The Mars Vietnam Sustainability Team has seen much growth with its efforts in Vietnam this year. Through skill-sharing events and a new focus on cocoa expansion, the Sustainability Team is creating a culture of knowledge and dialogue surrounding cocoa sustainability in that country. Here is an update on our accomplishments in cocoa development and farmer education and empowerment.
The CDCs in Vietnam have been successful because of the educational components given to the farmers. Within the last year, the amount of CVCs has increased to 13 clinics, 450 farmers have attended farmer field days, and 500 farmers were engaged in a quality assurance training to see high performing farms in action. The emphasis placed on skill-sharing and community engagement have allowed for more cocoa sustainability dialogue in the region.
The Vietnamese cocoa sector is growing due to efforts to expand planting areas. CVCs are focused on selling inputs to cocoa farmers and introducing cocoa to more farmers in the region. The focus on cocoa expansion in Vietnam has allowed for there to be more open dialogues about cocoa sustainability and the positive impacts of expanding the planting area and adopting sustainable practices.
Farmers have also engaged in cocoa post-harvest training courses. Researchers, lecturers, and fellow farmers discussed the most effective ways of treating the soil, caring for the beans, and managing their farms. Over 70 participants were able to learn new skills to bring back to their communities for after the cocoa harvest. These educational events and resources allow for new developments to be shared among farming communities in Vietnam.
Teams from Indonesia and The Philippines gathered in Vietnam in late September to share their experiences and successes with Cocoa Development Centers (CDCs) and Cocoa Village Clinics (CVCs). The farmers from these countries discussed the impact CDCs and CVCs have in communities. The farmers discussed the development of business environments that foster growth, the attributes of high productivity farms, and how to encourage farmers to change behaviors to create more productive and engaged communities. The teams shared skills, relayed developments in their communities, and discussed technical aspects of farming, such as soil and cocoa nutrition.