In July 2018, Hanoi’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Rikolto started a new collaboration to setup PGS for safe vegetables in various locations around Hanoi. Supported by the Conservation, Food and Health Foundation, this project aims to build evidence of the benefits of PGS in order to replicate the model across Hanoi.
Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) is a low-cost quality assurance mechanism that guarantees the quality of agricultural products and has the potential to regain consumers’ trust. Introduced in Vietnam in the organic agriculture sector, it has enabled smallholder farmers to certify their safe and organic vegetables for over 10 years.
“Considering the large number of smallholder farmers producing vegetables in Hanoi and the increasing concern of Hanoians for food safety, there is really a huge potential to develop PGS around Hanoi” says Mr. Hoang Thanh Hai, Rikolto’s vegetable programme coordinator.
The objectives of this project are threefold: first, through PGS, we want to create incentives for farmers to produce safe food. Once farmers obtain a PGS certificate showing that they comply with BasicGAP (Good Agricultural Practices), they can more easily sell their vegetables as safe and collect a small price premium for it. This makes them more likely to invest in growing safe vegetables, and to abide by the restrictions that go along with it. Second, we want to improve consumers’ access to safe vegetables, not only in supermarkets and specialised shops, but also at traditional markets. The project will therefore support farmers to expand their marketing channels, particularly with institutional buyers. And third, we want to build evidence of the positive impact that PGS generates by including smallholder farmers in safe vegetable value chains.