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AUSTRALIAN ALUMNI PROMOTE VIETNAM-AUSTRALIA LINKAGES IN ORGANIC FOOD PRODUCTION, CERTIFICATION AND TRADE

 

An online forum on “Promoting Organic Food Certification and Trade between Australia and Vietnam” officially kicked off on 15 September 2021. The forum was organised by Vietnamese and Australian experts, and was attended by more than 200 Vietnamese producers, associations, businesses and government officials, all interested in organic farming and processing techniques, organic certification, international marketing and trading of organic food.

This forum is part of the project on “Promoting Organic Food Certification and Trade between Australia and Vietnam” run by Mekong Organics and funded by the Australian Government through the Australia-Vietnam Enhanced Economic Engagement Grant (AVEG) Program

Mekong Organics is a Canberra-based company founded by Australia Awards alumnus Dr Nguyen Van Kien, a research fellow on agro-ecology from the Fenner School of Environment & Society at Australian National University, and the Research Centre for Rural Development of An Giang University, Vietnam. Following receipt of the Rod May Award funded by the National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia for his contributions to organic agriculture, Dr Kien participated in the 2017 congress of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) in New Delhi - India. Dr Kien says that the Rod May Award and the opportunity to participate in the IFOAM congress inspired him to promote the development of organic agriculture in Vietnam and other Mekong countries, and to establish linkages with organic agriculture businesses in Australia.

The ongoing AVEG-funded project builds on Mekong Organics’ success in running a pilot project on promoting the Vietnam-Australia partnership in organic agriculture in An Giang province, with funding from the Australian Alumni Grant Fund (AAGF) from 2018-2019. The pilot was initiated by Dr Nguyen Van Kien and his colleagues at An Giang University who are also Australian alumni, including MSc Nguyen Van Thai and MSc Le Ngoc Hiep. These alumni organised a number of workshops and training courses in Australia and Vietnam to promote technology transfer, improve capacities of practitioners in organic agricultural production and prepare for trade of organic agriculture between Vietnam and Australia.

The AAGF-funded pilot benefited more than 1,000 people in An Giang and the Mekong Delta, including Khmer ethnic minorities. An organic vegetable farming model for Khmer communities was successfully piloted in Tri Ton district, and then replicated in Tinh Bien district, An Giang province. Linkages were established between certifying organisations, businesses, farmers and the Australian Organic Agriculture Association to support the development of organic agriculture in Vietnam.

Building on the results achieved from the pilot, this team of Australian alumni received further support from the AAGF to scale up the organic vegetable production model from 2021-2022. This initiate aims to improve the livelihoods, nutrition and health of Khmer women in Tri Ton district, An Giang province, who are struggling to overcome Covid-19 pandemic challenges.

Dr. Nguyen Van Kien, alongside other Australian alumni, have been actively promoting a lasting relationship between Vietnam and Australia in organic food production, certification and trade through research, learning, sharing and the development of new initiatives.

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Australian Alumni who initiated and implemented project on “Promoting the Vietnam-Australia partnership in Organic Agriculture Development in An Giang Province” funded by the Australian Alumni Grant Fund (AAGF) from 2018-2019: MSc. Nguyen Van Thai, Dr. Nguyen Van Kien, MSc. Le Ngoc Hiep

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Ms. Neang Kia, 68 years old, O Lam commune, Tri Ton district, An Giang province – a beneficiary from AAGF- funded project on Organic Agriculture Development in An Giang Province

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