A strategic approach to pro-poor market and consumer research in China and the Mekong region
Increased production and improved marketing of vegetables and temperate fruits from northwest (NW) Vietnam and tropical fruits from southern and central Vietnam, present an opportunity to increase the household income for thousands of poor smallholder farmers. While domestic and regional demand appears to be rapidly growing, farmers are generally challenged by lack of information about local and regional market opportunities and requirements, sub-optimal on-farm and post-harvest management, low farm productivity and poor product quality, consistency, and safety, poor economies of scale, weak links to markets, seasonal price volatility and increasing competition from regional imports. There is considerable potential for developing markets for Vietnamese vegetables, and temperate and tropical fruits in regional Chinese markets, in addition to strong local markets in Vietnam. In addition, at certain times of the year, large volumes of fruit and vegetables originating from China also compete with local product in Vietnam’s markets. However, little is currently known about where and how these markets source supplies of vegetables and fruit (e.g. domestic versus imported, seasonal variations etc.), what varieties and product attributes might be most valued by Chinese consumers and specific market segments that may offer viable opportunities for NW Vietnamese vegetable and fruit products. Southwest (SW) Chinese markets may, in principle, offer opportunities for NW Vietnamese smallholder producers, however, research on market dynamics (supply, trade flows and demand), including household fruit and vegetable consumption information, is needed in order for the pipeline projects to offer adequate assessments of market potential and viable marketing models for smallholder farmers. (Note, this research is now being conducted in a project "The Vietnam urban food consumption & expenditure study")
The specific objectives are outlined below:
- To understand how fruit and vegetable market dynamics in the Mekong Region (MKR) are changing and to provide insight on the implications of changes for smallholder farmers and pro-poor agribusiness development in the region.
- To understand supply-demand patterns, trade flows and changing consumer references for fruits and vegetables in the Northwest Vietnam and South West China (NWV-SWC) region to determine opportunities for smallholder farmers and pro-poor agribusiness development in Vietnam.
Final workshop presentations:
- Vegetable trade in Lao Cai's urban markets
- Partnering for Smallholder Inclusive Market Opportunities in the Mekong
- University of Queensland, Australia
- Griffith University, Australia
- Gottingen University, Germany
- Northern Mountainous Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute (NOMAFSI), Vietnam
- Fruit and Vegetable Research Institute (FAVRI), Vietnam
- Institute for Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD), Vietnam
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR Project AGB/2012/057), 2014 - 2015.