A programme that provides farmers with technology and seedlings has pulled rural communities, such as Thanh Hoa Province’s Quy Loc Commune, out of poverty.
A co-operative effort between the Crop and Foodstuff Institute and the Viet Nam Science and Technology Association Union, the programme was initiated in 1999 to create higher quality agricultural products by donating quality seed and improving soil, which can lead to better crop yields, especially in orchards, said Nguyen Tan Hinh, director of the Institute.
The institute has implemented the programme in nine co-operatives over the last five years. Training courses have given technology and modern methods to more than 8,000 farmers.
The programme’s effect on the Quy Loc Commune, the Institute’s pilot community for the programme—formerly known as the Yen Dinh District, is a higher standard of living; the economy started getting better in 2000, when the programme began.
The plan turned 25ha into a farm and allotted 0.5ha of land to households to raise livestock, fish and fruit. The institute helped cross-breed Vietnamese cows with Sind cows and provided feed for the calves.
"The programme does not subsidise farmers or do the work for them," said Le Phi Thuong, the deputy chairman of Quy Loc Commune People’s Committee.
"It provides money for technical training to aid farmers applying science in production." The commune currently has 155 farms, each earning between VND30 -100 million (US$1,910-$6,370) per year. Presently, the commune averages a per capita annual income of VND5.3 million.
Meanwhile, in Hai Duong Province, the institute has helped farmers in the Gia Luong co-operative to cultivate ineffective rice growing areas into fish farms and orchards, as well as to produce a strong rice seedling that meets local demand.
Hinh reported that while shifting the economic structure of these areas with aqua culture, soil enrichment and higher yields, the programme is proving effective, and that it is possible, and would be beneficial, to expand the model to other co-operatives.
VNS - (11/10/2004)