Achievements from the 2011-12 Annual Report
Research to establish an industry centred around the culture of molluscs has had ongoing success. Restaurants in the coastal tourist areas of Qaung Ninh and Hai Phong provinces have enthusiastically accepted ‘milky oysters’ (Hau Sua) and are promoting the new product. Oyster production has continued to increase rapidly, and over 1,500 people are now fully employed in the oyster industry. Poor coastal communities are seeing the benefits of oyster faming and enthusiastically embracing the opportunity. Money from oyster farming has enabled diversification into other types of farming, and provided jobs including casual seasonal jobs and opportunities for younger people.
A project to encourage the emergence of profitable beef enterprises in north-western Vietnam has completed initial assessments. The technical and marketing teams have identified constraints to the beef industry including a winter feed deficit, varied and inconsistent supply, a market price for small farmers set by downstream buyers and no traceability for domestic beef. However, they also identified a number of current advantages. They found that farmers consider cattle production advantageous in building wealth, and that there is increased demand due to recognition of traditional practices and production quality in the study area. The local authority has an open policy to investors, and customers are willing to pay a premium for traceability.
A recently completed project sought proof that an inoculant of ‘free-living’ microorganisms to crops would enhance plant growth and yield. Studies of an inoculant product ‘Biogro’ with and without the application of nitrogen fertiliser showed that plant growth promotion and improved grain yields could be gained with normal nitrogen fertiliser application plus ‘BioGro’, or that BioGro could substitute up to half the applied urea without loss of yield. There are now over 150 farmers directly acting as ‘champions’ for the use of inoculant biofertilisers, while around 1,000 new farmers have been exposed to the knowledge generated. The most recent data from the participatory field trials indicate that over 80% of the farmers using BioGro increased yields by over 5% and lifted income by an average of 8%.