Meet the value chain benefiting from the CoolChain project
The vegetable sector is an important source of employment and income for many people, especially women, living in provincial areas of Vietnam.
By focussing on establishing a new cool chain to increase the supply of quality vegetables from Son La to urban markets, the CoolChain project is already making an impact on the businesses of project participants.
Researchers at Applied Horticultural Research and Fresh Studio working with local farmers, the private sector and government to build and support eight packing houses with cool rooms, three refrigerated trucks and tracking and technical support.
Meet the project participants
We spoke with a number of project participants across the value chain to understand how the project has made an impact on their operations.
Bùi Phương Linh is a farmer in the Moc Chau area. She grows vegetables and fruits organically and according to the season. Linh’s crops include eggplant, okra, French beans, watermelon avocado and longan.
Đỗ Thị Hương and her husband are traders who supply farm inputs (fertilisers, seeds etc) and buy harvested products to sell to wholesale markets in Hanoi and other provinces. Their key products are cabbages, French beans chayote (choko), squash, pumpkin, and tomato.
Green farm joint stock company grow and supply vegetables and fruits including cabbages, tomatoes, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, French bean, squash, kohlrabi, potato, asparagus, kale, carrot. Production area of company and linkage with others is over 30ha in Moc Chau and Van Ho.
A rapidly expanding farmers’ cooperative, HTX Nông Xanh grows and supplies vegetables (leafy and root vegetables and fruit). They grow Chinese cabbage, broccoli, peas, squash, pumpkin, plums and mangoes. The cooperative has grown from 5 hectares to 35 hectares over recent years.
The difference the cool room has made
The members of the value chain outlined the difference having access to a cool room or refrigerated transport options would make to their operations.
Bùi Phương Linh: I produce a lot of fruit and vegetables that need to be stored – especially when we harvest in large volumes. Having the cool room will help store our produce for longer.
Đỗ Thị Hương: The advantage of the cool room is that it means we can purchase in volume when the price is down or and the end of the season. We can then store the fruit and vegetables to wait for the price to increase to supply it to the market.
HTX Nông Xanh cooperative: We use the storeroom to improve our operations. There are some products need to keep in cool room such as broccoli, pumpkin flowers. After they’re harvested in the morning, we keep them in the cool room so we can pack in the late afternoon to deliver. If products are not stored in the cool room, they easily become rotten, or reduce their appearance. If products are stored in the cool condition, they can maintain their freshness. A lot of our consumers value freshness when buying fruit and vegetables, so having fresher products make our customers happier.
The importance of finding new ways of doing things
Improving efficiency and quality of products, and strong business growth were strong themes from each of the value chain participants when we asked them how important it was to them to continue trying new things.
Bùi Phương Linh: Agriculture products are not highly profitable and are high risk due to climate. We need to look for ways to keep our products for longer to increase the value of our products. Having more time to process products allows us to get better value for our products. It makes production more stable and allows more farmers to maintain their work.
Green farm joint stock company: If have don’t have new solutions to deal with challenges, it will increase unnecessary extra costs. If we do not improve, or access new things, we will be limited with opportunities to promote the business’s growth.
HTX Nông Xanh cooperative: We are always looking for new ways to improve, and are active in applying new technologies into production and business. They recently installed irrigation drip tape system and are completing documents to build the handling area next to the cool room. Looking for new solutions is very important because it opens up new ways, help approaching more new partners who always request high standard, good quality products.