Helvetas has been active in Vietnam since 1994, mainly in remote mountain regions in the north, but also in other areas in the south and centre. We have advised farmers and provided access to local and international markets, improved drinking water supplies and established hygiene standards. Together with our strategic partner organisation Center for Rural Economy Development (CRED), we have set up experiences and models of low-impact and community-based tourism in northern Vietnam that will now be continued independently by CRED. We have advocated for the rights of disadvantaged ethnic minorities in the highlands. People all over the country now benefit from the know-how we have provided. Responding to the rapidly changing context in Vietnam, Helvetas has shifted to more meso-level interventions, in particular through working with the private sector for sustainable and fair value chain development.
Sustainable cultivation of medicinal plants and fair marketing of products
Helvetas has opened the field for the development of BioTrade products both for national/regional and export markets. One project works within Vietnam only, another one is a regional initiative including Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. Vietnam possesses a wide range of plants containing substances much in demand for the production of pharmaceutical and cosmetic products or for the food industry (e.g. cinnamon and anise). Key partners are small and medium Vietnamese enterprises that aim at developing sustainable business models and processes. Helvetas advocates for the protection and sustainable use of this botanical diversity and is helping Vietnam establish itself as an international supplier of natural products that adhere to BioTrade standards. Furthermore, we advocate for fair prices for small farmers and fair pay for everyone in the supply chain.
This approach is also being extended to other commodities such as ShanTea, an ancient plant in the region offering high quality tea products. We also support capacity building and export promotion activities, connecting Vietnamese exporters to foreign importers in the wood sector and value added textiles.
Regional Value Chain Capacity Building Network
Another regional initiative hosted in Vietnam is the building up and strengthening of a regional network of selected Centers of Excellence for capacity development in sustainable and pro-poor agriculture-based value chains and their up-scaling. This engagement links quality training institutions (universities, research units) providing courses for staff of rural advisory services to become promoters of socially and environmentally sustainable economic value chain development in 7 countries (Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, India). The network, which has been legally established in 2018, aims at information sharing and learning, and thematic advocacy; a respective exchange platform has been created and is operational. The goal of this project is to achieve tangible impact on the ground for producers and value chain actors.
Visit the website of Helvetas Vietnam.