SNV’s 'Spice of Life' and VBCF at Workshop on Private Sector Engagement in Pro-poor Value Chain Development


Event

Hanoi - SNV presented its initiatives in pro-poor value chain development at a workshop organised by The Market Access for the Rural Poor (MARP) Programme, with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC).

The workshop on “Engagement of the Private Sector in Pro-poor Value Chain Development” was part of the SDC-supported The Market Access for the Rural Poor. This event attracted nearly one hundred participants from the Government, donors and funding agencies, development organisations, NGOs and private companies.

Engaging the private sector in working with the poor is crucial for increasing their income, said Country Director of SDC in Vietnam, Samuel Waelty, adding that with higher risks and transaction costs in the rural areas, and a lack of stable market linkages, it remained a strong challenge to mobilise private sector resources for sustainable pro-poor growth.

The workshop was a forum to learn from and share international and Vietnamese examples and experience, in order to find solutions for working with the private sector to achieve sustainable income both for the rural poor and the private sector, he noted.

In his presentation at the workshop, Buddhika Samarasinghe of Nathan Associates London shared his opinions on engaging the private sector to deliver pro-poor impacts. He also stressed the importance of inclusive growth, and pointed out several success factors for value chain interventions which included contractual relationships to enhance learning, relationships between firms to reduce transaction costs for buyers, and support services which are considered key to firm-level upgrading.

Javier Ayala, Executive Manager of Vietnam Business Challenge Fund, which is funded by the UKAid and managed by SNV, shared VBCF’s experience in engaging private sector in the inclusive value chain in Vietnam. Ayala also added that VBCF is one of many initiatives that SNV has been carrying out to engage private sector in poverty reduction. He said, “It is important to change the mindset of businesses who often think profit is key to success. What we do is making them aware that working with the low income populations could be profitable and sustainable in a long run. We also provide assistance to companies in turning their ideas into realistic business plans that are attractive to commercial banks and investors”.

Companies that SNV is supporting as part of the “Spice of Life” project, which is funded by SDC, also participated in the workshop and presented their spice products, including cinnamon, star anise and cardamom. The project aims to improve the income and livelihoods of small holder producers through: the improved productivity,  improved to sustainability of spice production and strengthened relationships with processing and trading companies associated with this project.