Review of progress in value chain development, IFAD Vietnam, 2009

    While it is unquestionable that most projects have struggled during their early stages to integrate market orientation into their projects as envisaged, there are examples of promising practice that suggest that it is an achievable goal in time and with the right support. For example:

    · In Ben Tre, the close integration of project activities with mainstream government processes is allowing the project to champion the wider use of market-oriented approaches far beyond the specific activities of the project, for example in the DARD led cocao value chain development project.
    · In Tra Vinh, with critical support from GTZ, the project is targeting major value chains of rice and beef and already achieving very practical impacts on rice farmers through a coordinate series of interventions from technical and cost benefit training to farmers, support to formation of rice CIG and facilitation of real market linkages to new buyers. Together these have allowed some farmers to increase their income from rice by 30% within a few seasons.
    · In Ben Tre, the province is a role model for Good Practice in raising the provincial competitiveness and creating an enabling environment for business and investors in industries with links to rural areas.
    · In Quang Binh, there has been excellent involvement and participation at the village level and seemingly considerable collaboration by the associated technical institutes, centres and associations within the province. Some smaller activities with tremendous potential have been identified and further scaled up and investigated.
    · In Tra Vinh and Ben Tre, vocational training has been effectively linked to job opportunities with businesses and, in Ben Tre, integrated into the framework of investment promotion to attract new investment in the province from existing and new businesses.

    Summary of results
    In all provinces there are clear opportunities to increase the depth of the market in rural areas and improve value chains for the benefit of the poor. The challenge for the projects is how to capitalise on these opportunities within the specific constraints of the project and the limited initial experience of the project teams on these issues. The report on the right hand side makes a number of specific recommendations to address the opportunities.