July 2015—Le Thi My Dung has a rice paddy of less than 1 hectare—almost equivalent to a football field—to support and feed her family. Until recently, although she and her children worked the field every day, her earnings from rice sales barely covered her costs. Her field only yielded about 4 tons of rice per hectare, less than other farmers' similarly sized fields that yielded around 7 or 8 tons.
Dung had been tempted to abandon farming until she attended the Farmer Field School program with the Vietnam Agricultural Extension Center and learned rice production practices that help reduce inputs, increase yields and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
These practices were introduced to the Long An province extension center by USAID’s Vietnam Forests and Deltas Program during the 2014 farming seasons. Dung learned how to develop internal drainage lines and favor conditions that lead to stronger and healthier rice plants such as rice paddy leveling. She also learned techniques for applying fertilizer and balancing nutrients based on the rice’s conditions and stage of plant growth.
“Before, I did not know how to balance the fertilizers. I applied fertilizer very often, especially when I saw my rice leaves were less green compared to the neighbor’s. Now I know too much fertilizers would not bring more yield but even can lead to rice disease. I do not look at the neighbor field anymore. I just do as what I learnt from the training,” says Dung. “And my neighbors were surprised at my crop’s good performance. They asked me how did I do it.”
Using the new practices introduced with USAID’s support, Dung has been able to double her rice yields to 9 tons per hectare and earn about $900 more than previous seasons. Other farmers who participated in training also found success—often a 23–25 percent increase in crop yields.
The Vietnam Forests and Deltas Program promotes rice production practices that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve livelihoods with Vietnam’s agricultural extension services. After the initial success in Long An with 30 farmers, the program expanded to include 130 additional farmers. Local authorities and associations are helping to increase the program’s impact by having trained farmers share their newly learned techniques at village meetings.
The five-year program, which began in late 2012, is expected to reach 400 farmers in its third year.
Last updated: November 08, 2016