Grow Asia and Corteva Agriscience™ have partnered to progress the economic empowerment of women farmers and agripreneurs in Southeast Asia through a joint initiative called THRIVE (Train Her to Promote Resilient, Inclusive Value Chains and Economic Empowerment). This article outlines some of the programs delivered in the first six months of the THRIVE pilot in Viet Nam, as penned by Huynh Nhu Mao - THRIVE Project Assistant for our Viet Nam Country Partnership, the Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture in Vietnam (PSAV).
On 8 March, we celebrate International Women's Day. It’s because of this that I’d like to start this piece by expressing my gratitude to the women farmers and agripreneurs who have played a critical role in the THRIVE initiative over the last six months.
THRIVE in Vietnam was designed with two objectives: (i) to help strengthen farm management, digital, and business skills among women farmers, and (ii) to directly support women farmers and agripreneurs through networking events and mentorship opportunities. Women farmers and agripreneurs have been directly supported by THRIVE in Viet Nam through a series of trainings in eight territories, as well as a six-month intensive mentorship program for six influential women farmers. On Training:
Since being launched in September 2021, THRIVE has trained over 150 farmers from 16 provinces in Viet Nam. We conducted a training needs assessment of the women farmers and narrowed our focus to three main modules, including two on non-agricultural topics. These three topics were Occupational Health, Application of Information Technology, and Using Pesticides Safely, Efficiently, and Responsibly. Our partners delivered the two non-agricultural topics remotely, and Corteva staff delivered the training on crop protection in-person. We received positive feedback from the participating women farmers expressing their happiness for having the opportunity to expand their knowledge and connect with other farmers.
Through the THRIVE mentorship program, we were able to match 6 pairs of mentors (from Corteva) and mentees (lead women farmers or farming influencers) in five territories. Before mentorship could begin, all mentors received a two month, one-on-one coaching on effective mentoship. An action plan for each mentee was then tailored to the goals expressed by each mentee. As a result,the women farmers involved received direct and targeted support from Corteva staff through face-to-face meetings which occurred at least once a month for six months. Mentorship topics included utilizing protective clothes and applying information technology to seek information for agricultural production and their daily lives. In addition, we were able to organize two study tours (one on rice, and one non-rice specific tour) to support women farmers’ access to practical knowledge about safe and sustainable agri-production practices. One mentee stated that “We have not had our eyes opened like this before. This was a cross-border trip that and we had an awesome opportunity to meet, learn and listen to other farmers in other regions. They are so friendly, enthusiastic, and hospitable”.
Through THRIVE, Grow Asia and Corteva Agriscience™ will be organizing a Business Development Event for more than 120 participants women agripreneurs and influencers, Corteva employees, authorities, retailers, representatives of women's unions. This event aims to connect women farmers and other actors in the value chain. Through THRIVE, we hope to raise awareness about the critical role women in agriculture – and direct support for women farmers and business owners – play in ensuring a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable food system in Southeast Asia.
As part of the THRIVE initiative, we welcome new partners who share our passion for creating a better future for women farmers and agripreneurs. We are looking forward to collaborating with companies across the food value chain, government organizations, donors, academe and NGOs as we advance our efforts in Viet Nam and beyond. For more information on THRIVE and how you can get involved, please contact Grow Asia’s Sustainable Investment & Inclusion Lead, Erin Sweeney at firstname.lastname@example.org or Huynh Nhu Mao at email@example.com. We are excited to work together with you on this journey.