On 17 April 2015 in Ho Chi Minh City, a multi-stakeholder workshop was organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature to analyse the achievements of the Mangroves and Markets (MAM) project and reflect on some of the challenges.
The MAM project is implemented by IUCN and SNV and supports mangrove conservation in Ca Mau Province, South Vietnam, by offering technical assistance and financial incentives to farmers to switch to sustainable shrimp aquaculture practices. The workshop represented an opportunity to learn about activities conducted to date and discuss plans for the future. Presentations were given by some of the key stakeholders. SNV’s MAM project manager, Thuy Nguyen, presented the main achievements of the project, including the successful certification of 741 shrimp farmers, the creation of effective market linkages, the project’s contributions to provincial policy formulation and the replanting and protection of mangroves. IUCN explained MAM’s inputs in Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) policy decision-making. Minh Phu Corporation gave a private sector perspective on organic certification and improved access to markets. Research institutes presented findings and insights on biodiversity and shrimp productivity improvements in integrated mangrove-shrimp farming systems.
The agenda of the workshop included time for questions and answers, which led to lively discussions between the participants regarding the future of the project. The benefits and drawbacks of other certification schemes (BAP and GAP) were analysed and strategies to access new markets were discussed. Reflection took place on how to enhance the transparency of premium payments to farmers, and on how to ensure that non-certified shrimp does not enter the value chain.
The workshop ended with a speech from SNV Vietnam’s country director Miguel Méndez, who highlighted the multiple benefits of the MAM certification project. He stressed that the project does not only ensure farmers receive a higher price for their shrimp, it also secures their access to markets, reduces production costs, increases productivity, and protects the environment for generations to come.
Around 30 participants attended the event, representing a diverse group of stakeholders and interested parties. Attendees included representatives from SNV, IUCN, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the provincial governments of Ca Mau, Ben Tre, and Tra Vinh, the Ca Mau Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), Nhung Mien Forest Management Board (FMB), Minh Phu Corporation, shrimp farmer group leaders, GIZ, and the Research Institute for Aquaculture (subRIA2).