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The development of Ecological Agricultrure model: A new opportunity for farmers in Quang Nam province

The Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agricultural and Rural Development conducted a field survey from July 10 to July 15, 2023 in Quang Nam province to study about the situation of ecological agriculture development and the direction in the agricultural development of the province in the coming time. The survey has gathered information and data for the national research on "The development of ecological agriculture: A case study in Viet Nam" under the regional project "Network for Agriculture and Rural Development Think-tanks for Countries in Mekong sub-region (NARDT)” funded by IFAD.

At the meeting with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Quang Nam province, local leaders expressed their interest in the direction and potential for the development of ecological agriculture in the province. Quang Nam is a coastal province with diverse terrain and weather, so plants and animals are very diverse and favorable for developing ecological agriculture. In addition, the province also has many orientations and policies supporting the development of ecological agriculture. On April 14, 2021, the Quang Nam Provincial Committee of the Party issued Conclusion 91/KL-TU on the sustainable development of agriculture and rural areas associated with building new rural areas in Quang Nam province in the period 2021 - 2025 and orientation to 2030. On January 11, 2022, the People's Committee of Quang Nam province issued Decision 101/QD-UBND on the implementation plan of Conclusion 91/KL-TU. In addition, on March 15, the Provincial People's Committee also issued a plan to implement Program No. 20 dated October 31, 2022 of the Provincial Committee of the Party on implementing Resolution No. 19 dated June 16, 2022 of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Viet Nam (term XIII) on agriculture, farmers and rural area development to 2030 and vision to 2045. The plan sets out several tasks and solutions for the province in the forthcoming period, including promoting ecological agriculture following a modern and sustainable direction.

In addition to the discussion on policy mechanisms and future directions, the research team also learned more about some outstanding ecological agriculture models in Quang Nam province. Accordingly, nature-based agricultural models are given priority for development because they bring sustainable livelihoods to farming households while still promoting value, ensuring biodiversity, and using natural resources effectively. One of the outstanding models should be mentioned is the Hat Dau farm in Dien Tho commune, Dien Ban town.

Hat Dau farm was developed by Mr Le Mai Vien, an information technology engineer but having a passion for agriculture. This farm has an area of about 3.5 hectares divided into many different areas such as rice growing area, fruit trees (jackfruit, mango, guava, banana, and short-term crops), livestock farming area, mushroom growing area. Crops are arranged in different canopy layers to make the most of the area as well as take advantage of the reciprocity between tree species in the same ecosystem. In addition to the cultivating area, the farm also has a separate area for making composts and a biological buffer zone with a ditch system of about 3 meters to maintain the groundwater level on the farm while preventing penetration from outside. Because the farm's products are produced following to sustainable standards, without the use of chemicals, the products are of high quality and safe for consumers' health. Therefore, agricultural products from Hat Dau farm often have higher prices compared to other products in the market.

Photo. Organic fertilizer area at Hat Dau farm

Meanwhile, growing medicinal plants under the forest canopy, for example Ngoc Linh Ginseng, is the prioritized model in the mountainous areas. This model not only brings high economic benefits, creates livelihoods for farmers, but also contributes to forest protection, preserving natural biodiversity and avoiding unplanned forest exploitation.

Photo. IPSARD’s research team visited the model of growing Ngoc Linh Ginseng under forest canopy at Tak Ngo Cooperative, Tra Linh, Nam Tra My district, Quang Nam province.

It is clear from this that ecological agriculture models have benefited society and the environment in many ways, encouraging natural processes and advancing the growth of an efficient and sustainable agricultural sector. However, in order to replicate the model across the provinces, it requires public measures on the propaganda of the effectiveness and meaning of these models and overall policies that create conducive conditions for land rental and capital lending. Local departments must assist in resolving issues with capital and land as well as provide direction on production procedures.