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Nov 08, 2022 / 17:42

US firm, NGO partner for better livelihood of Vietnam's rural smallholders

The program in Vietnam is expected to address the needs and challenges facing smallholders in Central Highlands.

‘She Thrives’, a two-year program, is expected to improve the capabilities and sustainable livelihoods of over 15,000 rural smallholders, including over 7,000 women in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, Vietnam.

 Delegates attend the signing ceremony. Photo: Phi Khanh/ The Hanoi Times

Beneficiaries will benefit from a project worth US$350,000 in the next two years under the partnership between CARE International and US Cargill, Michelle Grogg, Vice President of Cargill Corporate Responsibility and Executive Director of Cargill Foundation told The Hanoi Times at the signing ceremony held in Hanoi on November 8.

The project, funded by Cargill through August 2024, aims to improve sustainable livelihoods among rural smallholders, particularly women and ethnic minorities.

The project will help connect farmers and producers to the tools and resources they need to enhance their livelihoods sustainably. 

Speaking at the launch event, the Country Director of CARE International in Vietnam, Le Kim Dung, said that, aiming at narrowing gender gaps in access to economic opportunities, the "She Thrives" project focuses on improving the rights of women and marginalized groups. 

Through creating enabling environment and factors, CARE will work with local people and partners to strengthen women’s capacity and access to economic opportunities and resources, which benefit not only themselves but their whole families and communities. 

“Our cooperation with Cargill will help build not only the farmers’ capacity but increase women’s voice and leadership in decisions related to them,” she told The Hanoi Times.

Dung added the program had set three ambitious goals over its two-year span, the most important of which is to increase the productive capacity of rural smallholders, particularly women and ethnic minorities, to pursue sustainable livelihoods. 

This will be accomplished by convening smallholders into Farmer Field & Business Groups to provide technical training and promotion of entrepreneurship. In addition, a select number of small enterprises will receive seed funding to grow their businesses and additional training and support, she said.

The project will improve access to finance and financial management capacity for rural smallholder women and ethnic minorities through the development of Village Saving and Loan Associations and the delivery of financial literacy training to group members. 

"It will also introduce the community to formal financial institutions to help them continue to finance their businesses," Dung stressed.

She said the project would enhance access to input and output markets for smallholders by improving their operational efficiencies and supporting bulk buying, selling, and marketing. It will further provide technical support to producer groups and train them on digital skills, including exploring the potential that e-commerce may hold for their businesses.

At the event, Ralph Bean, Counselor for Agricultural Affairs at the US Embassy, said: “Today's MOU signing is a further testament to Cargill’s commitment to the goal of making the world’s food system more sustainable, resilient, and accessible.”

"Cargill is focused on Vietnam’s sustainable and innovative agricultural sector and the millions of farmers who contribute to the food security of Vietnam and the world, and we at the Embassy are truly proud of the company and the significant economic and social contributions it has been making through programs such as ‘She Thrives’.”

Grogg underlined this is an essential program for the company as they continue investing in building resilient and sustainable supply chains in partnership with critical partners like CARE. 

“By working side-by-side with smallholder farmers, particularly women, in communities such as Dak Lak, we can implement tailored programs that connect farmers to markets and, ultimately, improve their livelihoods,” she said.