HA NOI – The average productivity of cassava in Huong Hoa, a mountain district in the central province of Quang Tri, has increased by 25-30 per cent thanks to the development of a micro-organic fertiliser.
The increase is due to a US$423,000 project to make markets work better for the poor, managed by the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Asian Development Bank, with financial support from the UK Department for International Development.
This highly innovative project has developed a slow-release micro-organic fertiliser derived from the brown skin (solid waste) of cassava starch processing. It has also trained poor, less-educated Paco and Van Kieu farmers in Quang Tri to use this product to fertilise their cassava for better yields and quality.
The project has been implemented by the State-owned enterprise Quang Tri One-member Trading Company Limited. The micro-organic fertiliser was first tested in 2009 and the company's technical team was awarded the third VINFOTEC prize for this innovation.
Initial estimates suggest that the project has benefited over 1,800 local households through improved incomes from cassava cultivation. A further 350 workers have also benefited through seasonal jobs with improved incomes in farming, transport and processing.
The project's team leader, Buddhika Samarasinghe, said it was too early to give a precise figure on the impact of this project. A random survey conducted with 37 participating households found that they had earned about VND2.5 billion from farming 60 hectares of cassava, marking an increase of VND 21 million per hectare with an average yield of 22.7 tonnes.
The project also has a positive environmental impact, in terms of less solid waste pollution by the cassava processing company, less deforestation as a result of the ability to continue farming on the same land, and more fertile reclaimed land. -- VNS