Greetings from Vietnam! My name is Nguyen Trang, a 34-year-old Vietnamese woman leader. I am a development practitioner for rural development.
Supporting local farmers, especially small-scale farmers and poor people, to develop crop and livestock production in a sustainable way that is responsive to climate change has driven my work and passion over the past years. To pursue my dream, I have established a non-governmental organization called Centre for Supporting Green Development (GreenHub).
Through this organization, I have been able to study the application of science and technology in the agricultural sector and lead discussion on adaptive practices to climate change within my country.
Vietnam is an agricultural country. In order to remain food secure in a small country with a population of more than 89.7 million (2011 estimate), the government has set targets for production of 24 million pigs, 4.2 million cattle and 297 million chickens and ducks.
Along with husbandry development comes high pressure on waste management. There is about 60 million tons of animal husbandry waste that is either used for fertilizer, fish feed, or discarded directly onto the environment without treatment. Husbandry waste without treatment potentially causes infectious diseases and other factors that can pollute the environment.
Furthermore, husbandry waste is smelly and includes mixtures of gases like NH3, H2S, etc., which produce a rotten egg smell. Methane (CH4) and CO2 gases, also produced by livestock waste, cause the greenhouse effect. Can you imagine that methane gas was estimated to impact global warming 26 times more than CO2?
When I was a small girl, I liked spending my vacation in the countryside. There, I had the chance to be more exposed to nature and play traditional games that cannot be found in urban areas. It could have been even more amazing if I did not have to suffer the unpleasant smells of pig manure whenever strong winds blew through.
During my working time with local farmers involving uncountable field trips, I have always been concerned about the fact that farmers have to breathe polluted air day by day. There is a critical need for local people to apply science and technology to traditional agricultural practices to ensure sustainability and pollution reduction from livestock waste.
Promoting eco-friendly farming by applying biological pads is an initiative that aims to promote environmentally friendly agricultural practices that are more adaptive to climate change. My project aims to apply bio-pads in husbandry in general and specifically pig husbandry in Thai Binh, one of the provinces in the Red River Delta of Vietnam.
This is a proper solution for famers in the agricultural sector in Vietnam, falling under Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) #1 and # 13.
I want to help local farmers to use the biological pad for pig rising. This model is simple to carry out and the materials used for padding are inexpensive (sawdust, rice husk, wood chips, and bagasse).
Bio-pads reduce production costs by saving labour, as animals don’t have to be bathed and farm cages don’t have to be washed. They reduce food losses for animals and end the transmission of smell from waste into the environment. They also enhance resistance to disease and increase the quality of husbandry products.
This initiative intends to involve more than 1000 farmers and other stakeholders in capacity building activities for improved extension and production of agriculture.
The initiative has two important phases:
- Awareness and promotion of practices applying science and technology to traditional agricultural practices using. Use biological pad (Bio-pad) models for at least 20% of the selected site population, totalling around 1000 local people, through local meet-ups, seminars, workshops, and local media).
- Demonstration on a larger scale of bio-pads for improved farming technology and better farming strategies for poor farmer households.
In implementing this initiative, we have started Phase I (from October 2015 to April 2016), developing the background of the local area and recruiting those willing to participate in the project from the local authorities. We have selected 10 representatives of local farmers from the Farmer Union to be trainees for the bio-pads Training of Trainers (ToT) activity.
“I found that using bio-pads is a good practice that should apply to small-scale farmers. Since I started using this technology I have seen nearly 80% in savings of the amount of water and time of caring for pigs because daily pig bathing and cleaning cages are not necessary. I have started encouraging other households to also take this approach to raising pigs.” – Mr. Ha, 45 year-old-farmer in Thai Binh province, spoken at ToT training.
We expect to go to phase II from April to December 2016. This phase is for developing farm training, giving guidance for farmers by demonstrating technology and better farming strategies using bio-pads. We will also petition local governments for replication of the demonstrations.
In order to target a large proportion of local farmers (50% of households), diversified tools and communication channels will be used to widen the impact of the project to many local people, including training documents, communication publications, contests, and local radio.
I am going to use social media such as Facebook for wider sharing of project results and making linkages to other effective communication tools at the district and provincial level, including the whole Red River Delta region.
If I am granted this sum of $5000, it will cover the additional activities at a larger scale, building leadership capacity and advocating for local government as a good option to adapt to climate change and avoid environmental pollution from livestock waste.
The proposed activities to be added include a contest about bio-pads to provide basic information and share experiences and dialogues on applying bio-pads. We will also coordinate learning among members of the Farmer Union and the local government.
Training and second TOT for local farmers: $870
Demonstrations of bio-pads for scaling up to poor farmers: $1705
Contest about bio pads to communicate good practices: $1005
Broadcast via local radio: $360
Documentation and dialogues with local government: $1060
We will measure our success through seeing an increase in the number of local farmers taking an interest in and applying bio pads into their animal husbandry (pig, chicken) practices. We will also measure success by the commitment of the local government to scaling up the practices in order to ensure a long-lasting initiative.
I am confident that this initiative will be completed within a year and results could be seen soon, with sound and multiplicative effects that are replicable widely for other provinces in Vietnam. In addition, implementing this initiative will contribute to women’s leadership development for me and my colleagues.
We are a community of doers and learners distinguished by a passion and perspective. With the focus of sustainable agriculture and education at a large scale, GreenHub and I also encourage communities in Vietnam to thrive sustainably. Join this initiative together!
Blogpost and picture submitted by Trang Nguyen (Thai Binh, Vietnam) – nguyentrang1512[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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