Annex 7 – Vietnam field visit report

This is one of two country studies made for the Mid Term Review (the other, from Cambodia, is found in Annex 2). This MTR has the task to assess Programme implementation progress to date and propose recommendations for strengthening implementation in the remaining years of Phase II and to suggest a strategy as well as measures to achieve sustainability of Programme results. This report is produced based on information from reviewing secondary data (reports, published papers, leaflets) and interviewing different groups of respondents, including Programme local partners, government authorities’ representatives from national to commune levels as well as farmers (see list of respondents in part 7 of this report). A set of questionnaires designed by the review team was used for interviewing. For effective use of available time and budget of the MTR assignment, the field survey focused on the Northern provinces of Vietnam because most of the local partners and beneficiaries are located in the Northern areas. Four out of five local partners in Hanoi (SRD, ICERD, CGFED, and FAOIPM), and four out of ten project supported provinces (Ninh Binh, Nam Dinh, Hanoi, and Bac Giang) were involved in the field survey (more details about the program schedule of the field survey could be found in part 8 of this report).
1. Executive Summary The second phase of the KemI Programme started in 2013 and includes 6 countries: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, China, Myanmar and Thailand. In Vietnam, 5 local partners are involved in the project – Plant protection department (PPD-MARD), and 4 CSOs: Center of Initiatives on Community Empowerment and Rural Development (ICERD), Research Center for Gender, Family and Environment in Development (CGFED), Research Center for Rural Development (RCRD) and Sustainable Rural Development (SRD). The evaluators preparing this Mid-Term Review (MTR) found that generally all Programme activities have been carried out according to the Programme plan. Some awareness raising activities (training) were even more extensive than planned. Stakeholders (farmers and leaders) highly appreciated the Programme ideas and approach, and though it was expressed that though the Programme budget is small, it has been recognised that the Programme has provided a seed or a catalyst effect, facilitating stakeholders to come together for a safer life. Because of its relevance to the development strategies at both national and local levels, it is the judgement of the evaluator that the Programme activities have been able to create considerable changes in the communities. Examples are behavioural changes in disposing of pesticide containers after use; applying biological control techniques (rice-fish models, bio-bedding in livestock production, earth worm raising); changes in policies of pesticide use and trading; changes in farmers’ income; and changes in environmental aspects (though the impact on the environment cannot the proven at this point in time it is expected that through improved management of empty pesticides containers, better control on the trade of pesticides and improved management and reduced use of chemicals in agriculture, the environment will suffer less from the overuse of chemicals). The Programme results were generally cost-efficient and will probably be sustainable. However, there were some shortcomings and challenges that need to be considered in the next two years of the Programme’s implementation to ensure the effectiveness and the sustainability of the Programme outcomes after the Programme comes to an end: (i) The collaboration among local partners should be strengthened. Among local partners, a focal point (coordinator) should be appointed for all project activities. In this way all local partners can share with each other what they have done and all involved stakeholders would better understand the holistic picture of the Programme´s objectives, outcomes and results across the country; (ii) Introduction to farmers of alternative methods to replace the use of hazardous pesticides and herbicides (Paraquat) is needed; (iii) Developing linkages between farmers, CSOs, government and the private sector, especially between farmers and market enterprises to reduce the risk of pesticides in agriculture and to stimulate the production and consumption of ecological agricultural products; (iv) Facilitate the involvement of the Department of Planning and Investment (MPI) and Ministry of Finance (MOF) at national level and departments at local levels to ensure that new policies are implemented at the community level; (v) Continue and pay more attention to the communication of Programme results (successful IPM, FFS, etc.) via media, community field visits to project sites, and community or inter-community quizzes or competitions about PRR.

2. Background and Context Like other developing countries in Asia, prior to the 2000s the Vietnam government promoted the application of pesticides in agricultural production to promote agriculture output and to enhance productivity. However, the lack of information and low awareness of farmers, and weak management by related government departments, have led to an increase in the volume of hazardous chemicals being imported/produced and an over-use of pesticides in agriculture. This has resulted in serious problems of poisoning (Susmita Dasgupta et al, 2005)1. In response to this, the Vietnamese government has been trying to reduce or even remove pesticide dependency in agricultural production (Pham Gia Hoi et al, 2013)2, by releasing regulations and laws to restrict pesticide use, such as increasing import tax and banning a list of toxic pesticides (Decree no. 92-CP/1993; Directive no. 29/1998/CT-TTg; Decree no. 92-CP amended in 2002). However, these laws and regulations have largely been unenforced because of many factors (C. Wilson, C. Tisdel, 2001 cited in Pham Gia Hoi et al, 2005), particularly the detail of the regulations, unclear or overlapping responsibilities of the implementing departments, and farmers’ perceptions of pesticide use and their practices. This was the situation when Sida started to provide support to the country, in collaboration with KemI and project partners, through implementation of the “Towards a non-toxic environment in South-East Asia” Programme in 2007. In the first phase (2007-2011), the Programme was evaluated as very successful in supporting Vietnam, Laos, China, and Cambodia to reduce pesticide dependency in agriculture. The programme demonstrated ecological and sustainable agricultural production models in 3 provinces (Hai Duong, Ha Noi, and Thai Binh). Successful models included minimum tillage potato production and IPM and System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Hanoi, Bac Giang, Quang Binh, and Ninh Binh provinces. The Programme had also formed a pesticide management network in the region including Vietnam with CSO representation including CGFED, RCRD, and ICERD. The evaluation also stated that the Programme had strengthened pesticide management regulations and legislation. Further, in Vietnam the Programme mainstreamed pesticide management in education at schools and together with MARD, PPD and the education department at district level organized training and campaigns for reducing pesticide use in agriculture. The Programme outputs and outcomes were according to the evaluation highly appreciated by the target countries, including Vietnam, and the countries requested a scale up of Programme outcomes for the second phase. A second phase of the Programme was approved and started in August 2013 and lasts until June 2018. The second phase of the Programme covers 6 countries: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, China, Myanmar and Thailand of which 2 countries (Myanmar, and Thailand) were added after the first phase of the Programme. The Programme focuses on the following 5 objectives: (i) Increased awareness and enhanced capacity in farming communities, schools, institutions and among consumers within partner countries to reduce the risk associated with pesticide use and enhanced use of alternatives. (ii) Enhanced international, national and local advocacy on sustainable pest management/ agriculture. (iii) Strengthened capacity to innovate and scale-up Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and pesticide risk reduction training for sustainable intensification of crop production in partner countries. (iv) Strengthened regulatory framework for the control of pesticides in selected partner countries. (v) Strengthened capacity for chemicals management within authorities, industries and among relevant CSOs in the partner countries.

3. Findings In Vietnam, the Programme has five partners: PPD-MARD, ICERD, SRD, CGFED, and RCRD. Roles and linkages among local partners and regional organisations are shown in figure 1. It can be seen from figure 1 that the CSOs: SRD, CGFED, and RCRD are partners of PANAP. ICERD is The Field Alliance-TFA’s partner. PPD-MARD is FAO’s local partner. PANAP and its three local partners are responsible for objective 2 and a part of objectives 1 and 3. TFA and ICERD are in charge of objective 1. PPD-MARD is in charge of objectives 3 and 4. Kemi is responsible for objective 5. Figure 1: Project partners and linkages

3.1 EFFECTIVENESS AND PROGRAMME OBJECTIVES Objective 1: Increased awareness and enhanced capacity in farming communities, schools, institutions and among consumers within partner countries to reduce the risk associated with pesticide use and enhanced use of alternatives. ICERD in collaboration with DPP, Department of Continuing Education – Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), was tasked with the implementation of the project component Rural Ecological Agriculture for Livelihood (REAL), which in addition to the project areas supported in the previous programme phase (Hanoi, Quang Binh and Bac Giang) was expanded to include an additional 3 new provinces: Lao Cai, Yen Bai and Ninh Binh, thus supporting in total 6 provinces. This programme aims at building linkages between the non-formal education system and the plant protection system. During project implementation it is in addition expected to build linkages with the health care system. The aim is to educate farmers, together with their entire families, to reduce pesticide use, and to improve farm income and environmental conditions. The REAL project has built and strengthened linkages between students and parents, and with the farmers directly involved in field management trainings through community learning centres. Under this objective, ICERD:  Developed a training curriculum to raise awareness on pesticide management, health impacts, environmental protection and agro-biodiversity. So far, the training curriculum on pesticide management has been tested, revised, finalised and approved by the national department of continuing education under MOET. This training curriculum has been uploaded on the ICERD website and the MOET homepage, making it accessible to 11,000 Community Leaning Centers (CLCs) in about 600 districts in all 63 provinces and cities. It was reported by representatives for MOET and ICERD that all 11000 CLCs have downloaded and used the curriculum for training.  Organized Training for Trainers (TOT) on “Agro Biodiversity Conservation and Utilization and Pesticides Impact to Health and Environment” for 86 governmental staff, from the Plant Protection Department and Department of Continuing Education/Non-formal Education under the Ministry of Education and Training. In addition, training was organized on “Initiatives for Community Empowerment and Rural Development”, from four provinces: Bac Giang, Lao Cai, Ninh Binh and Yen Bai, including the District’s Continuing Education Centre & District Plant Protection Station, extension workers from three provinces (Lao Cai, Ninh Binh, Yen Bai), government staff, and high school teachers.  Organised community workshops to establish a baseline for gender analysis.  Established rice-fish clubs: a club of 15 women in the community of Xuan Phu was set up, trained and practiced Farmer Field School (FFS) rice-fish production. All women who own lowland rice fields can join this club. Even though the club only counts 15 members so far the number of households who have learned and applied the rice-fish models have already increased to 34. Two more rice-fish clubs have been established in Quang Binh province. The total number of members in women´s clubs is 187.  Conducted a participatory assessment of pesticide use at 12 communes of 6 provinces (Bac Giang, Lao cai, Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Quang Binh and Yen Bai) and the results were used for communication on pesticide risk reduction (PRR).  ICERD in collaboration with the 12 Commune Womens’ Union have encouraged and supported women to participate in agro-biodiversity (ABD) conservation, PRR, and Sustainable Rice Cultivation. The discussions and field visits to ICERD’s at Quynh Son and Xuan Phu project sites revealed that all Programme activities at these sites have been implemented according to the plan. The number of training courses on ABD, Bio-bedding techniques, rice fish techniques, household herbal garden techniques, and Pesticide impact assessment (PIA) organised by ICERD was even higher than in the approved plan (Rural Ecological Agriculture for Livelihood- REAL) because some neighbouring communities (in Ninh Binh, HaNoi and YenBai) recognised the benefits of the trainings and organised extra trainings by themselves. It is reported that a total of 3,884 people, of which 2,595 were women (67%), participated in REAL activities at different levels. Under objective 1, SRD and CGFED also organized a workshop for 300 students and teachers on the impacts of pesticide use during a NO PESTICIDE WEEK in Phu Tho province. One book on “Poisoning our Future” and a Video “Children and Pesticide” were translated into Vietnamese and distributed to participants. CGFED also organised one training to raise awareness on the dangers of pesticide overuse and agriculture models that use less chemical inputs or are entirely chemicals free, in which 35 farmers (30 women and 5 men) in Hai Hau district participated. CGFED also organised one study visit to an organic vegetable production model at Trác Văn commune, Duy Tien district, Hà Nam province for 41 farmers (35 women and 6 men). As a result of capacity building activities conducted under this objective, as of June 2016, 123 households practised earthworm farming, applying the closed loop agriculture model based on vermi-culture. This model helped farmers in saving production costs and increasing their income by approximately 30-40%. Results from interviewing ICERD staff and beneficiaries ranging from national to community levels in combination with field observations showed that all activities under this objective have been implemented according to the plan and been very successful. All the respondents interviewed were happy with the results. Objective 2: Enhanced international, national and local advocacy on sustainable pest management/ agriculture CGFED, RCRD and SRD are responsible for activities under this objective. These three CSOs have organised a joint survey on the use of Chlorpyrifos and Paraquat in agriculture in Phu Tho, Nam Dinh and An Giang provinces (300 farmers were interviewed) and then organised a national seminar in Hanoi to present the results of this joint survey. Over 80 participants, including policy makers, scientists, local NGOs, famers, victims of pesticide poisoning and local media participated. The results of the joint survey were also shared at the provincial workshops in Phu Tho, Nam Dinh and An Giang Provinces where local authorities and farmers attended (one workshop was organized in each province with more than 40 people participating in each province). Four Farmer Field Days were organized in two provinces of Bac Giang and Quang Binh with 280 farmers (49% female) participating, to disseminate information and exchange lessons learned. A “Green Environment Day” campaign was also organized by a community learning centre in Quang Binh with over 700 participants (50% female) including students, farmers, teachers, community leaders, farmer’s unions, women’s unions, and youth unions.

Pesticide containers were collected and over 4000 trees were planted in schools and other public places. All farmers in the 18 communes have been encouraged to collect and not to dispose of containers on the fields, especially not in the vicinity of waterways. However, no data for the number of collected pesticide containers is available. In Bac Giang and Nam Dinh where no pesticide container collection tanks were available, pesticide containers were mixed with household and agricultural waste and which ended up being burned in the open. This may create other environmental problems for the communities. In Ninh Binh the local authority provided support for placing tanks on fields, even though they still had no concrete plans on what to do when the tanks are full. This remains a big problem that both farmers and local leader were worried about.  Nineteen (19) training courses on pesticide impact assessments (PIA) have been organised for about 700 participants who were students and farmers, trained at District Continuing Training Centres (CLC) in six provinces (Bac Giang, Hanoi, Lao Cai, Ninh Binh, Quang Binh and Yen Bai). Pesticide impact assessments were then conducted for about 390 households in all the provinces mentioned above. Results of the PIA were presented at 22 training courses on PRR and BDA techniques with 514 participants. The PIA results were also published on websites of the ministry of education and ICERD.  According to ICERD progress report, twenty-two training courses on agricultural techniques have been organised for the 514 participants in the 6 provinces mentioned above. The training courses covered techniques on rice-fish cultivation, household herbal gardens, bio-bedding livestock production (chicken and pig), earth–worm raising and bioorganic fertilizer production. There was no record of the number of households applying these techniques at the time of conducting this MTR, except for the number of households applying rice –fish techniques (34 households) in Bac Giang province.  CGFED, SRD and RCRD have organised various communication activities to disseminate information on pesticide use to farmers not only at the project sites but also country wide through campaigns (once a year at the occation of “No pesticide week”); workshops at national and local levels on “Harmful pesticides, the impact on health and the environment” (11 workshops with more than 1000 participants, including government staff, farmers, students, teachers at secondary schools); translated, printed and disseminated 500 copies of a book on “Poisoning our future: children and pesticides”; 350 booklets on “Breast Cancer, Pesticides and you”; 350 booklets on “children and pesticides”; 700 factsheets and 10 posters on effects of pesticides on children and women health; See:;;

Based on the results of the field mission and a review of project documentation, the evaluator concluded that all of the activities implemented under this objective align with the targets taken up in the LFA. Objective 3: Strengthened capacity to innovate and scale-up Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and pesticide risk reduction training for sustainable intensification of crop production in partner countries. FAO-IPM based in Hanoi, in collaboration with PPD (MARD) and many NGOs coordinated and expanded the network of government and civil society organizations in order to increase commitment to the empowerment of rural communities and to improve smallholder farmers’ knowledge and skills on ecologically sound agricultural production and protection by testing and scaling up Save and Grow (SG) activities. This included:  FFS on PRR, SG, Rice-fish culture, SRI and IPM in most of the project sites. In each province, there were at least two IPM FFS and two field experiments on rice cultivation techniques per year. Further, there were numerous trainings on PRR, SG and SRI practices during the FFS (about 14 training sessions per FFS).  Organized trainings for IPM staff at the province, district, and commune level on monitoring and evaluation/quality control to ensure quality of IPM and refresher courses on technical topics twice a year with about 26-30 participants per training. These activities were conducted for IPM staff in Ninh Binh, Quang Binh, HaNoi, Bac Giang, Nam Dinh, Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Hoa Binh. All of the respondents in Hanoi, Bac Giang and Ninh Binh provinces highly appreciated the training content, which was focussed on pests, diseases and on specific crop species; and included an introduction on alternative ecological-low cost pest control measures (Metarhizium anisopliea for Brown backed rice plant hopper, rice – fish cultivation, reducing rice seeds and density for less pests and diseases).  Mobilised funds from government and other donors for PRR (IPM, FFS): This activity has been well implemented and the results passed expectations in Ninh Binh, Bac Giang and Ha Noi because the departments of agriculture and rural development at provincial level were able to collaborate with the KemI Programme and provide financial support from the provincial people’s committee (PPC). Ninh Binh’s PPC issued policies to support 4 billion VND (~US$ 200thousand) for Yen Thanh and Khanh Thanh communes in 2 years (20162017) to conduct together with FAO-IPM, IPM trainings and FFS. In Hanoi, authority funds allocated for PRR have been able to cover at least 100 field experimental classes on organic and safe vegetables per year.
 Minimum tillage has been applied in 22 provinces with about 4500 households using this technique. Project partners evaluated that minimum tillage practices were able to increase profit for farmers from 60% to 73%, as a direct result of reducing costs (labour, pesticide and fertiliser use).  Leaflets on rice-fish techniques, no tillage potato, and BDA were produced, printed (3000 copies) and uploaded on the website of DPP-MARD, FAO-IPM and ICERD for free downloading. So far, the network of government and civil society organisation has been expanded to 10 provinces (Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Bac Giang, Thai Nguyen, Phu Tho, Hanoi, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, Quang Binh and An Giang). Within the network, MONRE, MARD, especially PPD at national level and PPPSD, and CLCs at local level together with civil society organisations conduct IPM trainings, livelihood models and PRR communication activities. The remaining 53 provinces and cities in the whole country have access to the IPM training materials through the CLCs.

Objective 4: Strengthened regulatory framework for the control of pesticides in selected partner countries Through the Programme, support was made available to Vietnam, including the development of a new law on Plant Protection and Quarantine, which includes a chapter on pesticides. It was issued in December 2013. In 2014, the Programme made FAO HQ-Legal Department staff available to review and help finalise its English translation. Draft reports of a FAO\GEF project on pesticide management were reviewed and discussed with PPD. The Senior FAO Policy Officer based in Rome has reworked the manual for training on pesticide risk reduction and the draft is available for approval by PPD-MARD. From information gained from documentation and interviewing, it can be summarised that activities under objective 4 in Vietnam were well implemented. Respondents were all satisfied with implementation towards this objective. Objective 5. Strengthen capacity for authorities, industries and CSOs for Pesticide Management: Established network for collaboration and information sharing between partner countries Activities under this objective were undertaken by KemI. According to KemI reports, two regional workshops on the globally harmonised system for classification and labelling and enforcement were organised in 2014. Representatives from government staff of Vietnam participated in these two workshops. The second workshop was organised in Vietnam combined with a study visit at an international chemical company in Vietnam to inform the participants about its on-going work on implementation of the globally harmonised system. During 2014 and 2015 KemI organised the the 8th and 9th Regional Chemical Forums. The 8th forum was in Myanmar in 2014 and the 9th forum was organised in Vietnam in 2015. Representatives of all project local partners (CSOs), and beneficiaries departments (PPD, FAO-IPM) and Ministry of Industry and Trade in Vietnam participated in these two forums. Interviewees who participated in the two forums highly appreciated the forum’s contents and expressed that the forums provide good opportunities for them to share and learn about experiences of chemical management among the countries. In addition, the capacity of CSOs and government staff in Vietnam has been strengthened through their participation in regional networks (PANAP) and APPPC. From the documentation, the evaluator concludes that activities under this objective were well implemented and align with the Programme LFA.
3.2 OUTCOMES The project has created significant positive changes for the target communities and stakeholders. The sub-sections below provide details on the project’s results as related to important changes. These changes were assessed based on project reports, by interviewing individual or groups of farmers, local leaders, and project staff; and based on observations made by the evaluator during field visits in the country.
3.2.1 Awareness and behaviour changes at local level

Hai Hau district: More than 30% of the farmers at project communes in Hai Hau have directly participated in the project, but most people at the communes know about the project. One women’s pioneer group with 3 sub-groups (one group producing safe vegetables; one group keeping earth worms and safe chicken/ducks (chicken and ducks were kept by earth worm and rice instead of industrial feeds); and one group developing mixed gardens (earth worms, safe pigs, safe chicken, and safe ducks) have been established. The leader of the womens’ pioneer group said that recently many others have wanted to join but they have to organise a meeting for all members to discuss how they can manage a larger group. According to the respondents at the project sites, especially in Ninh Binh, and Gia Lam, 100% of farmers know about IPM and about 80% of them practice IPM techniques on rice and vegetables. 100% of farmers interviewed said they disposed of pesticide containers at common tanks. There were almost no pesticide containers observed on rice crop fields in these areas during the visit. As compared to Hai Hau district the results showed greater impacts in Ninh Binh and HaNoi, thanks to greater support from local authorities. Not only farmers but also local leaders at the project communes agreed that without the start-up of the project, they would not know much about the management system of pesticide trade and use in agriculture. Now they know more about the management systems, related management regulations, laws, and policies. PPD staff expressed that the project has created changes in their approach for training and awareness raising activities. Before, they normally trained farmers based on theory, but now thanks to the programme they have started applying the ecological-based approach for training. They also concluded that training content must be based on the field monitoring of pests and disease development and trainings should always be conducted at the field sites.
3.2.2 Income changes
Some evidence presented below originating from farmers and authorities show that income from applying biological controls and alternative ecological agriculture production techniques improved farmers’ income considerably. In Hai Hau district, the application of worm, chicken and pig in closed-loop production systems brought significantly higher income for members of the 3 women groups of Hai Son commune. Mrs. Doan Thi Gam (village 5, Hai Son commune) was a clear example of this and many women groups in the district and the neighbouring district of Hai Thuy have visited her. Income for Mrs. Gam’s household increased by more than 50%, to at least 100 million VND (~US$5000)per year, by applying the “closed- loop” production system. From keeping earthworms, she did not only sell worms (every 3 days resulting in an income of 3.2 million VND (~US$160), she also produced feed from earthworms, cereals and biomass for pigs, chicken, ducks, and fish. She did not have to purchase industrial feed that is quite expensive and her pigs, fish, ducks and chicken have been sold at higher prices (about 10%) than the others in the communes because of the safe and good meat quality. In Ninh Binh district, the commune record showed that applying SRI and IPM regulations for the Summer-Autumn crop 2016, rice productivity increased about 100kg per ha (3%) in comparison to the conventional rice fields. In addition, costs for rice production were reduced by approximately 30%. The farmer Mrs. Len and many other respondents said that the important point is that they now have safer products for the family and community, while they do not pay much attention to improved yields.
3.2.3 Environmental changes
It is difficult to evaluate environmental impacts of the Programme because it requires time to evaluate the environmental impacts and the scale of individual projects is still small. Pesticide-related illness has to some extent increased as a result of the application of pesticides during previous years. During the Programme’s duration pesticide poisoning cases did not occur at the commune level. In addition to this, most of the respondents expressed that their local environment has been improved a lot compared to the situation before the project and it is very much different in comparison to the neighbouring communes in terms of waste management, especially the handling pesticide containers after use (expressed by people and leaders in Thai Yen and Khanh Thanh communes). In Ninh Binh province, one of the visible environmental changes is the disposal of pesticide containers after use. Two years ago (before the project), pesticide containers could be found everywhere around the crop fields, especially at the canals where farmers take water to dissolve pesticides for spraying. But now pesticide containers are rarely found. Similar to this, people in Bac Giang province said that about 3 years ago, around this time of the year (September), if they would go to the crop fields they could observe very clearly “red grass” along the canals and inter-field roads, because people used herbicides to burn grass. The grass turned red only a few hours after spraying. But since the project, no one uses herbicides any more, instead they let the grass grow and cut it close to their crop fields. However, the management of empty pesticide containers remains a problem since both leaders in Ninh Binh and farmers in the two Programme communes do not know what they are supposed to do when the concrete containers are full. In Bac Giang, no concrete disposal container has been placed on crop fields yet. Farmers just collect pesticide containers and mix them with household waste, which ends up being burned.
3.2.4 Policy changes
At least 4 new circulars and policies have been issued at the national level, (including a Joint Circular No. 05/2016 / BNN-BTNMT TTLT on Guidelines of collecting, transporting and processing pesticide containers after use on 05 May 16 2016 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment; MARD’s Direction No. 2027 / QD-BNN dated June 2, 2015 on the promotion of application of IPM for the period from 2015 to 2020 was issued by MARD; Government enacted a “Scheme on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture and rural areas by 2020” and promotes upscaling of SRI to reduce use of agro-chemical inputs and cut back on greenhouse gas emissions in rice cultivation; MARD’s Decision No. 802 / QD-BNN-TCTL, dated 21 April 2014 on the Action Plan of restructuring irrigation scheme. In particular, according to MARD, by the year 2020 the irrigation infrastructure must be improved to allow at least 30% of rice areas in the whole country to adopt SRI and other environment friendly initiatives. All these circulars have been issued partly as a result of the advocacy activities in this project (workshops, meetings, communications). At the provincial level (Ninh Binh province), based on the KemI Programme, the provincial PPC has made a decision to, together with the KemI Programme, support the two Programme communes to become safe-agricultural-production communes by the end of 2017. It can be said that the project has had a significant influence on policy changes, especially at the national level. However, the remaining big questions are: how to ensure that these policies will also be implemented? Where will the funding necessary to ensure implementation come from?
3.2.5 Other effects
The District People’s Committee of Hai Hau district, Nam Dinh province issued policies promoting ratoon rice to reduce chemical use on 4000 ha of rice; The policy stated that no Paraquat could be used in transplanting rice, no water could be used to flood out weeds, and no field burning could be practiced to clear the field before the crop season. Farmers in Hai Hau said that when they joined the women pioneer groups, they had a chance to discuss this and they had to develop and try to successfully use several methods to reduce pesticide use and increase income: for example by hanging a nylon bag with water in the fruit field to avoid insects/fruit flies, and self-produced feed for chicken, ducks and pigs from their worms and agricultural by-products. These activities have significantly increased their income by more than 150 US$ (3 million VND)/month/ household. Further, their family and neighbours have safe food to eat and they indicated that they feel happier. However, with respect to related diseases (cancer, neurological effects, birth defects/reproductive effects), the incidence, as local people have been stating themselves, is still increasing as a result of overuse and misuse of pesticides and chemicals in the past. The project has only been on-going for 3 years and has been focussing on small community groups, therefore, further time and efforts are required to start seeing continued changes in behaviour and related health problems. Before the project’s start, people normally bought pesticides from wherever it was easiest for them, and they would apply Paraquat. It was informed in the meetings with Hai Hau district people committee and Hai Son commune women union that some shops still keep selling Paraquat but no one buys. In Ninh Binh, vice chairman of Yen Thai commune expressed that this project created more work and more duties for the commune’s staff but they all felt happy because they now understand the system of managing chemical use in agriculture (rules, regulations, laws, and roles of different agencies) and their tasks in contributing to control and manage the use of chemicals. Before the project they did not know much about these issues. It was also stated by the commune leaders that all farmers in Yen Thai commune are now aware the dangers of misuse or overuse of chemicals in agriculture. More than 80% farmers at the commune have followed the IPM regulations, and no unregulated market trade in pesticides has been observed at the commune recently. Farmers have changed from buying pesticides from the open market to buying at their cooperative. They changed from depending on instructions from the sellers to the guidance of extension staff. However, while recognizing the danger of pesticide use, some farmers do not want to apply any other control methods to avoid additional costs of time and money. It was explained by interviewees at Yen Thai commune that because of unstable income and low benefit from agriculture production, farmers wanted to move away from this sector, or they just want to apply techniques that are cheap, comfortable and less time consuming.
3.3 COST-EFFICIENCY The evaluator considers that in all the Programme activities there were elements of costefficiency. This can be shown by the following:  Through collaboration between project partners, especially local partners including NGOs, government and farmers’ organisations(FOs), the partners could make use of each other’s expertise for implementing project activities. As a result the project did not have to pay for the contracting of external experts. In addition, as local partners of the program, they to some extent have higher commitments to project activities and target communities than external experts.  Most of the project staff had been trained by previous projects, thus the project could build on existing expertise and did not have to start from zero. Project staff was all capable of managing and implementing the planned Programme activities. This is one of the reasons that most of the Programme activities were self-evaluated as 100% or over 100% as compared to expected results taken up in the project LFA.  The Programme activities are very much relevant to local people’s needs so they were successful in engaging people’s participation, commitment and ownership and this also allowed for sharing project costs.  The project objective is to reduce pesticide risk in agriculture while ensuring income for farmers in ways that align with the national and local government development strategies, as well as with local people’s needs. Therefore, the project could more easily mobilize contributions and participation to reach its objectives.
3.4 RELEVANCE  Programme activities and objectives meet well local people’s needs. The risks of pesticides is currently a hot issue in Vietnam which is a direct result of many poisoning cases as well as related diseases making people worry about their food sources and effecting their morale. People are getting scared of buying food at the market, restricting their consumption, their choices, and reducing food diversification, which in turn affects agricultural production. Therefore, not only government agencies but also farmers and consumers have a great interest in the positive outcomes of the Programme.  The Programme is also aimed to meet government development strategies at national and local levels, therefore, even if the Programme disposed of limited funding, some local partners (such as DPP) were able to request and obtain governmental funds to support the project activities at national and provincial levels. Examples of this are the following: o In Hai Hau district, Nam Dinh province, the provincial and District Women’s Union as well as the District People’s Committee have a close collaboration with CGFED to implement activities. In collaboration with CGFED they organised training activities, campaigns, demonstrations of safe-economic livelihood models, and supported farmers to access credit for applying ecological livelihood models (worm-safe chicken-pig and vegetable production and marketing). o In Ninh Binh province, the Provincial People’s Committee issued a decision to support the two Kemi supported project communes (Yen Thanh and Khanh Thanh communes) to achieve the status of safe agriculture production communes in 2017. The province has been investing 2 billion VND (~100 000 USD)in each commune over two years, together with allocating 3 field-based staff from the provincial level to allow for daily morning consultations, in order to support the two KemI supported project communes to be able to manage chemicals safely.  During the evaluation, most of the respondents expressed that the KemI Programme is “small” but that they considered the Programme to be a seed or a catalyst for authorities at all levels and farmers to collectively achieve the target of safe and sustainable agriculture more easily, which has for many decades been considered the most difficult task for the agriculture sector. An example of this is that the project started encouraging farmers to collect the pesticide containers after use but there haven’t been any places for disposing and treatment after collection. The project then introduced the model of setting up concrete pesticide container collection tanks on fields in Ninh Binh plant production and protection sub department (PPPSD) and PPC. As a result PPC allocated fund for allocating containers on the rice field with every 1 ha having 3 containers.
3.5 REGIONAL COLLABORATION AND SUSTAINABILITY  The existing collaboration between the four partner organisations (FAO, PANAP, KemI and TFA) and with local partners and organisations is crucial for the Programmme’s effectiveness and sustainability. According to the results of interviewing representatives of the local partners, these collaborations have however been created vertically, and the horizontal collaboration between local partners has been relatively loose. Horizontal collaboration needs to be strengthened to ensure its sustainability after the project comes to an end.  Sustainability of project results depends largely on the continuing function of the regional networks (such as APPPC, and the regional pesticide reduction network) that have been established and facilitated by Asian countries as well as KEMI. APPPC is being funded by country government members and Vietnam is a member of the commission.  New policies that have been advocated by the project can help support the sustainability of project outcomes. However, to implement such policies, it is important for the remaining years of the project to call for more support and collaboration of other government departments, especially the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Planning and Investment. Such policies cannot be implemented at the local level without the voice and agreement from these departments, as well as national and provincial budget allocations to make their implementation feasible.  At the local level, especially the commune level, some communes in Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh and HaNoi have developed their own regulations with the agreement of their residents. For example at Van Duc commune, Gia Lam District, Hanoi, one of the regulations is that if anyone disposes of pesticide containers in the wrong place, he/she has to pay 1.5 – 3 million VND depending on the number of discarded pesticide containers being found. The more transgressions, the higher the level of the fine (for example: 1st time offence, fine is 1.5 million, second time offence, fine is 2 million, 3rd time offence fine is 2.5 million or higher). The level of the payments depends on the national law of environmental protection. In Ninh Binh and Bac Giang, there were agreements signed between the Commune People’s Committee and households to reduce risks from pesticides and protect the environment. The monitoring and penalising/sanction mechanisms are based on the community’s traditional regulations. So these local regulations and policies can be considered a good indicator of project sustainability.
3.6 INTEGRATION OF CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES The stakeholder interview results indicated that the human rights based approach, poverty perspective, gender equality and good governance have been well integrated in the project planning, implementation as well as monitoring. In all activities, gender was mentioned and the percentage of women participating in the project was very high (50%-70%, and this is shown in all annual reports, progress reports and confirmed during the field visit). In many cases women are leaders of the groups. Respondents at all field sites had the same answer when asked about the right to join in the project: “Everyone has a right to join the project. But priority is given to the poor and women”. Respondents had also been trained on human rights, focusing on the lawful rights of women and children and how to use the human rights knowledge to negotiate with local authorities for PRR or manage illegal trading of pesticides. Regarding poverty reduction, in general all project activities have been designed focusing not only on pesticide reduction and safety but also on improving income for farmers. This is the crucial condition for farmers’ adoption of such practices and for long-term sustainability. Good governance has been well mainstreamed in the project design. All local partners mentioned that everything is transparent and strict. Any changes made to the project and its activities need to be reported in advance and need higher-level approval. For financial controls, all local partners have to undergo end-of-year auditing. For project activities and implementation, the project’s lead organisations (TFA, PANAP, FAO HQ or FAO-IPM) organised periodical visits (at least twice a year) to monitor project activities.
3.7 PRIVATE SECTOR COLLABORATION – Project results did not show any clear collaboration between the private sector, farmers, government, and NGOs. Some activities have been facilitated by SRD, CGFED and FAO-IPM to link safe production areas with markets (e.g. participation at the agricultural product fair in Hanoi). However, no linkages between safe producers and consumers or markets has been made with support from the project. – In relation to the pesticide risk reduction aspect, agreements have been signed between local authorities (in Ninh Binh and Hanoi) and pesticide shops on following the government regulations and requesting pesticide sellers/distributors to provide information on the use and purpose of pesticides prior to purchase.

– Regular monitoring of project activities by using key informants from the community, DPP and community mass organisations – such as women’s’ unions, youth unions and farmers’ unions – in combination with periodical visits to the project sites by project staff, was one of the main strategies to monitor changed circumstances and manage and mitigate project risks. – Participatory methods and making use of indigenous knowledge in designing and implementing project activities was considered a suitable project approach to minimize risk.
3.9 FOLLOW UP OF EVALUATION 2011 In comparison with the evaluation of 2011, similarities were found in many aspects, including relevance of the project to local people’s concern and the government’s development strategy; the Programme design and implementation was cost-efficient. The strength of each of the Programme partners as well as local people was well tapped into for achieving the project objectives. The Programme has been considered a “catalyst element” for the country’s IPM and food safety program. The MTR (2016) found almost no information in Vietnam regarding management responses to the following recommendations proposed by the 2011 evaluation: – Study the communication strategies and methods for dissemination of information on the results of pesticide risk assessment to reach the general public through children and empower the citizens as customers and consumers. – Results of the impact assessment on PRR done by Hanoi University should be disseminated widely to larger areas (to all stakeholders within the project areas as well as outside of project areas e.g. through mass media). – Government should review its policies on the issue of control of pesticide import, distribution and promotion and collaborate with the neighbouring countries to control illegal pesticide trade/ distribution over borders. – Coordination and cooperation between governments, CSOs, research communities, universities, and the private sector need to be strengthened when it comes to pesticide policy formulation and implementation, and institutional networking.

4. Conclusions and Recommendations All project activities have been carried out according to the Programme plan. Some awareness raising activities (training) were even more extensive than planned. Stakeholders (farmers and leaders) highly appreciated the project ideas and approach and it was expressed that though the Programme budget is small, it has been recognised that the project has functioned as a catalyst, encouraging stakeholders to come together for a safer life. Because of its relevance to the development strategies at both national and local levels, all project activities have created considerable changes in project communities. Changes have been made in different aspects, such as behaviour changes in disposing of pesticide containers after use; applying biological control techniques (rice fish, bio-bedding in livestock production, earth worm raising); changes in polices of pesticide use and trading; changes in farmers’ income; and changes in environmental aspects (though a positive impact on the environment cannot the proven at this point in time it is expected that with improved management of empty pesticides containers, better control on the trade of pesticides and the improved management and reduced use of chemicals in agriculture, the environment suffers less from the mismanagement and over use of chemicals). The project results were also revealed as cost-efficient. However, there were some shortcomings and challenges that need to be considered, which include:  Limited collaboration between local partners: Collaboration between the partner organisations such as TFA, PANAP, FAO, KemI and their local partners in Vietnam seems to be good but among the local partners in Vietnam it is still loose. Although annual meetings have been organized in Bangkok for all partners to discuss and share their work, and PPD staff have been invited to conduct some trainings for target communities of other local partners (SRD, CGFED and ICERD), there has been no regular collaboration between them. Especially, FAO-IPM in Vietnam does not know what has been done by SRD and CGFED, and CGFED and SRD do not know what has been done by ICERD.  With respect to reporting (annual report, progress reports, etc.) SRD and CGFED submit to PANAP in Malaysia; PPD sends its reports to FAO-IPM in Hanoi and FAO-IPM Hanoi sends its reports to FAO RAP; while ICERD send their reporting to TFA.  In order to advocate and sustain Programme outcomes, there should be one local partner (among the current partners) who would function as a focal unit to coordinate the Programme activities of local partners. This is not only important for advocacy but also for effective monitoring and managing of Programme activities and outcomes.  Programme funds are limited but have been distributed to quite a large number of various activities and to many communes, districts, and provinces. Therefore, it is really difficult to recognise the Programme’s outputs and outcomes, except for in Ninh Binh where there have been many changes at the community level thanks to the project and the close collaboration of the PPC. In other project areas, changes have been observed but only on a limited scale (e.g. of people who participated directly in the Programme). Most of the partners’ representatives agreed that the Programme would get better outputs, and more significant and more sustainable outcomes, if the activities were more focused and linked as chains in a production system inx a specific community. Due to many reasons, SRD, CGFED, RCRD and ICERD had to find their own suitable communes (project sites), while FAO-IPM had their own areas. There were no linkages among project areas and even among project activities. Therefore, to some extent the Programme seems to be very fragmented.  One of the project objectives is to build and strengthen linkages/collaborations between farmers, GOs, CSOs and the private sector. However, there wasn’t any evidence proving those collaborations, in particular linkages between NGOs, GOs and farmers with private sector were missing in the project results observed.  In the context of Vietnam, the collaboration between NGOs and GOs as well as mass organisations (womens’ unions, farmers’ unions, youth unions) is very important for sustaining project outcomes, especially in the case of pesticide management because there exists a hierarchical system from the national to the commune level for plant protection, and the government is very much concerned about safe production practices. However, there is a lack of collaboration among these organisations in most of the project areas. In Nam Dinh province, CGFED collaborated mainly with the Womens’ Union but not with DPPSD (though they invited DPP staff for some trainings). In Bac Giang province, there was collaboration with schools and CLC (Moet) and DPP, but not with mass organisations. In Ninh Binh, only DPP (including RPPC) is working on the project activities. It would be more effective and more sustainable if NGOs, DPP and mass organisations would work in close collaboration in the same area to share, learn, monitor, and support each other and to tap into the strength of each partner for the project.  In some areas, there is not enough evidence to persuade farmers away from hazardous chemicals and there is a need to identify alternative methods to replace the current hazardous chemicals while ensuring income and benefits for farmers. The project has not been providing enough attractive alternatives for farmers yet.  As mentioned by many respondents, especially local leaders, reducing pesticides and chemical use should not only focus on the way people apply pesticides and chemicals and raising their awareness on the management of chemicals and pesticides, but it is also important to identify the determining factors which influence their decision to use pesticides and other chemicals in agriculture or not. When such factors have been identified it is easier to design a project approach that can reach the project goal. For example, one of the reasons for applying chemical fertilizer and hazardous pesticides is that farmers do not want to invest much time, labour and thought on agricultural production because it is risky and it is a low income source. Many farmers are trying to move away from agriculture to find off-farm or non-farm work. Therefore, they want to apply techniques that are simple and get results quickly. Hence, consideration of alternative agriculture production systems that increase people’s safe income is needed.  It was mentioned by most respondents, especially local leaders, that although the Programme has created some changes in awareness and behaviour of local people, sustainability of those changes is very uncertain. Below are listed the three main reasons that need to be considered during the final years of the Programme when trying to work towards project sustainability: o Changes are still new to people, they need time to familiarise themselves with them and for them to become habitual. Practices are new, and they are still trying to adapt themselves to them and become more familiar with them, but if the project stops supporting or facilitating them then it would be possible that they return to their old practices, especially in those communes where new practices have not yet been fully institutionalised. o Changes have been made but these changes have been made by a small group of people. How to scale up efforts with limited funds and time remains a big question. o Pesticide trade has been quite well controlled at the project sites (as reported by local leaders). They have some rules and regulations, and agreements with both users and traders. However, challenges remain to exist when the neighbouring communes are unable to control the trade of pesticides and when because of labour shortages for agriculture, people apply pesticides because it seems more attractive for people than biological control. Within the next two years, to ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of the project outcomes after the project comes to an end, the following recommendations are suggested: (i) All shortcomings and challenges mentioned in section 4 should be taken in to account seriously. (ii) The collaboration among local partners should be strengthened. Among local partners, a focal point (coordinator) should be appointed for all Programme activities. In this way all local partners can share with each other what they have done and all involved stakeholders would better understand the holistic picture of the Programme’s objectives, outcomes and results across the country. The linkages among local partners recommended are shown within the blue lines in the following figure (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Recommended linkages among local partners in Vietnam

(iii) Introduction to farmers of alternative methods to replace the use of hazardous pesticides and herbicides (Paraquat) is needed; (iv) Developing linkages between farmers, CSOs, government and the private sector, especially between farmers and market enterprises to reduce the risk of pesticides in agriculture and to stimulate the production and consumption of ecological agricultural products; (v) Facilitate the involvement of the Department of Planning and Investment and Financial Departments at national (Ministry of Planning and investment-MPI and Ministry of Finance-MOF) and local levels to ensure that new policies are implemented at the community level. (vi) Continue and pay more attention to the communication of project results (successful IPM, FFS, etc.) via media, community field visits to project sites, and community or inter-community quizzes or competitions about PRR.

5. Lessons Learned – Involving all stakeholders (CSOs, GOs, private sectors, institutions, etc.) who have responsibilities or interests in the management of pesticides in agriculture and who have an interest in reducing the risks resulting from the inadequate management of pesticides would make the project outcomes more comprehensive. – CSOs, private sector, and GOs all have their own approaches to reducing pesticide risks in agriculture while safeguarding and/or increasing farmers’ income. Therefore, the engagement of these organisations in the same Programme and increasing their collaboration has led to many benefits in the Programme design (better approach), implementation (costefficient because they share experiences, exchange expertise, etc.), and for sustaining the Programme outcomes. In addition, there should be increased private enterprise engagement in the project. – The Programme has established not only national but also international networks that are considered by many partners as an effective instrument to manage pesticide trade and use in agriculture. – Community-based and farmer-based participation is important in PRR also for accountability. Farmers can monitor each other in pesticide container disposal and the purchase and use of hazardous pesticides, and they can monitor pesticide shops in selling illegal chemicals. Farmers were also asked to sign an agreement to commit to correctly applying IPM regulations (Ninh Binh province) and to monitor each other. – The Programme applies a “systematic approach” in dealing with pesticide risk reduction. Many stakeholders, including farmers, school children, teachers, leaders, policy makers, and pesticide traders are involved in the project. For the awareness-raising objective, the Programme employs “community education” approaches. As a result, entire communities can access information through direct trainings, TOT, farmer-to-farmer trainings/sharing, and through communication means (loudspeaker, community meetings, and women group meetings). – Community approach: all people in the community have to follow the regulations. Or at least all households having the same crop field should together apply the regulations. Otherwise, if some households will apply IPM (biological control) while the neighbours do not, pests and diseases can spread out easily. In addition, pesticides from conventional practices can spread to IPM fields. All of these factors have been considered at the project sites. – Many local leaders and Programme staff mentioned that the project has applied an action research approach. Most of the project activities are based on community participation research (field research) and participatory assessment (PIA). Therefore, project activities are very much relevant to communities’ needs. Most of the farmers at the project sites were impressed by the training on the dangers of pesticide use and farmers’ common bad practices in applying pesticides. As a result of these trainings they observed significant changes in pesticide use within the community. For example, most farmers now try to protect themselves when applying pesticides.
6. List of People Interviewed and Consulted
Name Position Organisation
Mr. Nguyen Quy Duong Deputy director PPD Mr. Ngo Tien Dung Staff PPD Mr. Do Hong Khanh Staff PPD Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hoa Deputy director SRD Mrs. Nguyen Kim Thuy Director CGFED Mr. Nguyen Trung Kien Deputy Director ICERD Mr.Pham Van Long Staff ICERD Alma Linda Abubakar Staff FAO-IPM Mr. Tran Van Hieu Staff FAO –IPM Hanoi
Mr. Nguyen Van Chuc Vice chairman
Yen Thai commune
Mr. Vu Van Tai Farmer union
Yen Thai commune
Mr. Nguyen Van Phan Staff
DPPS Yen Mo district
Mr. Vu Van Nha Chairmain
Yen Thai commune
Mr. Vu Khac Hieu Director
DPPSP Ninh Binh province
Mrs. Do Thi Thao Vice director
DPPSP Ninh Binh province
Tran Thi Len
Head of Commune women Union
Hai Son commune, HH district, Nam Dinh province
Mrs. Hoa Farmer
Hamlet 5, Hai Son commune, HH district Mr. Chinh Vice chairman HH district
Mrs. Nguyen Head
Hai Hau district women union
Mrs. Chi Staff
Hai Hau district women union Mrs. Hoa Staff Hai Hau district women union
Mrs. Hoa Head
Department of Vinachemi Mr. Thang Staff Vinachemi
Nguyen Van Huu Farmer
Xuan Phu commune, Bac Giang
Pham Van Chien Farmer
Quynh Son commune, Bac Giang province
Mr. Chung Deputy principle
Quynh Son secondary school
Mr. Hau Teacher
Quynh Son secondary school
Mrs. Kieu Teacher
Quynh Son secondary school
Mrs. Hong Farmer
Xuan Phu commune
15 farmers of the rice-fish club, Xuan Phu commune
Xuan Phu commune
Mr. Nguyen Song Ha
Assisstant FAO Representative (Program)
FAO Hanoi