Frontier Co-op, Sustainable Food Group and Pacific Basin Partnership have partnered on a three-year project to transition 75 black pepper growers in Central Vietnam to more sustainable farming methods.
The Black Pepper (piper nigrum) is not native to Vietnam, but it grows well there. In the 1990s, economic reforms in Vietnam boosted pepper production and exports. Now, Vietnam has become the world’s top black pepper exporter. While this has helped many lower-class Vietnamese farmers, the rapid growth has also created many issues. Due to compensating for market demands, farmers have been using unsustainable cultivation methods and overusing pesticides. Frontier and Pacific Basin Partnership have been working together for the past 10 years to promote clean black pepper farming practices.
Frontier Co-op, Sustainable Food Group and Pacific Basin Partnership have been working with Vietnamese black pepper farmers since 2019 on improving soil sustainability, optimizing food safety, and adopting organic and integrated pest management (IPM) practices. These practices result in safer methods for farmers, reduced environmental impact, and an opportunity for small-scale farmers to increase their income with premium prices for the organic and clean black pepper.
Sustainable Food Group was happy to help farmers specifically with analyzing pests, reducing pesticide risk and implementing IPM practices.
The Outcome (updated January 2020):
The goal of the partnership is to transition 150 growers in Central Vietnam to organic or low-impact farming. To date, 75 black pepper farmers have successfully transitioned to organic already!