For a long time in history, people living in rural areas have survived on subsistence farming, with little of their produce left over for sale or profit. In addition, outdated and rudimentary farming techniques have put enormous physical demands on every member of the family.
ChildFund Vietnam is working in partnership with rural communities to improve farming techniques and build greater food security, and develop sustainable livelihoods for whole communities.
Da is a thirty-year-old woman with bright eyes and an optimistic outlook. After getting married, she moved to Luc Binh commune in 2010 and now has a family of four, including her husband, her sixty-year-old mother in law and her young son.
Besides planting veggy, Da also invests in sow breeding.
Like many other farming households in the commune, Da’s family have faced many difficulties in trying to generate an income. The low rice yield produced by two annual crops, from a field of just 1,000 square metres, was not enough even for her family consumption needs.
In 2011, Da joined the village women’s union. She attended training supported by ChildFund Vietnam and learned about improved rice cultivation techniques, and planting maize as a third harvest between rice crops. She decided to borrow money from the savings and credit scheme to buy pigs and chickens, and also began to grow mushrooms, mandarins and oranges to diversify her income sources. As a result, her monthly income increased significantly to about US$130 in 2012. Now Da could afford all of her family’s living expenses.
In December 2015, ChildFund began implementing the Road for Youth project in Bach Thong district. This project helps local people to self-manage their household economy and contribute to community development by developing their own production and business ideas.
Da, with five other members, established a small business group to produce vegetables. She explains why: “Nowadays, many people prefer eating vegetables to meat to ensure their healthy diet. I wanted to make the most of this opportunity.”
With five other members, Da formed a collective group to produce vegetables.
Da’s group were trained in production chains, analysing market demands and using available resources. They built a water pipeline system from the stream to each member’s household so the crops could be watered. They also learnt about disease prevention. ChildFund also provided them with vegetable seedlings and farming equipment, and they now have agricultural experts visit them to provide further advice on growth monitoring methods.
After nine months of producing vegetables, the very first fruits of tomatoes, kohlrabi, cabbage, green beans and cucumber were sold at the local market.
“We are very happy with this first success! With all our efforts, we want to expand the scale of production, attract more people to the group and diversifying into other types of vegetables in the future,” shares Huong, a group member
“The income gained from producing these new vegetables is three times higher than cultivating rice and maize – US$500 compared to US$150 in the same land,” says Da.