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Australian project promotes sustainable livelihood for farmers

Farmers in Son La province have benefited from a safe vegetable production model initiated by the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). By applying new cultivation methods, many ethnic families have escaped from poverty and earned a good income.
Trained in safe vegetable production under ACIAR’s project “Improving livelihoods in Myanmar and Vietnam through vegetable value chains”, ethnic people in Van Ho district, Son La, are now using new cultivation methods which help raise their income from farming.

Dinh Thi Xoa, 61, was one of the first women in Van Ho to grow vegetables according to VietGAP standards after being trained by ACIAR’s project implemented in 2015 in Son La. Xoa spread her knowledge and skills learned from the training to other women and encouraged them to grow vegetables. She found that farmers in Van Ho earned very little from growing only one rice crop a year.

An ACIAR staff and reporters interview Vang A Sa, a Mong man in Bo Nhang village, Van Ho district.

The cabbage garden of Hang Trung vegetable cooperate 1 of Dinh Thi Xoa.

Farmers receive technical assistance from the project staff.

The safe vegetable production model is increasingly attracting farmers like Giang A Pao.

The seedlings include tomatoes and cabbage.

A vegetable growing diary is carefully recorded by farmers according to VietGAP standards.

In 2016, Xoa set up Hang Trung safe vegetable cooperative 1 and used the land for rice and maize cultivation for growing vegetables using VietGAP standards. The vegetables grown include cabbage, tomatoes and pumpkins.

After two years, the cooperative had 149 members who come from 10 villages of Moc Chau and Van Ho districts. Xoa’s cooperative produced 286 tons of certified safe vegetables in the first half of 2018, earning a net profit of 300 million dong (13,000 US dollars)/ha as compared with 120 million dong/ha earned by villagers outside the project.

Xoa’s cooperative has now changed its name to Van Ho safe vegetable cooperative whose vegetable quality is certified by the Agricultural, Forestry and Aquatic Product Quality Control Department of Son La province. Last year, Van Ho cooperative supplied over 230 tons of vegetables worth nearly 2 billion dong (roughly 87,000 US dollars) to Big C.

Like Van Ho cooperative, Bo Nhang safe vegetable cooperative 2 also receives technical support from the project to grow clean vegetables. In addition, the cooperative receives funds from the project to build a garden to produce vegetable varieties.

Bo Nhang cooperative was set up by Vang A Sa, a Mong man in Bo Nhang village, Van Ho district, and his two brothers. Before the project, Sa could not meet his family’s daily needs by doing traditional farming on a land area of 1,000m2.

Now, his cooperative is supplying 1,5-2 tons of vegetables to Big C, allowing its members, who are Mong ethnic people, to earn much higher income.

Vang A Sa’s family has improved their income through ACIAR’s project.

Vang A Sa takes care of seedlings at the garden funded by ACIAR.

Many families in Van Ho have increased their incomes from growing vegetables according to VietGAP standards.

Shannon Miskelly, an ACIAR staff studies Vang A Sa’s vegetable production startup.

Giang A Pao, a member of Bo Nhang cooperative, said before joining the cooperative, she earned only 10-15 million dong (450-650 US dollars)/year from growing rice and maize on an area of 5,000m2. Now, she grows three vegetable crops on only half of the area and earns 60-70 million dong/year.

“Improving livelihoods in Myanmar and Vietnam through vegetable value chains” aims to improve farmers’ income by developing sustainable and inclusive vegetable value chains in Vietnam and Myanmar.
In Vietnam, the project developed a channel for supplying vegetables farmers grew to modern retail markets in Hanoi. This project will make sure the new vegetable chains are reliable, inclusive, sustainable, and scalable.

Improving the livelihoods for rural and ethnic people is being implemented by many localities and international organizations. The model to help farmers produce safe vegetables supported by the Australian government through ACIAR’s project has largely benefited ethnic people in Son La.
By Khanh Long

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