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Agriculture centre devises farm, infrastructure-upgrade programme
15 | 10 | 2007
How can the centre operate more effectively, especially now that Viet Nam has joined World Trade Organisation?

Since the centre’s establishment, particularly after the Danish International Development Agency’s (Danida) agricultural development programme and the World Bank’s bird flu prevention project in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation, agriculture extension has improved substantially.

For example, instead of initially focusing on increasing output, it is more important to ensure three demands are met: environmental hygiene, biological safety and high quality products.

To do that, agriculture extension must comprehensively focus on information dissemination, training and education emphasising the breeding, feeding and nurturing processes.

Does that mean that we need an entirely modern infrastructure?

No, that isn’t necessary. Farmers are still poor, the demand for a modern infrastructure is currently impossible. The centre encourages farmers to build relatively modern production facilities far away from residential areas where they can meet health expectations and ensure animal pens meet technological demands.

As farmers’production becomes more effective, they will actively increase the scale of their facilities and utilise more modern equipment.

So infrastructure is the most necessary part of agriculture extension?

Yes, it is. Each area will submit their needs to the centre according to their conditions. Then we plan to hold training classes on technology and methodology to meet those needs.

The big difference is that we create documents based on farmers’ questions that we return to them throughout the process and let them resubmit until they feel their questions have been answered and their needs met.

This method creates an active dialogue between agriculture extension staff and farmers. It sounds basic but in fact it is integral to agriculture extension.

We also try to make documents more interesting to farmers by adding pictures, poems and other creative education methods.

Already, three provinces, Thai Binh, Thanh Hoa and Nghe An, have applied this method and produced really positive results with more than 1,000 people having received training.

With only three provinces benefiting from this method, what are your plans to help the numerous others?

We can’t always rely on foreign projects, therefore agriculture extension methods need to be actively explored and expanded to fulfil long-term needs.

The present difficulties are weak staff and the considerable ground we need to gain with most farmers.

The centre will solve these problems by co-operating with relevant agencies to push up agriculture development programmes and attracting more investment from both domestic and international resources.

The centre in the province of Quang Nam focuses on developing husbandry on a scale of over 10 animals. Farmers are learning how to build cages, successfully breed animals using industrial food and treat waste correctly.

The northern province of Ha Tay has increased their husbandry activities to 48 per cent of total agriculture and some districts such as Thach That and Quoc Oai have even reached 70 per cent.

Other provinces like Binh Dinh, Dong Nai, Binh Duong and HCM City also focus on husbandry as their main agricultural product.

The simple fact is that it is necessary to continue agriculture extension in Viet Nam. The centre is hard at work establishing and renewing documents, laws and programmes.

Reasonable policies and determined efforts will attract more and more community participation.

Source: Vietnam Economic News Online
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