On June 4, 2021, an internal workshop between the Institute for Circular Economy Development (ICED) and Kim Delta company was held to explore collaboration opportunities in applied research, especially in joint projects and publications.
The workshop was intended to be hosted at ICED office in Ho Chi Minh city. However, due to the Covid19 pandemic, it was changed to online mode.
For this workshop, ICED was represented by Assoc. Prof. Dr. NGUYEN Hong Quan – Director of ICED, Dr. LE Quang Dung, Dr. Dang Thuong Huyen, Dr. NGUYEN Kieu Lan Phuong, Dr. NGUYEN Minh Tu, Mr. BUI Le Thanh Khiet, Ms. TRAN Thi Diem Phuc, Mr. LE Ba Nhat Minh, and Mr. THACH Phuoc Hung while Kim Delta was represented by Mr. Steven STARMANS, Ms. NGUYEN Kim Thanh and Mr. NGUYEN Quang Loc.
In the workshop, ICED and Kim Delta discussed collaboration towards circular economy in relevant projects such as circular solar farming (CSF) in Hau Giang province and coffee farms in Dak Lak province. Each party pointed out issues related to agriculture and food production in the Mekong Delta, particularly Ms. Thanh noticed limited research on on-going situations about cooperatives, farmers, their children, and other stakeholders, Mr. Quan mentioned that “to cut off the cost along the supply chain or logistics activities, we need to find funding to support studies on the supply chain of the Mekong Delta. Thus, ICED is easier to obtain provincial and/ or national funds to carry out applied research”, meanwhile, Mr. Tú also shared about the difficulties of farmers in applying organic agriculture in the Mekong Delta because of many criteria to achieve the certification, such as long-time preparation, soil standards, water standards and so on.
Closing the workshop, both parties discussed future collaboration activities including applying joint research proposals and adding more input values to their potential projects, especially creating a concrete collaboration by sharing competences and visiting each other if possible. Kim Delta also invited ICED’s team to come to Can Tho city and visit the Interceptor of The Ocean Cleanup.
About Kim Delta
Kim Delta is a training and consultancy company in sustainable food value chains and based in Can Tho City, with geographical focus on Mekong Delta and Central Highlands. The Kim Delta T&C is founded by Ms. Nguyen Kim Thanh in 2010; Mr. Steven is a Dutch expert with more than 30 years of experience in tropical agriculture and project management, working as a director in the Kim Delta since 2019. Kim Delta’s vision is to help people in the Mekong Delta Region become more resilient against climate change. Focusing on not only training business and standards like Global G.A.P., Organic, ASC and business plans, but also applied research in the field of sustainability and resilience with the role of project management. Having a small team with 5 members but it has a high level of diversity from gender, age to personality and expertise.
|Welcome and Opening|
|10:00 – 10:10||Introduction ICED||Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Hong Quan – Director ICED|
|10:10 – 10:20||Introduction Kim Delta||Mr. Steven Starmans -Director Kim Delta|
|10:20 – 10:40||Introduction of each person, expertise, study location and interests*Each participant max 2 minutes to present him/herself||The ICED team|
|10:40 – 10:50||Introduction of each person, expertise, study location and interests*Each participant max 2 minutes to present him/herself||The Kim Delta team|
|Discussion – Circular Economy ways forward|
|10:50 – 11:10||Open discussion of added values of both organisations||All participants|
|11:10 – 11:15||One example from ICED where Kim Delta can join||Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Hong Quan|
|11:15 – 11:20||One example from Kim Delta where ICED can join||Mr. Steven Starmans|
|11:20 – 11:30||Next concrete action steps in the collaboration||Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Hong Quan & Mr. Steven Starmans|
|Closing the online workshop|
- Kim Delta: Steven Starmans, Ms. Nguyen Kim Thanh and Mr. Nguyen Quang Loc.
- ICED: Prof. Dr. Nguyen Hong Quan (Director), Dr. Dang Thuong Huyen, MSc. Le Ba Nhat Minh, MSc. Bui Thanh Khiet, Dr. Nguyen Kieu Lan Phương, MSc. Tran Thi Diem Phuc, Dr. Nguyen Minh Tu, MSc. Thach Phuoc Hung, Dr. Le Quang Dung.
1. Introduction of ICED – Dr. Nguyen Hong Quan (view presentation deck here):
- ICED shares about vision, expected outputs, governance structure and partnership with the national levels (Ministries, , Central Party), local provinces/ cities and Industry levels (Novaland, PRO VN, etc.), international collaboration, foreign Embassy in Vietnam.
- Four main thematic teams and their team leaders at ICED: urban and industrial areas – Dr. Nguyen Kieu Lan Phuong, bioeconomy (agriculture and food) – Dr. Nguyen Minh Tu, coastal areas and island – Dr. Le Quang Dung, and emerging topics such as renewable energy, particularly hydrogen – Dr. Tran Thien Khanh, plastics – MSc. Bui Le Thanh Khiet, Innovation – MSc. Le Ba Nhat Minh.
- Business models in circular economy: various scale – factory, company; industry; provincial, regional, country.
- Team: 10 people (6 PhD, 4 MSc) – inter-/trans-disciplinary groups.
2. Introduction of Kim Delta – Mr. Steven Starmans (view presentation deck here):
- Kim Delta is a training and consultancy company in sustainable food value chains. The Kim Delta T&C is founded by Ms. Nguyen Kim Thanh in 2010; Mr. Steven is a Dutch expert with more than 30 years of experience in tropical agriculture and project management, working as a director in the Kim Delta since 2019.
- Focusing on not only training business and standards like GlobalG.A.P., Organic, ASC and business plan, but also applied research in the field of sustainability and resilience with the role of project management.
- Vision: Helping people in the Mekong Delta Region become more resilient against climate change.
- A small team with 5 members, but it has a high level of diversity from gender, age to personality and expertise. The head office is in Can Tho city, with geographical focus on Mekong Delta and Central Highlands.
- 2020: CoopEnable;
- 2021: FIP Vung Tau;
- 2021: Circular Solar Farm (CSF), ICED was already included in the project proposal;
- 2021: Interceptor Waste Streams – Kim Delta payrolls Operation Manager for Ocean Cleanup; submitted study proposal on Sustainable River Waste Treatment in Can Tho, ICED was included;
- 2021: Let it Float, Let it Hold, Let it Grow – Floating platform made out of recycled plastics; new value chain, saline area & flooding area, ICED was included.
3. Introduction of Kim Delta and ICED members:
- Steven: from Nijmegen city in the Netherlands, obtained MSc. Tropical Agronomy conferred by Wageningen University, The Netherlands in 1991 – work experience: in Indonesia with a fruit farm and company; University of Applied Sciences in Netherlands – research group; worked for circular economy since 2014 and introduced this concept in Mekong Delta since 2016.
- Quang Loc: from Vinh Long province with his background as a biochemist, obtained MSc. Biological Science and Technology conferred by National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan, interests: organic farming, circular economy and waste transformation.
- Kim Thanh: from Ben Tre province with her background as a food engineer, obtained MSc. Agriculture Chain Management / Livestock chain conferred by Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands; her strengths are stakeholder engagement and technical barriers to trade.
- Phương: PhD in Taiwan (Environmental Science); interests: waste management and data analysis, AI, IoT, smart agriculture; head of urban and industrial circularity theme – nature-based solutions, agriculture in urban areas.
- Tú: PhD in Agriculture in Germany; head of bioeconomy in urban and rural areas
- Hùng: from Tra Vinh province, Master in Public Policy, background: construction field 10 years in Mekong Delta and Teaching Assistant at Fulbright University, at ICED: urban planning and agriculture economics specialist.
- Dũng: background in marine ecosystems, organisms; PhD in Japan; work experience in Malaysia – coral reef, pollutants through the food chain; head of coastal and islands circularity unit at ICED.
- Phúc: from Khanh Hoa province, MSc. Environmental Management in Singapore, interests: reverse logistics, environmental education and solid waste management.
- Minh: MSc. Supply chain management in Australia, interests: innovation in circular economy.
- Khiết: from HCMC; MSc. Environmental Sanitation in Belgium; interests: 10 years of eco-toxicity, plastics pollution research – marine litter, river plastic pollution; head of plastics circularity at ICED.
- Huyền: background: environmental geology, 2 years in Indonesia, PhD. Urban and Environmental Engineering in Japan; Lecturer at University of Technology – VNUHCM; Head of Scientific and Project Management; Interests: groundwater pollution and dynamics, product transforming – biochart.
- Quân: Key challenge for implementing the circular economy is how to bring farmers working together to increase added value of agriculture products, and how to cut off the middle men (or to reduce logistic cost) → collaboration with Kim Delta: cooperatives to connect farmers, final distributors.
- Thanh: So far, lacking research on on-going situations about cooperatives, farmers, their children and other stakeholders → suggestions: study on the situations, supply chain (where is the problem and interventions can make); World Bank did research about the loss along the supply chain. Should cut off the middle men who give farmers cash right after the harvest.
- Quân: In order to cut off the cost along the supply chain or logistics activities, we need to find fundings to support studies on the supply chain of the Mekong Delta. Thus, ICED is easier to obtain provincial and/ or national funds to carry out applied research. The government prefers to talk about strategy, but not study proposals. Meanwhile, Kim Delta is better to satisfy the private investor.
- Tú: Farmers don’t apply organic agriculture in Mekong Delta because of many criteria to achieve the certification, very long time, soil standards, water standards; for design of farming system, farmers have to build a zone between traditional farming system and the organic system; moreover, farmers cannot apply for themselves, should be at regional level; cost is high, for the first few years to change into organics farming, yield is lower than the traditional system; need to connect with other food supply chains → a lot of efforts and money.
5. Open Discussion
- Until now, many projects that Kim Delta is working and managing have included ICED.
- Quân: Côn Đảo project, Bình Thuận, Ninh Thuận provinces – negotiation with Novaland linking with fishery activities, coastal biodiversity, tourism. However, ICED has not identified the role of Kim Delta in their current and future projects.
- ICED can give inputs on Kim Delta’s project in fishery if needed although ICED has not been involved in any fishery projects yet. For example: the fishery sector can be linked to plastic issues, which is a big problem in Côn Đảo island. Mr Quân also shared about the meeting between him and the Rethinking Plastics organization, who is working with the Vietnam Association of Fishery. Also, many other areas related to fishery including monitoring, tracking, shipping, that ICED can connect with other Institutions who can support fishermen. Besides, ICED receives attention from the leaders of provinces, which is good opportunities for carrying out related projects.
6. One example from each party
Example from Kim Delta: “Circular Solar Farming” (CSF) in Hau Giang province: the company already has solar panels – 1.3 ha roof of Solar Panels. The investor wants to use land more efficiently for agricultural activities and include other communal activities.
- Challenges: polluted water and soil, salinization, water hyacinth block rivers, poverty, risks of more extreme weather like drought or flash floods.
- Opportunities: perfect sunlight, temperatures, rainfall, carals freed of water hyacinth, community benefits and be the first in the world. In other words, we are the pioneers in the CSF.
- Plan: Receive biomass materials for composting, vermicompost, making mushroom → go back to the circle system, electricity from the roof, water from the rooftop.
- Initial investment budget: 17.0 billion VND, yearly profit: around 620 million VND.
→ Opportunities for collaboration: ICED can make a study proposal, assess the situation, give practical solutions and add more expertise to the sustainable production.
- Quân: Agree with Kim Delta for making an interesting proposal bringing values. Comments: how can we optimize the process?
- ICED can work with Kim Delta and other parties to make the proposal and submit it to the Department of Science and Technology, which is more flexible than others.
- Apply for the research-based project – 1 billion VND
- When this project needs more science-based research and further development, we can apply for funding, e.g., the Ministry of Science and Technology.
- Moreover, Mr. Quân is a team member of a Task Force for developing a new second phase of the Mekong Delta National Research Program, which is funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology led by Vietnam National University. The first phase is going to finish by June 2021, Mr. Quân has finished his project in this phase; this phase has about 50 projects, averaging 5 billion VND for each project. The solar farm project fits well with the program and has potential to be accepted and get funding next year (5-10 billion VND).
- ICED can support in-kind contribution (traveling, reporting), e.g. water management, rainwater harvesting. ICED has one PhD on rainwater harvesting, who is also working on a proposal for Côn Đảo about rainwater harvesting. Another guy (Dr. Khánh) has a background in making biochar from biomass.
- Steven: funds from the company and provincial authorities eagerly support. Submit the project proposal today (June 04th 2021)
Example from ICED: Côn Đảo Project – an initiative between Secretary of Ba Ria Vung Tau province and Ministry of Science and Technology
- ICED will submit 2 research proposals for Côn Đảo: 1/ plastics; 2/ water management
- Côn Đảo project: How to mainstream the circular economy in the socio-economic development planning of Côn Đảo island?
- NutiFood project: proposal – 1,000 ha of coffee farm in Dak Lak province, need international trading. Kim Delta can provide training for farmers, supporting NutiFood like trading, etc., agriculture products which are grown at coffee farms together with coffee trees.
- ICED is making a proposal for An Giang province on the circular economy. Mr. Tú is working on the shrimp by-product sector, a potential paper with the Institute for Agricultural Policy and Strategy, which will be presented to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Kim Delta can join and contribute in-kind to this writing, if the Minister is interested in this proposal, we may have some projects after.
- Waiting for possible fundings from Bread of the World to ICED/Kim Delta
7. Next concrete action steps in the collaboration
- It is essential to share competencies with each other. Thus, all CVs and other suitable information (e.g., projects and organizations) should be uploaded into the shared folder.
- Kim Delta sincerely invites ICED’s team to come to Cantho city and then to visit the Interceptor of The Ocean Cleanup.