25/12/2020 18:28 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

The woman who improves farmers' lives

As the first Vietnamese to hold the position of Country Manager of Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) in Vietnam, Nguyen Thi Thanh An is a pioneer in promoting Australian agricultural knowledge and technology to improve the livelihoods of Vietnamese farmers.
Thanh An began working for the government of Australia in 2004 as a public relations manager for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of the Australian Embassy in Hanoi.

While working with the DFAT, Thanh An found that Vietnamese and Australian scientists in the framework of the ACIAR program made useful contributions to improving the livelihoods of Vietnamese farmers. With this discovery, Thanh An decided to apply for a position with ACIAR. She has been with the organization since the end of 2007.

Noticing the agricultural potential in Moc Chau, ACIAR decided that the northwest region of Vietnam would become a priority development area in 2008. ACIAR succeeded in implementing several projects developing organic vegetable growing areas in Moc Chau.



Nguyen Thi Thanh An is the first Vietnamese to hold the position of Country Manager of Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) in Vietnam.

Nguyen Thi Thanh An and ACIAR staff on a field trip to Lao Cai.

After going on field trips, Nguyen Thi Thanh An began to understand the personalities of the locals as
well as the difficulties that Vietnamese farmers faced.



Nguyen Thi Thanh An and ACIAR CEO, Professor Andrew Campbell (top left) and colleagues during a
field trip to the Central Highlands in 2019.

 

"The climate is favorable; the people are hard-working, so we question why it is impossible to develop this place into a second Da Lat", Thanh An told about the first days of the research project “Off-season Vegetables” in Moc Chau and Van Ho districts, Son La province. After going on field trips with Vietnamese farmers, the country manager of ACIAR began to understand the personalities of the locals as well as the difficulties that Vietnamese farmers faced. "We need to do something for them," said Thanh An.

The "Off-season Vegetables" is just one of nearly 200 projects that ACIAR has implemented across the country in the past 27 years in different fields of agriculture. These include agricultural economics, cultivation, cattle breeding, soil management, and crop nutrition as well as the training of the local farmers.
ACIAR has contributed to providing Vietnamese farmers with what they lack, including technology information, ideas, and marketing opportunities. The project of “Off-season Vegetables” is a typical example. Seeing that the climate in this area was favorable and off-season vegetables could be grown, ACIAR opened up opportunities for the people living there.

With the efforts of ACIAR and its partners, farmers participating in the project are now much more confident using the techniques of growing vegetables safely. Actively connected to the market, the locals have incomes that have increased 7 to 10 times compared to just growing rice and maize.

Talking about the achievement of her career at ACIAR, Thanh An said: “What I remember the most is the time when I, with scientists and policy makers from Vietnam and Australia, built a 10-year strategy for comprehensive cooperation  in agricultural research. This strategy has been developed through a thorough consultation and has reflected the needs of research and development in each different region”.

As Australia and Vietnam have established a level of strategic partnership, agriculture is one of the priorities for cooperation. This is an opportunity as well as a big challenge for Thanh An and her colleagues. "My biggest wish is for ACIAR to better meet the needs of sustainable development of Vietnam's agriculture and contribute to improving the lives of farmers", Thanh An said.

 

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the Vietnamese delegation posed for a photo at ACIAR's booth in Australia in 2018.

Nguyen Thi Thanh An is a pioneer in promoting Australian agricultural knowledge and technology to improve the livelihoods of Vietnamese farmers.

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie and Nguyen Thi Thanh An at the office of The Vietnam Ministry of Science and Technology. 


Nguyen Thi Thanh An is awarded a medal by the Governor-General of Australia for her contribution to the partnership in agriculture between the two countries.


Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie, Nguyen Thi Thanh An and Dr. Nguyen Van Bo discuss about Vietnam's agriculture sector.


Nguyen Thi Thanh An and her colleagues who are working for ACIAR in different countries.
 
In July, Nguyen Thi Thanh An was awarded a medal by the Governor-General of Australia for her contribution to the partnership in agriculture between the two countries.

 
 
Story: Thao Vy  -   Photos: Viet Cuong & files