In Vietnam, where some 55 percent of the labor force is involved in agriculture, traditional farming methods dominate the way small growers in the country work. Lacking access to technology and knowledge on how to protect their harvests, millions of farmers in Vietnam struggle with low yields.
To transfer skills and technology to Vietnam’s farmers, CropLife Vietnam is working closely with the Plant Protection Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on farmer training programs. In 2008, 1,505 growers of vegetables, fruit and tea in nine provinces benefited from training provided by the private-public partnership.
In the same period, 44 farmer field schools were established nationwide. Another 40,000 have learnt Good Agricultural Practices, including crop selection, fertilizer usage as well as the responsible use of pesticides, through mass media campaigns and TV contests for farmers.
These campaigns are highly effective in reaching farmers in remote areas, while being entertaining and educational.
CropLife Vietnam is concerned about the problems faced by rice farmers, many of whom are struggling to combat infestation of their crops by brown plant hoppers. This year, training has been expanded to include rice farmers in key growing areas. Vietnam is the world’s second-largest exporter of rice after Thailand.
Ngo Thi Nhieu, a 35-year-old farmer from Vietnam’s Dong Mai village in Bac Ninh province, used to struggle to produce enough from her 1-acre land to feed her family. Today, her family has enough to eat because she produces enough to sell what she grows and makes a comfortable living.
For the first time in 2005, Ngo learnt how to combat pest infestations on her rice and vegetable fields in a session conducted by the CropLife-MARD partnership. In the past, she used traditional farming methods her parents taught her.
Today, we are very much aware of food safety standards at home and around the world. We take great care in everything we do – from choosing the seed, to using fertilizer, water and pesticides properly. We are fully aware of the importance of food safety.
Training has made a big difference in Ngo’s life. She added, “Not only my family – but also my neighbors – we all have a better life.”
Visit www.croplifeasia.org to learn more about work towards sustainable agriculture across the Asia Pacific region.
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