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Agricultural programme harvests improved life for Vietnamese farmers

by 5m Editor
29 March 2005, at 12:00am

HANOI - Bumper crops and millions of tonnes of agricultural products exported annually are major achievements after 10 years of the agricultural extension programme. The results have not only come from the great efforts of farmers across the country, but also from agricultural officials who play an active role in transferring technology to farmers and providing them with new methods to improve productivity. During the past 10 years, agricultural officials, from central to communal levels, have become close friends of farmers.

Agricultural programme harvests improved life for Vietnamese farmers - HANOI - Bumper crops and millions of tonnes of agricultural products exported annually are major achievements after 10 years of the agricultural extension programme. The results have not only come from the great efforts of farmers across the country, but also from agricultural officials who play an active role in transferring technology to farmers and providing them with new methods to improve productivity. During the past 10 years, agricultural officials, from central to communal levels, have become close friends of farmers.

Pig raising in northern Bac Ninh province

The agricultural extension programme focuses on three points: planting, cattle husbandry and poultry husbandry.

In terms of planting, the agricultural extension programme has co-operated with the food security programme to provide farmers with new strains of rice, maize and industrial crops. The programme to produce hybrid rice strain F1 and by-product rice strains has attracted the participation of more than 340,000 households from 39 provinces across the country.

The agricultural extension programme to develop maize has been carried out in most of the provinces, particularly in the northern, Central Highlands and south-eastern regions. The programme, covering an area of 12,000 hectares, has helped raise output productivity from 210 kilos to 320 kilos of maize per hectare. Thanks to the programme, Vietnam now can produce 25 percent of hybrid rice strain F1 and most maize strains, helping the country save US$20 million a year.

In addition, the agricultural extension programme has developed small projects to diversify agricultural products by planting long-time industrial crops, fruits, vegetables and flowers to improve farmers' income and provide products for export.

Nguyen Van Tue, director of the Bac Ninh province Agricultural Extension Centre, said many farmers in the province have built high-yield rice crops thanks to the programme.

Regarding cattle husbandry, the agricultural extension programme, through short training courses, has helped farmers gradually replace spontaneous raising practices with industrial raising practices.

Super-lean pig-raising has become a means of poverty reduction for many farmers. Thanks to assistance from the National Centre for Agricultural Extension, approximately 13,000 households from 40 provinces have raised 33,000 pigs for lean pork, making a profit of VND30 billion (US$1.9 million).

In addition, approximately 500,000 households are involved in a cow raising programme with assistance from nearly 6,000 veterinarians. The programme, carried out in the northern provinces of Lang Son, Ha Giang and Yen Bai, has helped farmers earn more than VND1,000 billion in revenue.

In terms of poultry husbandry, the programme has provided farmers with 650,000 new animal breeds, contributing to increasing the number of poultry herds in the area.

Programme subjects and new methods of production are constantly introduced to farmers through short training courses. After 10 years of operation, the National Centre for Agricultural Extension has organised 4,700 training courses for 250,000 farmers. The centre has published 4,500 bulletins, 120,000 books, 30,000 posters, 40 documentary films and 120 films on agricultural production.

Due to continuous efforts, agricultural workers have become a bridge linking scientific technological advances to farmers.

According to Dr Tong Khiem, director of the National Centre for Agricultural Extension, during the 2005-2010 period, Vietnam will further focus on technological transfer, increasing the agricultural extension programme for poverty reduction and extend beneficiaries from the programme to salt-makers, fishermen, State-farm workers, forest workers and collectives.

Source: Voice of Vietnam - 24th March 2005

5m Editor