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Going organic will help boost export growth: experts
30 | 10 | 2007
The wide use of organic farming will not only protect people’s health and the environment, but also boost the country’s exports since such a move will help farmers better meet international food and environmental safety standards, said experts in the country’s agricultural industry.

More than 300 scientists, agricultural managers and farmers from HCM City and southern provinces gathered in the city yesterday to discuss the use of organic products and the sustainable development of the domestic agricultural sector.

Leading experts gave presentations on the importance of the use of organic products in agricultural production, particularly micro-organism fertilizers, and Viet Nam’s current agricultural practices.

"Organic agriculture has many benefits for farmers," said Dr Duong Van Chin, deputy director of the Mekong Rice Research Institute.

"The use of organic substances will make farm lands more fertile and improve the health of land. Additionally, it can restore eroded land and increase its productivity," Chin said.

"With organic agriculture, we can take advantage of local natural resources. This is of great significance, particularly for poor farmers who do not have the financial resources to buy hybrids, fertilizers and agricultural pharmaceuticals," he said.

"Organic agriculture also avoids the use of pesticides, which are very harmful for farmers’ health."

"The agriculture ministry recognizes the benefits of organic products, particularly organic fertilizers, and has called for domestic farmers to use them widely in clean agricultural production," said Dr. Nguyen Huu Nghia of the Southern Agricultural Science Institute.

Dr Mai Thanh Phung, an expert with the National Agriculture Extension Centre, said many rural areas in Viet Nam had used microorganism fertilisers in farming activities.

"According to a preliminary survey, crop output increased by between 15 and 30 per cent and crops were protected from many kinds of diseases," Phung said.

Dr Duong Hoa Xo, an expert with the HCMC Bio-Technology Institute, expressed concern over the state of agricultural production in the country.

"At present, our agriculture sector is at the high intensive farming level with the use of many kinds of chemical fertilizers and agrochemical substances and other unfriendly environmental farming measures," she said.

"These detrimental farming methods have made farming land retrograde and the ecosystem lose balance, and the micro-organism system is being destroyed, all of which have resulted in a number of unpredicted epidemics," Xo said.

She stressed the need to practise organic agriculture."This is the only way the domestic agricultural sector can develop sustainably," she said.

Chin echoed Xo’s views. "To realise organic agriculture, we must use nutrients created from organic substances such as waste from breeding or planting, and biological products in stead of chemical products," he said.

"Most farming land in the country is still small, and farmers are poor. Organic agricultural production would be very suitable and profitable," he said.

Chin recommended that localities learn to practice organic agriculture on a small scale first before doing it large scale.

The workshop is part of the international agriculture fair, Agrimart Viet Nam 2007, taking place in HCM City from October 24-29.

Source: VNS
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