Monday, September 25 2017

VietNamNews

Farmers told to go organic, shun chemicals

Update: April, 22/2017 - 05:00
People visit a greenhouse filled with safe vegetables in northern Bắc Giang Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Đồng Thúy
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — Farmers should increase the application of bio-organic-based integrated pest management to sustain the health of the soil, preserve bio-diversity and improve agricultural product quality and safeguard people’s health, a seminar heard in HCM City yesterday (Friday).

Nguyễn Thơ, deputy chairman of the Việt Nam Plant Protection Association, said Việt Nam’s agriculture has over the last few decades relied mainly on intensive farming using chemical fertilisers, pesticides and other products to increase yields.

The method has succeeded in increasing the country’s production of food crops, and fruit and industrial trees, but caused severe ecological imbalances, making the land less fertile and increasing soil-borne pathogens, he said.

Land and water have been badly polluted in rural areas due to abuse of crop protection chemicals, and pesticide residues in farm produce are high, he said.

Furthermore, with climate change, crop pests are becoming harder to combat, he said.

To effectively combat soil-borne pests, farmers need to adopt bio-organic farming methods, he, as well as many other attendees, said.

Using bio-organic products would help sustain agriculture since it would help protect the environment, preserve bio-diversity, reduce costs, produce safer farm produce, and reduce the threats to people’s health, they said.

Dương Hoa Xô, deputy chairman of the city Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said it is imperative that agriculture protects the environment, ensuring hygiene and food safety and protecting the health of both producers and consumers, to meet the increasing global demand for safe food.

Prof Dr Phạm Văn Biên said many countries have begun to adopt organic agricultural practices, with the area under organic farming increasing.

In Việt Nam too the area has increased significantly in recent years, though it is still very modest compared to the total farming area.

According to the Việt Nam Organic Agriculture Association, the country exports small quantities of some organic products like tea, shrimp, rice, cinnamon, anise, and attar.

There are some successful organic models in involving tea and vegetables by Ecolink and Ecomart, vegetables by Organik Đà Lạt, a unique thick-skinned orange in Hàm Yên, Tuyên Quang Province, rice by Cà Mau-based Viễn Phú Green Farm and others.

But Việt Nam still lacks national standards and a comprehensive legal framework for production, certification and quality control of organic agricultural products, Biên said, adding that the Government should soon have in place policies, mechanisms and a national standard system to make it easy for businesses and farmers.

More than 250 scientists, provincial officials, agricultural scientists and farmers from many southern provinces and cities attended the seminar, which was organised by the Việt Nam Plant Protection Association and Tropical Agricultural Research and Consultancy Centre. — VNS

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