In recent years, Vietnamese families have increasingly opted for organic and healthy food. Aware of this trend, Bac Kan Vocational College (BKVC) embarked on a new intervention with the support of project VIE/034 to promote organic and clean agricultural production by offering training courses for the farmers of Tan Son commune in Cho Moi district. The training is aimed at guiding farmers in growing organic vegetables, applying standardized processes and measures to ensure the produce meets the standards. Besides funding the construction of a lightweight protective growing facility covering a 660m2 area to be used as a demonstration and practice site, project VIE/034 also sought professional technical support from PUM, a Senior Expert organization from the Netherlands, to help BKVC in developing and upgrading the training curricula for agricultural trades.
Safe agricultural production project in Tan Son commune
During the PUM expert’s two-week mission from 16 to 28 October 2017, former Director of De Groene Welle Vocational Training College in the Netherlands, visited the local agricultural cooperatives, agro-forestry production models including Tan Son project, tree nurseries and safe food stores. The discussions with the teachers of BKVC Agro-Forestry faculty and the farmers provided him with sufficient insight on the agricultural sector and agricultural vocational training of Bac Kan. The director of BKVC shared that currently they are studying the feasibility of growing, on a larger scale, a special indigenous tomato variety that is currently exclusively grown by Dao ethnic people, in the effort to market this new variety. BKVC is capable of offering a specialized program for interested producers.
Visits to local agricultural cooperatives
The director of Sa Ha cooperative introducing the local “Bo khai” vegetable (Erythropalum scandens)
Beside field visits, the expert also experienced local tourism to Ba Be Lake (Three Lakes) in Ba Be National Park, the largest natural fresh water lake in Viet Nam. The expert learnt of the great potential for community based tourism which is still underexploited today. At the end of the mission, the workshop “Vocational training in association with developing safe agricultural production models in Bac Kan province” was held to present the findings and recommendations for improving training programs of the Agro-Forestry faculty. During the workshop, the participants including representatives of local authorities, farmers, cooperatives and enterprises also had a chance to listen to multiple experiences and professional consultations about how to promote organic farming in Bac Kan province, as well as how to create a value chain and build better linkages between farmers and markets. The workshop ignited an inspired and motivated discussion among the participants and signaled more aligned synergy for future development of the agricultural sector in the province. The issue of sustainable ecotourism in combination with agriculture was also raised by the expert and attracted a lot of interest.
The PUM expert presenting his findings and recommendations from the field trip in Bac Kan
“Thanks to the support from VIE/034, I had chance to attend a workshop in Moscow and learned about the Industry 4.0 in education. I realized that the Industry 4.0 will bring both opportunities and challenges for everyone, including farmers. BKVC should thus update its training programs in order to adapt to the development trends because agricultural and rural development is a main focus of Bac Kan province. As a training centre, BKVC will try its best to meet educational requirements and become a center of excellency for high quality agro-forestry education with the support from the Luxembourg development cooperation”, remarked the director of BKVC.
The VIE/034 Project Coordinator added: “BKVC plays a key role in promoting agricultural production and organic farming in the province. In the second phase of Luxembourg’s support to the school, project VIE/034 has paid more attention to the Agro-Forestry faculty. The project has found reliable partners in the agricultural sector, including PUM from the Netherlands. I hope that contributions shared in the workshop today will be valuable in forming a relationship between PUM and BKVC and I hope that the school will strengthen its cooperation with PUM not only in agro-forestry field but also in the field of eco-tourism and other sectors”.
As the result of the mission, the PUM expert promised that his institution will provide continued cooperation and assistance by sending more subject experts to train BKVC teachers on organic farming, plant diseases, agricultural economics, and aquaculture in combination with horticulture. Both sides will work together to plan a detailed training schedule and training program which is expected to take place in 2018.
Combined garden of seedless persimmon and bo khai vegetable (Erythropalum scandens)
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