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Outcome 1: Smallholders supplying rubberwood to VRA members have the capacity to comply with the VNTLAS requirements
Activities 1.1: A national assessment of rubberwood producers and mills in Viet Nam
A comprehensive assessment of the rubber-wood sector in Viet Nam was conducted to obtain a good understanding of areas of plantation, type of land, ages of plantations, socioeconomic status of rubber plantation owners (e.g. big companies or households). A desk study was carried out to get a national overview of the state of rubber plantations and mills in Viet Nam followed by more in-depth field surveys in Tay Ninh and Binh Duong provinces, where some 100 household producers are engaged in the management of 2,500 ha of rubber plantations. Field surveys also verified findings from desk review and through interviews with local stakeholders. The assessment also included cooperation/linkage among households (e.g. a group of households) and/or with other actors along the selected supply chains.
Activity 1.2: An assessment of compliance against the VNTLAS requirements along the two selected rubber-wood supply chains
The assessment focused on Tay Ninh and Binh Duong provinces, where some 100 household producers are engaged in the management of 2,500 ha of rubber plantations. First, a national expert carried out a review of VNTLAS requirements for smallholder rubber producers as well as describe the various documents, records, receipts, certificates that are required to prove the legal origin of timber by rubber-wood producers. Then, a participatory supply chain mapping of the two selected VRA members was carried out to identify all suppliers to these two mills, which might include smallholder rubberwood producers as well as traders who buy rubberwood from smallholding plantations.
The expert assessed all actors along the two selected supply chains (suppliers up to the mills) against the VNTLAS requirements to identify compliance, gaps in non-compliance and critical points for non-compliance. The expert also explored options to facilitate VNTLAS uptake by smallholders and provide clear and contrite recommendations in the report. Field surveys were conducted along these two selected supply chains to verify the desk review’s findings to obtain feedback and consultation with relevant stakeholders.
The rubberwood supply chain of state-owned companies has the advantage of a specific and large-scale rubberwood harvest plan, with stable quality thanks to well-tended plantations. In particular, those companies have business operating procedures and records management systems that help shorten the chain links and trace the origin through valid documents and certifications. In the case of smallholding rubberwood procurement, their purchasing team makes the process transparent and clear, which is a favourable condition for state-owned enterprises when complying with VNTLAS regulations.
Meanwhile, private rubberwood processing enterprises tend to have difficulties meeting the requirements of VNTLAS. They often lack information about the law provisions mainly, have never known about Decree No. 102/2020/ND-CP. In addition, due to limited capital and weak competitiveness, private enterprises often purchase most raw rubberwood through traders who collect from smallholding households with small areas and inconsistent quality. Besides, the clearing process is usually done spontaneously, without legal documents, because it goes through many intermediaries before reaching the wood processing factory. The survey shows that timber trading is generally done between smallholders and traders through oral agreements with cash transactions, and no certifications are required for legal timber origin. Only a few smallholding households are asked to verify the area through the Certificate of Land Use Right issued by the People's Committee of the Ward or Commune, which is difficult for the supply chain to meet VNTLAS compliance. In addition, through meetings with Forest Protection Departments - a link that plays a role in the implementation of VNTLAS - in the area, the project also recognized many obstacles in implementing Decree 102 due to the lack of guidelines for conducting verification procedures before exporting rubberwood.
Outcome 2: A standardised Legal Timber Dossier for the Viet Nam rubberwood Sector is developed
Activity: Development of the Legal Timber Dossier for the rubberwood sector
The development of the Legal Timber Dossier first involved extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders who have experience in the development of the Legal Timber Dossier for the wood sector. The project facilitated discussions with key actors of the selected supply chains to develop a set of legal timber dossiers for different rubberwood actors along the supply chain. The project also consulted with the HAWA DDS project to identify other basic requirements (termed Basic Docs) that timber processing enterprises or traders generally require from small-scale rubber-wood producers in order to demonstrate the legal origin of timber. The project also consulted with VIFORA and FEREC (VAFS), both engaged in FAO funded projects promoting VNTLAS awareness and compliance among smallholder timber producers as well as with VNFOREST to ensure that the proposed Dossier is in line with the VNTLAS requirements.
Outcome 3: VRA has the capacity to support its members with smallholder-based supply chains to meet VNTLAS requirements
Activity: Develop a Guidebook on VNTLAS requirements for smallholding rubberwood producers with guidance for VRA
Based on the findings in Outcomes 1 & 2 and building on similar documents developed by VIFORA, FEREC/VAFS and others, the Project created a Guidebook that contains the basic VNTLAS requirements (Annex II/Principle I/Criterion 8; and Supply chain control requirements) targeted at smallholding rubberwood producers and other intermediaries along the supply chains. The Guidebook also contained a chapter for VRA members with smallholder-based supply chains – this chapter will cover the guidance for such members on how to support smallholder rubber-wood producers to meet the legal requirements of the VNTLAS in order to encourage trade with smallholder producers.

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