Vietnam is the world’s leading exporter of pepper. While this industry exports to 97 countries, it also serves as an important contributor to the country’s economic growth, while bringing good revenue for farmers. However, this fast growth entailed challenges in enforcing appropriate food safety practices. Adverse weather conditions, pests, and diseases pushed farmers to use pesticides with poor awareness of their impact. With this, risks to Vietnam’s pepper acceptance in global markets have been identified.
ASSIST, together with Eurofins Sac Ky Hai Dang Company Ltd and DEG, launched Safe Pepper – a project that aims to increase Vietnam’s pepper export quality and improve international competitiveness. In cooperation with the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, beneficiary cooperatives were identified, followed by a comprehensive status quo analysis of pepper cultivation, particularly with regard to the use of pesticides and production and export patterns in Vietnam.
As a result, the project was able to engage farmers, processors, and local experts through awareness campaigns, workshops, events, and training of trainers (ToTs). Knowledge sharing on regulations and quality standards were expounded through fertilizer and land treatment courses as well as pesticide treatment courses. Moving forward, the project aims to sustain impact through developing case studies on the improvement of farmers’ income, agricultural practices and quality standards for know-how transfer.