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External Evaluation of the Project “Putting Lessons into Practice: Scaling Up People's Biodiversity Management for Food Security” in Vietnam

From December 10th to 12th, the project “Putting lessons into practice: Scaling up people's biodiversity management for food security” was evaluated by external independent experts in Vietnam after 03 years of implementation. This project was funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Oxfam Novib organization which was conducted in 03 countries including Peru, Zimbabwe and Vietnam. In Vietnam, it was implemented from June 2012 to October 2015 by SEARICE Philippine partnered with the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD) and the Vietnamese Field Crops Research Institute in the Yen Bai, Lao Cai, Son La, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa Provinces.

The external evaluation was organized in the Yen Bai and Son La Provinces by SRD. The evaluation team included independent experts from IFAD and senior officers from Oxfam Novib and SEARICE.

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The evaluation group with the people from project areas in Yen Bai Province (source: Oxfam Novib)

Due to the internal evaluation of the project in September 2015, farmers from the project areas wanted the program to continue implementing the second phase, in order to help them crossbreed the Lech indigenous sticky rice varieties with the modern varieties (Coded 97). This was already successfully implemented in the first phase, resulting in new rice varieties that overcome the drawbacks of Lech varieties’ height. The evaluation results also showed that the project has contributed to enhancing women’s roles in managing biodiversity and local varieties. 

             

The purpose of the project “Putting lessons into practice: Scaling up people's biodiversity management for food security” was to enhance the abilities and combine the demands of small-scale manufacturing farmers and ethnic minority communities, as well as involve them in international policy dialogue. Additionally, the project aimed at aiding research on sustainable genetic plant resource utilization for food security in the changing climate.

This external evaluation aimed to analyze further the results and lessons learned from the internal evaluation, to draw conclusions on the overall impact of the project to local people lives.  The challenges in the project expansion were also recognized, in order to build a thorough proposal for the direction of intervention in the future.

In the Yen Bai and Son La Provinces, the evaluation team interviewed the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Plant Protection Department, farmers from the Farmer Field School (FFS) on rice varieties conservation and breeding in the project areas, and representatives from local authorities. The sincere sharing of local people showed many positive effects from the project to improve their lives.

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The evaluation members interviewing the farmers of the Farmer Field School (FFS) (source: Oxfam Novib)

Ms. Luong Thi Dinh from An Binh Village, Bao Ai Commune, and Yen Binh District shared: “In the past, we had to face many difficulties in the production because of lacking techniques. Since joining the FFS, we have learned a lot of new knowledge to apply in production and our lives. With what has been learned, and to interact and learn more from others in the class, I have felt more confident.”

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Representative of the farmer groups from the FFS in the project area confidently presented the activity results

Ms. Tran Thi Huong from An Binh Village, Bao Ai Commune, Yen Binh District said: “Our lives are better than before thanks to the savings from buying new varieties (by the initiative to create and maintain similar varieties for the next season), as well as make tastier rice and sell it for more money. Currently I have 5, 6 rice varieties and regularly exchange with my friends and relatives in the commune.”

Another representative from Thai Binh Village, Ms. Nhu shared the change of women’s role in the locale: Joining the FFS to learn more knowledge and its application in the production, women have affirmed themselves and enhanced their position in their family and were respected by their husband more than before.

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The local women have affirmed themselves and enhanced their position in their family (source: Oxfam Novib)

Mr. But – head of Thai Binh Village, Bao Ai Commune, Yen Binh District shared that most of students from the FFS were women, they not only knew how to apply new knowledge to increase productivity and quality, but also share their knowledge with other women in their village and commune. Therefore, their farming practices were improved.

The successful results and lessons learned in implementing this project in Vietnam will be synthesized and documented by the Oxfam Novib, to provide to the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture to request FAO to prepare the first report on “The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture” (Report) for its Sixteen Regular Session (2017).

-SRD- 

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