Cargill, ASSIST unite to address water pollution in Mekong Delta

Both organizations have come together to launch Aqua Xanh, an initiative to reduce water pollution by promoting sustainable aqua farming practices in the Mekong Delta.

May 15, 2024

Cargill and Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) have come together to launch Aqua Xanh, an initiative to reduce water pollution by promoting sustainable aqua farming practices in the Mekong Delta.

Over two years, this initiative targets to build climate resilience in Ca Mau province, aligned with Cargill’s global sustainability goal of enabling water positive impact across its operations, supply chains and communities by 2030.

Climate change poses a serious threat to the Mekong Delta, with saline intrusion, unpredictable weather patterns, and prolonged droughts and floods. These challenges force unsustainable practices to compensate for lost yields, creating a vicious cycle. Water pollution emerges as a major consequence, posing grave threats to the aquaculture industry and jeopardizing the livelihoods of communities that depend on it.

The Aqua Xanh Project aims to address these challenges by promoting sustainable water and waste management practices in the region’s aquaculture industry. This includes capacity building for farmers through training and technical assistance on sustainable practices, following the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standards. The project will also establish demo aqua farms to conduct training and enable waste reduction, recycling, and plastic pollution monitoring. The collaborative efforts of Cargill, ASSIST, and Can Tho University (CTU), a key technical partner in the project who will oversee the project implementation, help tackle water pollution in the region and build a sustainable future for local communities.

Maxime Hilbert, country director, Cargill Aquaculture and Nutrition Vietnam, said that “Cargill is proud to collaborate on this transformative initiative, merging environmental stewardship with economic prosperity. By reducing water pollution and strengthening resilience to climate shifts, we're moving toward Cargill’s global goal of training and providing market access to over 10 million farmers by 2030. Through ASC standards training and improved access to sustainable inputs, we will empower farmers to achieve long-term sustainability and economic growth.”

“At ASSIST, we've been working on sustainable development challenges in Vietnam since 2007. For the Aqua Xanh Project, we're strong advocates for the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standard because of its focus on responsible practices, particularly in water quality and waste management. We are empowering Mekong Delta farmers and safeguarding the environment for future generations," said Aru David, regional director, ASSIST Vietnam.

“As a key technical partner in the Aqua Xanh Project, Can Tho University looks forward to collaborating and committing to providing our expertise in aquaculture and environmental science to achieve the project requirements. By working closely with Cargill, ASSIST, and local communities, this project has the potential to establish a new paradigm for responsible aquaculture in the Mekong Delta,” shared Assoc. Prof. Pham Thanh Liem, Head of Faculty of Aquaculture Technology, Can Tho University.

Running from May 2024 to July 2026, the Aqua Xanh Project is piloted in Ca Mau province before expanding to other regions. Ca Mau boasts the largest shrimp farming area in the country, approximately 280,000 hectares, according to Vietnam News Agency. The project will concentrate on shrimp farms here and positively impact the extensive shrimp farming area in the province.

The project has set out with the objective of training over 300 aqua farmers on ASC requirements, input feed management, waste management, and biodiversity practices, with ten champions becoming trainers. One farmer cooperative will seek ASC certification, while three demo farms aim to achieve 30% less wastewater volume and 20% lower nitrogen and phosphorus levels by 2025. Additionally, the project will also reach over 1,000 community members to build environmental awareness and help achieve its goal of creating a climate-resilient aquaculture industry in Vietnam.