’s models. The project not only provided them with training courses on agri- business analysis, marketing/supply chain analysis and agri-business planning for households, but also frequently supplied consultation services to farmers to guide them how to make appropriate decisions in production investment and product marketing. All farmers conducting project’s model expressed that they understood the benefits from formulating production and agri-business plans. They have already applied the knowledge from these training courses into their production and gained some achievements. Especially, the Australia Ambassador to Hanoi, who visited the project management board and interviewed directly farmers who were trained by the project, highly appreciated the project positive influences on farmer livelihood. 4. Lessons learned Several lessons have been learnt over the course of the implementation of the Agribiz project. The Agribiz project was the first major bilateral donor project undertaken by the FEDS where it worked closely with an overseas institutional partner. Lessons from the Agribiz include: 4.1 Project organization and management The project management board have constructed project strategies, managements and close collaboration with stakeholders such as Lincoln University, CARD program, provincial DARDs… so that project activities have well conducted and managed . 4.2 Building good relationships with Partners – Lincoln University and CARD program FEDS and LU developed a close working relationship and were able to meet regularly to review progresses and revise the work program as required. The project received due attentions from LU experts and CARD program. During the project duration, LU experts implemented more than 25 visits to FEDS, leaders of 2 universities visited each other and worked together and the MOU between two universities have been signed. The CARD PMU had visits and working with the agribiz PMU. Especially, the project has received deeply concerns of the Australia Ambassador to Hanoi. Thank to these good relationships, many issues arose during the course of the project implementation have discussed and promptly responded to. 4.3 Importance of relationships with Provincial Agencies It commonly observes that a lack of support by provincial agencies in many ODA projects in Vietnam contributes to poor development outcomes. FEDS has established relationships with DARD and other agencies in each province. These relationships were very strong and professional that have facilitated solid support at the provincial level and contributed significantly to the successes of the project activities in each province. Agribiz also had a wide scope involved working in provinces from Hue to Nghe An, Kon Tum and Quang Ngai, to which takes at least one day travelling by road. This means logistic challenges and requires close liaison with the provincial agencies. Furthermore, the rainy season in the Central Vietnam makes it very difficult to travelling and operations that need to be considered in the implementation of such projects as Agribiz. CARD 055/04 VIE – Agri-business 69 4.4 Encouraging new ideas Agribusiness was a very new discipline and concept for many of the FEDS staff. They were also unfamiliar with the case study, based upon research methodology that was used in the provincial field work. The team working method was implemented to deal with this problem and the work schedule allowed time for the FEDS staff to review the training in the new concepts from the LU staff before applying the concepts. LU staff also provided ongoing support during the implementation of the main activities; field work, curriculum development and preparation of training courses. Therefore, FEDS staff have gained knowledge and confidence to conduct project activities. 4.5 Timing of Strategic Activities, Flexibility in Planning and Implementation Unfavourable weather condition (wet season), logistics and competing staff commitments all contributed to delays in the implementation of Agribiz activities. The Agribiz work plan was made flexible to enable rescheduling activities without causing negative impacts on achievement of the project objectives. Several activities were identified as critical to the achievement of the Agribiz objectives. These included training of FEDS staff in Agribusiness and survey methodology; development of curriculum development skills; and developing the training skills of the FEDS staff. Considerable planning went into the timing of these strategic activities to ensure they were coordinated with the overall work program. Thanks to flexibility in planning and implementation; timing of strategic activities and supporting from provincial DARDs, project activities were carried out successfully. 5 Towards the future - orientation activities With achievements of the Agribiz, in the future, FEDS will focus on several main missions as the following: 5.1 Incessantly enhancing teaching and research capacity is the most important mission of FEDS  Through Agribiz project, 3 lecturers have been admitted to pursue PhD in Agribusiness in Lincoln University, New Zealand;  Through the WB project, it has been arranged to send lecturers to pursue Masters and PhD studies abroad; and promote research exchange with other universities;  Enhance training curriculum; update and supplement course content, materials;  Renovate teaching and evaluation methods. 5.2 Intensify international cooperation  Strengthen collaboration with Lincoln University, NZ (invite experts to give lectures and do research exchange, send staffs to LU to study…);  Build up advanced program in cooperation with University of Sydney, Australia; This project funded by Vietnam Government from 2010-2017. This program aims at training bachelor degree in agricultural economic – Finance having high quality;  Strengthen research collaboration with other international universities and organizations (MICRODIC, EEPSEA, IUCN...). 5.3 Collaborate with localities in transferring technological scientific achievements  Complete and publish training modules for extension staffs and farmers of the Central provinces;  Continue to transfer the project’s achievements to the provinces through training courses of HCE (short-term training, in-service training…); Mai Van Xuan, Sandra Martin & Stewart Pittaway 70  Conduct consultant services, especially in agro-product marketing and training courses as requested by localities. 6. Conclusions All objectives of the Agribiz project have been successfully implemented. All expected outputs have been produced. Agribusiness capacity has been built for its target beneficiaries: HCE, DARD and small holders of the four provinces of Nghe An, Thua Thien Hue, Kon Tum and Quang Ngai. The project has created good opportunities for FEDS to improve its capacity and make collaboration with domestic and international organizations. The project’s achievements are partly due to the effective cooperation of DARDs, related agencies as well as farmers in the 4 provinces; New Zealand experts, the Management Board of CARD program, HCE and teachers of FEDS. With such achievements, it is hopeful that FEDS will enhance and promote fruitful collaborations with other domestic and foreign partners in the near future and seize opportunities to become one of the leading teaching and training center in Viet Nam.

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