While being under excellent topographic and meteorological conditions, the Mekong Delta serves as Vietnam and Cambodia’s orchard all year round. However, its agricultural lands are threatened by floods and increasing salinization of land as brought about by climate change. In Cambodia, a high percentage of fruits in the market are sourced from neighboring countries, posing competitive disadvantages to local fruit producers. Added deterrents are challenges in transportation, collection and marketing opportunities.
ASSIST, together with Les Vergers du Mekong and DEG, launched Sustainable Fruits Supply Chain, a project that aims to extend the fruit supply chain area in terms of capacity as well as quality. Activities included (i) training of farmers, agricultural advisers and investigators; (ii) improving logistics; and (iii) managing traceability through selection of right plants, development of existing pilot orchards and improving the utilization of organic fertilizers.
As a result, the project was able to set up a functional pilot orchard where Cambodian farm growers were trained to cultivate production of in-demand fruits such as, pineapple and guava. Collection centres that would mobilize goods were also set up in strategic locations to enhance market linkages. On top of this, assistance for the Viet Gap certification (Good Agriculture Practice) etc. was also provided by the project to ensure sustained streamlining of best practices.