In mid-December 2019, Mr Jörg Rüger, First Secretary of the German Embassy in Vietnam, made his first visit to CAFÉ-REDD project in Lam Dong province. During his visit, Mr Rüger worked with key project government partners such as the Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Lac Duong District People’s Committee, Chappi Mountains Cooperative, and interacted with key village heads, and local people in the field. This is the opportunity to witness the initial promising results of CAFÉ-REDD project after 9 months of implementation in terms of reduced deforestation and forest degradation, as well as to address the conversion of forest to agriculture in Lang Biang Biosphere Reserve. They are one of the key priorities of CAFÉ-REDD project, which is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) from German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) during 2018-2021 with the total funding budget of EUR 1.7 million.
Attending the event were also Mr Richard Rastall – Agriculture Sector Leader, SNV Vietnam, Mr Pham Thanh Nam – CAFÉ-REDD Project Manager, SNV supporting staff, local cooperative owners and enterprises, and government staffs in Lam Dong province.
Mr Rüger started with a visit to observe the participatory village land/resource use planning in Dong Mang village with the participation of 56 households. With CAFÉ-REDD support, the locals organised a village meeting to consult, finalise maps, re-affirm village land use boundaries, zoning and agreements for forest protection and interventions to improve their own village. These activities aims to improve coffee quality and prices whilst also promoting landscape restoration through mixed agroforestry systems and alternative livelihoods. During the consultation processes, many K’ho coffee farmers, especially the female farmers, confidently shared their viewpoints and contributed ideas to the land use plan process. The farmers explained that they observed some initial positive changes in their families and local communities while being a part of the CAFÉ-REDD project. Through training and planning processes, their awareness on forest protection and restoration has been improved moving towards sustainability and climate smart farm management practices.
On the same day, the delegation visited Ms Le Nguyen Thach Thao - the Founder and CEO of Chappi Mountains Cooperative - one of the women-owned and led cooperative established in the province to support the farmers in the coffee highlands to improve their livelihood. Since CAFÉ-REDD project's introduction in 2019, the cooperative has closely collaborated with SNV, IDH, and ACOM, to provide the members of the Chappi Mountains Cooperative with expertise, technical and financial support. Through the visit, the delegation discussed with the cooperative members about their farming practices, and learnt about how CAFÉ-REDD project worked to help farmers produce coffee with sustainability and livelihood improvement through the visit to Yumonang Coffee shop – a start up business by a K’ho woman, and field visit to the agro-forestry landscape. These visits not only provided a clear agro-forestry vision but also reflected some challenges in terms of forest protection and landscape restoration in the province.
After Chappi Cooperative visit, the delegation visited Bidoup Nui Ba National Park to learn about the importance of landscape, biodiversity, and forest in Langbiang biosphere reserve and buffer zone, and application of high technology in forest conservation, forest and farm mapping.
Mr Su Thanh Hoai – Chairman of District People’s Committee (DPC) in Lac Duong, Lam Dong province warmly welcomed the delegation and showed high appreciation for the effective cooperation between SNV and the district. He also shared the overview implementation of CAFÉ-REDD in the district, opportunities and challenges, and recommendations for key value chains support in the next two years. Lac Duong PPC has successfully collaborated with SNV to implement activities to foster public-private partnership establishment with a focus on coffee value chain; work with key companies in the value-chain in the province such as Tam Trinh, The Married Beans, K’ho Coffee to adopt digital systems that link real-time satellite forest monitoring to mapped supply chains. The project also provided some trainings to train farmers (especially K’ho ethnic minority communities) to protect and restore forest lands and so forth. In addition, many government staff discussed with the delegation and came with some suggestion such as promoting biodiversity, providing agriculture input supply for coffee farmers, and encouraging livelihood alternatives so that the locals are able to increase their income while promoting landscape restoration.
At the end of the trip, Jörg on behalf of the delegation expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome,the commitment and strong cooperation of the local authorities, which significantly contributed to the success of CAFÉ-REDD project. His first project visit has brought many lessons learnt to enrich the impact of CAFÉ-REDD, and to further enhance collaboration between SNV and local partners.
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