Boosting mango trade from the south

Mango crop

Mangoes represent a significant income opportunity for smallholder farmers in southern Vietnam. Improving mango productivity and competitiveness offers a significant opportunity to improve incomes and livelihoods of thousands of farming households.

However, the market is currently characterised by low value production and a weak and fragmented supply chain with limited links to processing and export. A new ACIAR project (‘Improving smallholder farmer incomes through strategic market development in mango supply chains in southern Vietnam’, AGB/2012/061) aims to address these issues through a collaborative whole-of-chain research and development approach.

Over the next three and a half years, a Vietnamese and international research team will work together to improve mango production practices and capabilities in the southern provinces of Dong Thap and Tien Giang, and mango trade links to both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

A standout feature of this project is its highly collaborative approach, bringing together experts in mango production, post-harvest, value chain analysis, economics, consumer behaviour and market development.

The research team will identify and use strategic opportunities to increase the production capacity and market competitiveness of smallholder mango farmers in southern Vietnam. These opportunities could include off-season cultivation through the use of flowering manipulation techniques, improved postharvest handling and management, and access to processed fruit value chains.

Close cooperation with private sector fruit processors will be essential in extracting the maximum possible value from mango production by smallholder farmers. Importantly, our collaborative research project also aims to improve the capacity of Vietnamese partner institute researchers and foster greater public and private sector engagement, industry stakeholder linkages and knowledge sharing within the mango industry in southern Vietnam.

Smallholder mango farming in southern Vietnam is dominated by women, who typically have less than one hectare under mango cultivation. Our research and development efforts will strive to deliver real income and livelihood benefits to these famers and their families. In the first stage, it is expected that at least 270 mango farmers in the Dong Thap and Tien Giang provinces will participate in the project.

This is the first stage of a 10-year research and development program to improve mango production, supply and trade profitability from southern Vietnam, and we look forward to reporting results and impacts as this work progresses.

This article was written by Robin Roberts and published in the November 2017 issue of Partners Magazine.