The project covers five provinces of Tra Vinh, Ben Tre, Tien Giang, Thanh Hoa and Nghe An, aiming to contribute to promoting economic development and business efficiency of small-scale firms and processors towards sustainable standards, while strengthening market access and creating favourable policies for inclusive and sustainable development of the clam and bamboo value chain in Vietnam.
It also focused on reducing poverty nd inequality in rural areas of Vietnam, assisting clam and bamboo producers and processors in applying sustainable practices, and promoting public-private partnerships in fair and responsible chain governance.
A report from the project showed that in 2018, there are about 1.5 million small-scale producers and processors engaged in clam and bamboo industries. However, they face many challenges, mostly due to the impoverished situation of material areas as a result of degradation, overexploitation and lack of understanding of sustainable maintenance.
In this situation, the project coordinated with the localities to improve farming techniques in order to achieve international certificates such as MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) and ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) for clam, and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) for bamboo, enabling their products to enter large markets such as the US, the EU and Japan.
In 2019, Quan Hoa district in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa became the first locality in Vietnam to achieve the FSC certificate for bamboo production, followed by Que Phong district in neighbouring Nghe An province and Quan Son district in Thanh Hoa.
In early 2023, the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh became the third clam production area to achieve ASC certificate. These are considered big steps for Vietnamese clam and bamboo industries.
Phan Van Thang, Director of the Research Centre for Non-Timber Forest Product, said at the event that after receiving the FSC certificate, the bamboo forests are grown and maintained better, generating higher productivity and more stable quality products, resulting in higher socio-economic and environmental values.
Hoang Quang Phong, Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said that thanks to the project, more than 34,000 people have enjoyed sustainable income from clam and bamboo, while 125 production groups were better organised, 63 businesses have seen their business situation advance, and more than 4,000 new jobs have been created.
At the same time, the project has helped increase Vietnam's clam exports to Europe by 38-40%, and bamboo exports by 42%, he said.