Support Project for Forestry and Agriculture in the Uplands

To provide cost-effective, demand driven systems of extension and training to upland farmers and service providers for enhanced sustainable resources management and improved household livelihoods


In Vietnam, the uplands remain amongst the poorest regions. They present particular challenges for forestry and agriculture extension, due to:

  • the diversity and complexity of farming systems and environmental conditions
  • the limited availability of extension technologies (unlike in low lands)
  • a loose extension network
  • low incomes of households leading to limited capacity of investment (for quality agricultural inputs, diversification, improved crop husbandry…)
  • communication and transports problems (roads,..)
  • weak agriculture input systems
  • limited accesses to market and market information,
  • different ethnic groups with different cultures, traditions, languages,
  • low level of education
  • ...

In line with the Comprehensive Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy (CPRGS) of the Vietnamese Government  and with its Mekong Region Programme II (2002-2006), SDC  (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation)  has launched in January 2003 a new project, the Extension and Training Support project for Forestry and Agriculture in the Uplands (ETSP) which focuses on 3 areas of interventions :

  • Poverty Reduction
  • Sustainable Natural Resources Management
  • Capacity Building

ETSP is implemented by Helvetas, Swiss Association for international Cooperation. It is a follow-up project of the Social Forestry Support Programme (SFSP) and builds upon the competencies created by SFSP from 1994 to 2002.

In addition, ETSP benefits from the extended experience gained by Helvetas in Vietnam since 1995 through the Cao Bang Rural Development Project and the Agriculture and Forestry Secondary School (Cao Bang).


The current objectives of ETSP consist in:

  • Improving livelihoods through introduction of need-based extension methods and content and strengthened local institutional capacities,
  • Developing effective and sustainable extension and training services,
  • Assisting the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in the development and coordination of appropriate research, extension, education and training systems, and
  • Consolidating selected achievements of SFSP.


  • Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) / Forestry Department.
  • In Hoa Binh, Thua Thien Hue and Dak Lak provinces : People’s Committee, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and selected district authorities.

Other partners involved:

  • Xuan Mai Forestry University of Vietnam.
  • Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry.
  • Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry
  • Tay Nguyen University.
  • HCMC University of Agriculture and Forestry.
  • National Institute for Soils and Fertilisers (Hanoi).
  • Signatories of the Forest Sector Support Programme (FSSP) and Partnership.

Project Components 

At commune / district and provincial level :

  • Commune and Village Development Planning
  • Development of need-based extension and training packages
  • Testing of cost-effective and participatory extension approaches
  • Development of Quality Standards for Extension and Training service providers
  • Support to Market Analysis and Development
  • Impact Monitoring and Assessment (IMA)

At national level :

  • Improvement of coordination between Research, Extension, Education and Training (within FSSP)
  • Networking in Vietnam and in the Region
  • Policy dialogue
  • Dissemination of Learner Centered Teaching Methods (LCTM), Participatory Curriculum Development (PCD) and Participatory Technology Development (PTD) approaches tested during SFSP.

ETSP in brief

Duration: January 2003 to December 2006

Budget:  8’750’000 CHF (approx.: 6’500’000 US$)

Donor:  SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation)

Implementing Agency: Helvetas Switzerland


Our Working Principles and Approaches

We strive for a fairer world in which everyone can fulfill their basic needs. We support people in taking charge of improving their livelihoods sustainably.

How Helvetas Supports People in Vietnam

Helvetas promotes sustainable tourism in the mountainous regions of Vietnam and advocates for the protection of medicinal plants.