Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Organic Vietnam

I've just arrived in Hanoi and am traveling around Vietnam to get a sense for the agricultural scene  and to see where organic fits in and how it is going. Essentially I have been planning this as a vacation with an eye to the soil and farms. 

So far my impression is that Vietnamese farmers (and all  agricultural actors) are in need of knowledge and fresh ideas about  how to create a sustainable and safe agricultural supply. The farmers I have met are relying on chemicals but do not trust them and the  consumers I have met want to buy safe food but cannot find it. The local Vietnamese NGOs I have met with do not have a clear vision for the  kind of work that they want to do so they are waiting for donor  funding and jumping from project to project (worm castings in one  province and NTFP in another), more or less completely ineffective for  the whole farm system and commodity chain. 

The ADDA project seems to be making real changes on the ground and could be developed more. 

Keeping in mind the social, ecological and economic aspects  of the whole commodity chain. I'd like to spend some time with the  farmers, on the ground, and see how the farms are being run. - The  socialist system of agriculture calls for communal farming and  prescribes a crop per region. Driving by motorbike on the dirt roads through the countryside one can find whole regions of tomatoes and elsewhere whole regions of corn.  - It is clear that a diverse cropping system with utilization of organic matter for inputs and a spreading of  knowledge for pest management and crop rotations would make a world of  difference here.
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