On November 25, SAFEGRO collaborated with the Van Duc cooperative to engage with effective and environmentally conscious cooperatives and companies in Bac Ninh province. This study tour not only broadened the perspectives of 40 farmers but also instilled a vision among Van Duc leaders to embrace sustainable production and prioritize food safety.

Van Duc farmers have learned the solarization technique to improve soil health and minimize reliance on pesticides and inorganic fertilizers. This technique is part of the JICA safe crop value chain project.

Initially, the soil is diligently excavated, followed by watering to a suitable moisture level to enhance heat conductivity. Subsequently, a thin, transparent plastic film is laid over the ground. The intense tropical – sun raises soil temperatures to 50 degrees Celsius. Heat eradicates bacteria, fungi, and various pests residing within approximately 30 cm underground After 15 – 25 days depending on the weather of particular regions, the plastic covering is removed, rendering the soil ready for planting. Farmers need to allow the soil to rest for one to two days after removing the membrane, allowing the soil to release all the accumulated heat before cultivation and planting. If applied in a greenhouse, the results are even better due to the greenhouse effect.

“Incredible!” exclaimed a farmer from Van Duc. “It addresses both challenges I face: weevils and grass seeds. I used to resort to pesticides to tackle these issues. If I apply this method, I can minimize my dependence on pesticides.”

In addition to learning new techniques from the farmers of Ngam Mac Cooperative, Van Duc farmers also shared insights on operating and coordinating links in the value chain, as well as cooperative management mechanisms. Van Duc Cooperative has initially established connections with the Hai Phong company to facilitate the exchange of vegetable products, aiming to diversify market supply. If this collaboration realizes, it presents an excellent opportunity for market access for both organizations and could serve as a pilot model for the development of an inter-provincial value chain.

Expressing gratitude for SAFEGRO’s support, both Mr. Minh, Director of Van Duc cooperative, and Mr. Dieu, Chairman of the Commune People Committee, acknowledge the invaluable support from the international and national specialists. These contributions provide valuable insights into best practices and processes, fostering the long-term development of their cooperative, emphasizing food safety improvement and sustainable production.

This study tour is part of SAFEGRO’s technical support activities, focusing on food safety enhancement and introduction of environmentally sustainable technologies and smart agriculture to adapt to climate change.

With funding from the Canadian government, the SAFEGRO project aims to involve various stakeholders, such as government agencies, the private sector, universities, social organizations, NGOs, and media in collaborating to address food safety issues in Vietnam and help Vietnamese products comply with food safety standards.