Focus Area: Agri-Business and Value Chain Development

Sustainable Dairy Farmers

Small milk farmers play a crucial role in India, one of the world’s top milk markets. Unlike developed nations, in India, currently, 75-80% of milk production still comes from them. However, these farmers face issues that limit their productivity and make it difficult to increase their earnings. With an annual production of 164 million tonnes of milk, the dairy sector in India generates approximately USD 70 billion of revenue a year and is supposed to grow heavily. The past few decades have seen an increase in private sector investment in dairy farming, supply chain, processing facilities and backward integration. Dairy farming is also an important secondary source of income for 70 million rural households in India. These small dairy farmers are also suppliers to many private dairy companies. Most of these farmers lack capacity. They have an average herd size of 2-3 animals that produce only 2-6 litres of milk per cattle per day, just under a third of that in the west.


ASSIST is undertaking the following project with Lactalis – to establish two integrated model dairy farms; capacitate fifty local dairy farmers as cattle custodians to build local capacity and extend technical support; provide advisory support to ten pilot dairy farms of committed, progressive small dairy farmers and transform them into high-productive and profitable dairy farms; promote balanced cattle feed management and clean milk production among 150 dairy farmers; and establish a dairy support center which will have a registry of helpline numbers for farmers to access. It will also have a feed bank that will cater to the year-round supply of cattle feed.

Inclusive Agribusiness Roundtable Event

Organized by the World Economic Forum’s Grow Asia Partnership, The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia’s Food Systems Innovation (FSI) Initiative, the Seas of Change Initiative and the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, this event outlined how to transform good intentions in the agribusiness sector into practice.


This event brought together the numerous people to share key approaches and explore practical and innovative solutions to the growing, inclusive agribusinesses in SE Asia. It continued efforts to build an active, regional network of strategic stakeholders for continued exchange and innovation. It also identified opportunities for investment in agricultural development, critical areas for future research and the policy requirements to drive greater business-led inclusive growth.

Excellence in Food Safety for Agro & Dairy Producing Industries

Vietnam’s fast-growing food processing and food export enterprises have been grossly challenged by the low level of awareness on multilateral regulations covering the food industry. The non-availability of appropriate laws and the lower levels of enforcement by the government have further aggravated the situation.


ASSIST together with TÜV Rheinland Vietnam Co. Ltd and DEG, launched a project that targeted the agro and dairy food exporting and food processing industry of Vietnam located in the Central area (Da Nang City), Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho Province in the Mekong Delta.


In order to achieve set project objectives, the project created a mass-based awareness on the governing international food standards (HACCP/ISO 22000) and international food safety regulations. Technical seminars in multiple provinces have also qualified 75 local trainers. e-learning modules on food safety, self-implementation guidelines and self-audit guides were also compressed into kits which were distributed for knowledge propagation.

Sustainable Fruits Supply Chain

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.

Improving Food Safety Systems at Rice Mills, Rice Sector Support Project – EAP Sustainable Business Advisory

Limited access to services and information on international markets requirements has caused a lack of awareness and understanding of food safety systems in the Cambodian rice industry. This prevents local food processors from realizing the potential in the EU and US markets. Moreover, modern trading conditions require food businesses, including rice mills, to demonstrate their commitment to food safety through an appropriate management program.


IFC has been supporting the development of the Cambodian rice sector for years, aiming to make the milling and trading industry more competitive, by playing a key role in accelerating the transformation of the industry through several project interventions. In this food safety pilot project, part of the larger Cambodia Rice Sector Support Project, ASSIST collaborated with IFC to enhance the awareness and capacity of mill enterprises to implement food safety management systems.  Implemented in two phases, Phase 1 included Food Safety / Occupational Health and Safety gap assessments and Phase 2 covered the Food Safety / Occupational Health and Safety implementation.


ASSIST specifically undertook a detailed assessment of these mills’ status and capacities, produced a business plan/project proposal for the implementation processes, raised awareness and conducted a National Food Safety Dissemination workshop. Over the course of the program, 21 rice mills were assessed, 12 participated and received certification for food safety management systems (GMP/HACCP/ISO22000) and occupational health and safety (OHSAS18001).