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The participation of the poor in off-season vegetable value chains to Hanoi

Ho Thanh Son, Vu Trong Binh, Moustier P.. 2006. In : Moustier Paule (ed.), Dao Thê Anh (ed.), Hoang Bang An (ed.), Vu Trong Binh (ed.), Figuié Muriel (ed.), Nguyen Thi Tan Loc (ed.), Phan Thi Giac Tam (ed.). Supermarkets and the poor in Vietnam. Hanoi : MALICA, p. 184-224.

The study aims at assessing conditions for an increased involvement of the poor in the vegetable value chains driven by supermarkets and other value-adding outlets, and more generally for increased benefits brought by vegetable marketing activities to small-scale farmers in Vietnam. The off-season vegetable production in Moc Chau and Soc Son was chosen as a sector with potential income-generating opportunities for the poor in the supply of supermarkets and quality food shops. The share of different vegetable retail points in employment and quantities distributed was first assessed through a census in two districts of Hanoi. This showed that fresh vegetables are mostly distributed by street vendors (46%) and ordinary market retailers (39%), while safe vegetable shops and stalls represent 7%, ordinary vegetable shops 6% and supermarkets 1%. The supplying chains of retail points, as well as governance mechanisms and distribution of profits, are different according to the attention given by the retail points as regards vegetable safety: street vendors and ordinary market stalls are supplied in Hanoi wholesale markets by a chain of wholesalers, collectors and farmers (without wholesalers in the case of peri-urban, leafy or winter vegetables); safe vegetable shops, stalls and supermarkets are mostly supplied by farmers' groups, which have integrated various functions of production, packaging, labelling, delivery of input and technical training, as well as quality control (although still at an emerging stage). The Moc Chau Vegetable Cooperative is a good example of horizontal and vertical coordination for the supply of "safe vegetables" to Hanoi shops with the intermediation of Van Tri "safe vegetable cooperative". The cooperative has some impact on the poor through the payment of two salaried workers and contractual arrangements with farmers. The cooperative supplies inputs, technical training, and supports risks, which enables poor farmers to shift from staple food growing to vegetable production. In regard to Soc Son, the contractual relationships between safe vegetable groups, supported by the Adda NGO, Bao Ha, a trade company linked with the Plant Protection Department, and supermarkets, is another case of interesting coordination mechanism enabling small-scale farmers to benefit from higher final prices.

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