Asia, India, China, Russia

Potato success in Vietnam

The cliché-image for many people regarding Asian agriculture is that of endless rice fields. But there is also room for the potato, literally and figuratively. Two potato varieties have now been successfully registered in Vietnam. The ‘Growing out of poverty with potato‘ project aims to make Vietnam self-sufficient in the production of potatoes.

After successfully completing the registration process for the commercial sale of potato varieties, Rosagold and Marquis varieties have been unanimously approved to be grown in Vietnam.

In Vietnam, food security and safety is high on the national agenda. The country now relies 94% on rice production. It is said by experts that the cultivation and consumption of potatoes could be a good addition to both farmers’ income and to the Vietnamese diet in general.

However, the enthusiasm for potatoes among both producers and consumers are relatively low at this time. But, farmers and consumers are involved in selecting the type of seed potatoes that are imported from the Netherlands. In a food lab, potato recipes are developed that are a good fit for the Vietnamese kitchen. This effort seems to work very well.

What makes the project so successful is that in collaboration with the Dutch-based food consultancy firm Fresh Studio, the Dutch cooperative Agrico, the Vietnamese chip factory PepsiCo and Wageningen University & Research (WUR), work is being carried out in the entire chain: from cultivation and production to influencing the consumer.

“The focus on advertising and marketing in particular makes this project so special,” says project supervisor Carmen Heinze.

The project will continue until the end of 2019. By then, 2500 farmers, of which 70% are women, will be intensively trained in potato production and contract cultivation.

A 50% increase in production and a 60% increase in income from potatoes are the goals to be achieved. “To make this project a success, all Dutch and Vietnamese partners really need each other,” says Heinze.

With the Sustainable Enterprise and Food Security Facility, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs encourages public-private partnerships in the field of food security and private sector development in developing countries. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl) implements the scheme.

Source: Landbouwattachénetwerk (Original report in the Dutch language. Translated by PNT)