VinaCert carried out VietGAP certification audit at Van Hoi Xanh Safe Vegetable Cooperative (14/04/2017)

Van Hoi Xanh Safe Vegetable Cooperative (Van Giua village, Van Hoi ward, Tam Duong district), which was established and operating under the Law on Cooperatives, is the first model in Vinh Phuc province that operates with a linkage between the state management agencies, enterprises and farmers along the value chain in agricultural production. The Cooperative is also one of the safe vegetables facilities in Vinh Phuc province which was assessed and certified by VinaCert in accordance with the Good Agricultural Practices under VietGAP standard.

Opening session of the assessment at the Cooperative

Van Hoi Xanh Safe Vegetable Cooperative started to operate in late February, 2017 with the function of producing and trading safe vegetables and fruits under VietGAP standard, handling and preserving agricultural products, and providing agricultural services in order to increase productivity and the quality of agricultural products, including fruits and vegetables. The Cooperative also enhances the sustainability of agricultural production, promoting the local economy, and enhancing the producer’s value and consumer’s right.

The Cooperative commits to support 24 members cultivating on an area of 5 ha in seeds, cultivation techniques, plant protection drug use, harvesting, handling and product consumption.

According to Mr.Nguyen Tien Phong, Deputy Director of Vinh Phuc’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, this is the first safe vegetable cooperative model in the province that has a linkage between the state management agencies, enterprises and farmers along the value chain to overcome limitations in production and consumption of agricultural products in the province in general and in Van Hoi ward in particular. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will create the most favorable condition for the Cooperative in production, monitoring and products promotion to developVan Hoi Xanh as the key model of Vinh Phuc province.

Vegetables and fruits farming areas are tracked by note boards

Accordingly, Vinh Phuc’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has established a specialized team consisting 1 Master of Agriculture, 1 processing and preservation engineer and 1 plant protection drug expert. The Department has also invested to construct a handling area with proper packing and preservation equipment to support the Cooperative.

However, in order to successfully build a trademark of safe vegetables, create a foundation to expand linkages and search for market, the Cooperative has to prove that its production process complying with VietGAP standard through the certification audit of an independent, objective and reputable third-party designated by the state management agencies, Mr. Phong said

Currently, Vinh Phuc has formed several vegetables farming areas, in which more than 100 facilities registered to produce safe vegetables within an area of over 800 ha.

This entire area has beencertified by Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as having full capacity for production. There are 50 vegetables production facilities with an area of over 500 ha which have been certified under VietGAP standard, and the estimated yield of safe vegetables is 400 tons per year.

After researching on the competence of certification organizations that fully meet the above conditions, Van Hoi Xanh Safe Vegetable Cooperative has chosen VinaCert's VietGAP certification services.

Based on the scope of certification registration, in 2 days, 4th and 5th April, 2017, VinaCert's audit team with Mr. Nguyen Van Chung – Lead Auditor and Mr. Hoang Hai Hieu - Provisional Auditor arrived in Van Hoi Xanh Safe Vegetable Cooperative to carry out the audit, find evidence of conformity in safe vegetable production under VietGAP standard.

Right after the opening session, the audit team was divided into two groups to conduct a sensory evaluation of the whole safe vegetables production area of the Cooperative. The audit team also interviewed a number of cooperative farmers who are directly involved in production as well as representatives of cooperative leaders about their compliance with the requirements of fertilizer and plant protection drug application, collecting and handling plant protection drug packaging, farmerlabor protection outfits for farmers, fertilizers and plant protection drug storage area, tools in the farmer’s houses, etc.

VinaCert auditors retrieving documents and interviewing Mrs. Duong Thi Quynh Lien, Director of the Cooperative (on the right)

After the sensory evaluation and retrieving documents, on behalf of VinaCert, Mr. Chung provided evidence of conformity with the regulations on the use of plant protection drugs, training for cooperative farmers to ensure the isolation time after using plant protection drugs and fertilizers before harvest. Thus, he concluded that although some aspects still need improvements, the vegetables and fruits production of the Cooperative is in accordance with VietGAP standard.

Besides the audit, Mrs. Duong Thi Quynh Lien, Director of the Co-operatives, said that fruits and vegetables production under VietGAP standard is a practical action to ensure the objectives and benefits of the Cooperative and farmers. This is also a crucial foundation for the Cooperative to constantly develop, gradually expand its production and its market of vegetables and fruits.

Van Hoi Cooperative’s advantage was that it was one of the 4 region selected by the province’s agricultural sector to conduct the pilot project of "Building a biotechnology product application model to organize production and consumption of safe vegetables in Vinh Phuc province".

During that time, farmers had opportunities to join training coures, receive advanced science and technology transfer, get access to application method of organic fertilizers and biological plant protection drugs to minimize the residues of toxin and harmful microorganisms. As a result, the awareness of keeping food safety and hygiene was raised amoung every farmer, which created a foundation to build the trademark and VietGAP vegetables and safe vegetables production model of Van Hoi ward.

The Cooperative farmers harvesting vegetables after ensuring the isolation time from using plant protection drugs

On the other hand, right after its establishment, the Cooperative has organized visits to some safe vegetable production models in Tien Duong ward, Dong Anh, Hanoi for its farmers. Since the farmers directly witnessed the success of Tien Duongward, the practice of good agricultural production under VietGAP standard has been conducted flexibly and effectively by Van Hoi Xanh Cooperative farmers.

"Previously,the product consumption met many difficulties and the price was unstable. After taking part in the Cooperative, conducting good production practices under VietGAP standard, the product quality is maintained, the products are bar-coded and QR codes helps the state management agencies as well as customers to easily retrieve product origin, the output and price is stable. Thus, we are assured to work", farmer Dao Quang Tuyen said.

 

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