Written: 1 August 2014

I just had my last day at CECAD, and I’m really sad.  But, before I talk about that, I want to share my thoughts about my final meeting with VECO.

All the talk of the meeting reminds of a “pre-production” process of making a film.  We are carefully planning an intervention (production stage) but first we need a lot of information.  We need specific details, statistics, view points from the people.


I’ve learned that development work is hard.  I’m at the point where I want to do no harm to my organization and its work.  Because I am not fully trained and educated in this area, I try to contribute to what I can with the information I know.

This is the same mindset that CECAD and VECO approaches their projects too.  There is a belief that we need full understanding of what we are working with.  VECO has a framework / template of some sort that asks tons of questions about our project site at Hoa Binh Province, Tan Lac Province.

Here are some questions that the “Pilot Selection Tool” asked:

  • What are the existing services that the farmers have access to (technical, BOD support, financial services, credit and organizational strengthening)?
  • What kind of policies are active in the region?
  • Are there economic incentives for innovation?
  • What is the infrastructure like?
  • Are there any regulations on the competitive?
  • To what degree are smallholders trained, organized, empowered to deliver quantity and quality in a consistent and cost efficient way, to meet the high expectations for food quantity, quality and safety?
  • Are farmers interested in organizing themselves more adequately for better access to market?  To what degree?
  • To what degree are farmers willing to bear greater risks and responsibilities?
  • What aspects of the [commodity value] chain are new/innovative in relation to the inclusiveness of smallholders? And does the innovation/idea meet a need or create a demand among people?
  • At what level (farmer, private company, chain, consumer level…) does this innovation and related up-scaling take place and who is involved?
  • What is the average year net income?
  • To what degree do farmers have influence in their political agenda?
  • How sustainable is the natural resource base used by the chain activities?
  • How are men and women involved in the chain and the decision making bodies?
  • How does the chain support local economies?
  • Is the pilot financially feasible regarding the requirements of VECO budget and capital demands of other chain actors?

These were just some of the questions that I had to help answer.  Some of these questions are pretty broad, but there were many more questions that asked for specific details and examples.  To fill out the form, I looked in official CECAD documents and worked with my coworker.

But, we know that we still need more information.  We would have to go into the field and talk to the local villagers and collect data.  Unfortunately, I will not be a part of that, but I am honored that I was a part of the beginning stages of the process of this new intervention and partnership with VECO.

I plan to keep in contact with CECAD members to stay updated on the progress.  I feel that the pre-production stage will take another month or so.

Over and out.

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