Thach Giam is one of the poorest communes in Tuong Duong District, Nghe An Province, with most people being from ethnic groups living on unsustainable forest-based livelihoods. Their forest exploiting activities have gradually spoiled the forest vegetation, causing soil erosion and flash floods during the rainy season, and water shortages for irrigation during dry season.
Nghe An’s leaders considered it a critical need for the community living near the forest edge in the province to find a new model of sustainable livelihoods based on the local available potential. At the end of 2011, Vinh University in collaboration with Nghe An Province’s Center for Agriculture Promotion made the “Application of Scientific and Technological Progress to Safe Vegetable Production at Thach Giam Commune, Tuong Duong District” Project.
The safe vegetable production model was applied on a two-ha area and involved 25 farmer households. It focused on common vegetables such as tomatoes, cabbages, beans, garlic, cucumber, and spinach planted with rigorous technical processes, strict requirements on production conditions and product characteristics.
Participating households were equipped with water pipes, water storage tanks, sprinklers, seeds and seedlings, and fertilizers worth VND2 million per household. Agriculture promotion staff also came to each household to provide technical training guidance and goods-oriented vegetable production knowledge.
After almost two years of implementation of safe vegetable production model, the Thach Giam Safe Vegetable brand has become recognized by consumers across Vinh City. Currently, each sao of safe vegetable (1 sao=360sq.m) can yield an annual income from VND8-10 million, and local farmers are trying to replicate the model.
According Chairman of Tuong Duong District’s people’s Committee Nguyen Ho Canh, many farmer households involved in safe vegetable production have earned from several to ten million dong per sao. “The most important thing is that the model has offered local farmers sustainable livelihoods, reduced the pressure on forest resources, and ensured economic efficiency targets,” he said.
According to environmental experts, the safe vegetable model applied to Thach Giam Commune has created positive environmental effects, and is considered a good way to respond to climate change, helping reduce the pressure on forest exploitation and degradation. In addition, the model has also helped create more jobs for the local community, diversifying local produce, and improving local production techniques and technology.
The safe vegetable production models applied to Thach Giam Commune, Tuong Duong District, has opened new avenues for the local poor to increase their incomes and paved the way for production development associated with local favorable conditions./.
By Phuong Tam