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Training course “Start-up in sustainable agriculture” by VietFarm
17:11:19 08/11/2019

From 5-7 November, 2019, 20 farmers from the Northwestern region who love agriculture and want to start-up a business have participated in VietFarm’s training course “Start-up in sustainable agriculture.” The training course is among a series of activities under project “Improving livelihoods for small-scale production farmers via developing agricultural value chains and improving market access” funded by Irish Aids.

During 3 training days, farmers from Muong, Dao, Thai, Mong and Kinh ethnic groups were trained on three main topics: Important factors to start an agricultural business; Techniques in cultivation of some organic products; VietFarm App. application in agricultural production to enhance product value.

On the first day, farmers worked with lecturer Nguyen Huy Minh – Sunshine Holdings Director on some key aspects in settling a business in agriculture such as definition of targeted products (items), identification of product strengths, quantity, time, customers, frequency, payment method, cost, profit and product expenditure estimation in building a a business plan… Farmers are devided in groups to practice how to analyze and apply start-up theory in their team. Farmers are required to choose a product of the team and present group assignments.

On the second day, farmers were instructed to identify key local agricultural crops for start-up and farming techniques for clean and high-value products. Mr Hoang Anh – the trainer has introduced some techniques and microorganisms in practice in order to make organic soil and compost; how to manage integrated pests; and how to cultivate of some fruit trees popular in the local. A survey on farmers’ needs shows that suitable agricultural crops with high economic value include passion fruit, plum, avocado, and mango.

Technically, farmers are guided and practiced making organic soil by Emi substance; see by naked eye how to make decomposed compost; how to use fertilizers appropriately to ensure high quality of the products and not affect on growers and consumers’ health. Trainees did visit Thuy’s garden in Tan Lap sub-district, Moc Chau and showed some common diseases such as anthracnose, branch borers and how to treat the disease. This session in the garden is more open and interesting with Q&A among the trainer and farmers. Farmers are showed how to look up of allowed fertilizers by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

On the 3rd day, Mr. Phan Thai Trung – Director of the Center for Innovative and Innovative Agriculture shared his experience of using VietFarm app. in start-up management. He emphasized that farmers need to improve the value of agricultural products – it is the first factor to gain consumers’ trust. With current consumerism trends, some factors should be kept an eye on such as application of standard production processes, production diary, traceability of products. That’s the way he did with VietFarm standards and VietFarm app. Mr Trung also instructed farmers how to use the VietFarm App in agricultural production.

Mr. Duong Van Nam, Director of Nam Vu – Hai Duong Cooperative thought that this was a useful course, where he did note down alot and will apply in his farm when coming back home. Mr Nguyen Van Hoa – Yen Son, Yen Chau and Son La shared that although he had been working in agriculture for a long time, he now understands why his farm still has got diseases even he had used compost while his neighbors’ farms are not having diseases. It is because the compost is not decayed enough, and mixed with insufficient lime ratio, or he did use of both lime and probiotics together which is not right.

With a commitment to go along with farmers, VietFarm’s lecturers will continue to answer questions via online groups so that farmers are free to discuss and ask while they apply what have been learnt in practice. All those efforts are innitial steps in the journey of changing farmers’ mindsets and their production methods towards a clean and sustainable agriculture for farmers and the community.