The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) conducted its first online benchmarking activity with Vietnam’s Southern Horticultural Research Institute (SOFRI) on July 2, 2020.
Originally scheduled as a physical activity in Vietnam in April this year, the benchmarking activity was instead done online via Skype.
The activity aimed to understand the performance and strategies in developing the industry for underutilized fruits in Vietnam. Specifically, the activity aims to achieve a better understanding of the commodity industries for guava, soursop, sugar apple and tamarind; get more detailed information on management practices of Vietnam; know more about R&D strategies related to management practices, equipment/machines used in processing, packaging and marketing; and identify business and product development opportunities for the underutilized fruits.
SOFRI was able to share with the project team their practices in terms of production and management, R&D strategies, and product development opportunities for the four underutilized fruits.
Among the significant insights during the benchmarking activity are the following: (1) guava, soursop, sugar apple and tamarind are also considered as underutilized or minor fruits in Vietnam, (2) Vietnam and Philippines also experience the same pest infestation for the four underutilized fruits; (e.g. fruit flies, nematodes, mealybugs etc.), 3) guava, soursop, sugar apple, and tamarind are consumed mostly as fresh fruits in Vietnam; 4) the four commodities have great potential to be processed into various value-adding products (e.g. jams, wines, concentrates, tea, candies, ice creams) in both countries; and 5) both countries are focused on flourishing the local fruit industry to be globally competitive.
The benchmarking is one of the major activities of the project, “Rapid Market Appraisal (RMA) for the Underutilized Fruits (Guava, Soursop, Sugar Apple, and Tamarind in the Philippines” that is being implemented by the Socio-Economics Research Division (SERD) of PCAARRD. The project is led by SERD Director Ernesto O. Brown and its project team members composed of Ms. Princess Alma B. Ani, Ms. Annette M. Tobias, Mr. Ian Bernard M. Ines, Ms. Tessa Lyrene DC. Lantican, Ms. Rocel Antonnete M. Peñamora, Ms. Paula Mari M. Legaspi, and Mr. Vincent C. Fernandez of the same division.
After the online benchmarking, SOFRI Vietnam and SERD look forward to open more collaboration opportunities that will highlight the importance of developing the market potential of the fruit industry towards food security and empowerment of dietary diversity.