Vietnam, and in particular the southern area of the Mekong Delta, benefits from exceptional soil and climate conditions for a good agricultural production. Nevertheless, since the green revolution, farmers use a lot of pesticides, impacting the workers’ and consumers’ health, as well as the ecosystems. The so-called organic production is little recognized, and access to the market is difficult for small producers. Producers are not used to come together within cooperatives, which could help them reduce cost and access bigger markets.
The Mekong Delta is highly vulnerable to climate change and the salinization of agricultural land, threatening the ecological heritage and the income of producers.
Jean-Luc Voisin created the company Les Vergers du Mékong and the brands Le Fruit and Folliet in 2000 with the ambition of creating a support system for producers in the Mekong Delta while protecting an endangered ecological heritage.
Les Vergers du Mékong is a French company based for 20 years in Vietnam. It offers fruit juices and jams under Le Fruit brand and coffee and tea under Folliet brand. The company has implemented an exemplary social and environmental responsibility policy. It supports its guava, pineapple and mango producers in the Mekong Delta towards more sustainable practices while ensuring decent incomes, limiting the impact of market price fluctuations on producers. The fruits are processed into juice and jams at the Can Tho processing site, then distributed in restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and stores mainly in Vietnam (70% of the market) and abroad (30%).
Les Vergers du Mekong, through their brand Le Fruit has put in place multiple social and environmental responsibility projects:
- Pilot farms in agroecology: Since 2018, Les Vergers du Mékong have set up pilot model farms in Vietnam for tree production in agroecology. In partnership with farmers, these farms make it possible to experiment with soil cover techniques, agroforestry, agroecology, and organize farm visits to raise awareness and teach local producers, whether or not they are suppliers Les Vergers.
- Protection of rare varieties: The company is also committed to protecting varieties of fruit that are in danger because they are little cultivated. The partner producers of Les Vergers thus cultivate rare varieties used for their taste in certain recipes.
- GAP certification: Since 2018, Les Vergers du Mékong has been training their supplier producers in GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) specifications, which certifies a certain sustainability of agricultural practices. The objective is to eventually convert all partner producers to GAP practices.
- Production and distribution of compost: The processing site in Can Tho produces compost from the fruit waste produced. This organic compost is then redistributed to producers and replaces the chemical fertilization usually applied.
- Recycling of glass bottles and jars: The company collects Le Fruit glass bottles and jars used in 6 cities in Vietnam in order to reuse them.
- Energy and water management: At the Can Tho processing site, the water is heated by recovering the heat emitted by the cooling system. Wastewater is also treated to be reinjected into the system or used for agriculture.
Impact on rural communities:
- Direct relationship with producers and long-term contracts: Contracts with producers are established on the long term with the company, without intermediaries. This allows the producer a certain income security, and better traceability.
- Establishment of “The Fruit Home” centers: The company has created 3 centers in the Can Tho area for producers, allowing them to benefit from advice for their production, training, and to be used as a fruit collection platform.
Impact on health:
- The juices and jams produced have no certification but are produced organically, without GMOs. Production does not involve the use of chemicals. Processed products are produced without preservatives or artificial colors.
The WE TRACE application:Les Vergers du Mékong has been developing a mobile application since 2017 to follow and analyze farming practices. This application, called WE TRACE, will ultimately strengthen traceability using blockchain technology, and more effectively advise producers on the practices to have or change to improve the quality of harvested fruit.
The results of the CSR actions implemented by the company are multiple:
- In Vietnam, the company works with 2,000 small producers.
- Between 2017 and 2019, Les Vergers du Mékong planted in Vietnam: 15,000 guava trees, 6,000 calamondins.
- In 2018, more than 150 producers were trained in GAP sustainable farming practices and the use of the WE TRACE mobile application. 400 smartphones were distributed to farmers in 2018, the company aims to train nearly 4,000 producers by 2024.
- 240,000 tonnes of organic compost are produced and distributed per year.
- 18,000 glass bottles and jars were recycled and reused.
The Little Extra
Les Vergers du Mékong is the first Vietnamese company to obtain the “B-Certification”. The B Certification is awarded to companies that have high environmental and social performance, great transparency in their actions and a profit objective for the benefit of communities.
In 2018, they also received the first Sustainability Prize from EuroCham Vietnam.
The company is also working in Cambodia.
Last modification : 17 Apr 2020.
Les Vergers du Mékong
Les Vergers du Mekong, through their brand Le Fruit, lead various social and environmental responsibility projects to support local producers towards more sustainable practices.