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New project lifts VN’s pepper exports to EU

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Farmers of Vinh Linh district, Quang Trị provinces, harvest pepper. VNA/VNS

New project lifts VN’s pepper exports to EU

The Plant Protection Department (PPD) under the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam Pepper Association (VPA) and the IDH Stitching Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) on November 25 introduced a programme supporting exports of quality black pepper from Vietnam to the EU.

The “Scaling sustainable production and trade of Vietnamese pepper” project, co-financed by the EU and IDH, is under the framework of the Arise Plus initiative aimed at supporting the Vietnamese government to benefit from bilateral trade agreements and promote the export of high-quality products and services from Vietnam to the EU.

Vietnam is the world’s largest producer and exporter of black pepper (Piper nigrum) accounting for 60 per cent of the world’s trade and roughly 45 per cent of the pepper imports into the EU.

The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) which entered into force on August 1, 2020 has already generated significant opportunities for Vietnamese companies in pepper production, processing, and trade. However, certain challenges exist, such as meeting strict quality requirements, especially limiting residues of toxic chemicals.

The project is designed to build a sustainable supply chain connecting smallholder farmers with producer or trader small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and EU buyers.

Project activities include training, raising farmers’ awareness, companies’ support in training and supervising the application of sustainable farming practices, in parallel with the efforts of responsible agrochemical management of state agencies.

The project will contribute to an increase in the volume of sustainably grown peppercorns and ensure stable incomes for pepper farmers.

At the workshop, PPD deputy director Nguyen Quy Duong said: “It is high time that the Vietnamese pepper industry shifted from quantity production to quality production and to improve the production system for better quality pepper while helping farmers with a sustainable income.

“The EU’s support to this project is of high importance and at the right time, playing a vital role in bridging domestic and European companies to jointly meet common targets for sustainable pepper development.”

Matthieu Penot, Attache for Trade Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Vietnam, said the EU would support the pepper supply chain and would contribute to sustainable growth in the sector.

“Our objective is to improve the lives of 10,000 pepper smallholder farmers in the Central Highlands and increase the productivity of pepper processors. Vietnam provides almost half of European pepper for consumption.

“It is only natural that the EU and its member states invest heavily in the pepper supply chain for a stronger Europe-PPD’s deputy director partnership,” Penot said.

VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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