Viet Nam News
Văn Chiến – Thiên Long
YÊN BÁI - Dương Thị Lan, 53, a farmer in Tân Lập Commune in the northern mountainous Yên Bái Province, has built a veritable agricultural empire, with business activities ranging from animal breeding, forest planting to offering agricultural products. Earning over VNĐ800 million (US$34,800) a year, this year she has been honoured by the Việt Nam Farmers’ Association as one of the most outstanding Vietnamese farmers.
The successful woman from the Tày ethnic group, who “dares to think and dares to take action” has made great achievements from a humble beginning.
Though she started breeding pigs in 1989, she did not succeed until nine years later when she bought an instruction book by a merchant in Vĩnh Phúc Province. Though the merchant overcharged her — she paid VNĐ500,000 ($22), a huge amount of money at that time — the book was critical, explaining how to raise pigs and prevent diseases.
“I needed to enrich my knowledge about pig breeding so I decided to buy the book without any hesitation,” she said.
With the tips in her hands, Lan expanded her breeding area, which now consists of two rows with separate rooms for sows and market pigs.
Lan decided not to sell her sows after they reproduced but to keep them for further breeding. Now her farm has some 10 domestic and imported sows and almost 100 market pigs. Thanks to nutritious food, the pigs have grown up well.
Lan said that disease preventive measures must be taken when the pigs are small. Three days before sows give birth, they must take disease preventive drugs. Piglets must be injected with drugs which prevent head swelling and diarrhea within 24 hours of their birth, and again a week later.
“Feeding pigs is also important and farmers must ensure the appropriate diet for each age,” Lan said.
Now Lan can remember every detail of the instruction book, from the methods of farm hygiene to pig diets. For many years, she has sold more than six tonnes of pork each year, with profits of over VNĐ200 million ($8,700).
Rich from other works
Lan’s life after getting married was difficult. In 1996, she received more than 5ha of land from local authorities to plant snowbell. Not long after that, more than 1ha of hill land behind her house was covered with the greenery of snowbell and cinnamon trees.
She said that planting snowbell and cinnamon trees is not difficult but requires a great deal of time. Six years after starting, snowbell generates timber sold at over VNĐ100,000 ($4.3) per cubic metre of wood. Cinnamon trees take ten years to make products. Now merchants come to Lan’s house to buy dried cinnamons and leaves.
“We can live well on forestry because snowbell and cinnamon trees bring relatively high profits. Each sale brings in hundreds of millions of đồng, she said.
Also in 1996, Lan bought a rice grinder and started to offer the service of rice grinding for locals.
In 2014 when ethnic people in the village were struggling to address diseases among agricultural animals and plants, Lan opened a store selling fertilizers, cattle food, pesticides and veterinary drugs. Farmers can buy these goods from Lan on credit and pay after they harvest their crops or sell their animal products.
Understanding the difficulties of fellow farmers in the village, Lan also helps locals with instructions on breeding and farming technique.
Her buffaloes and goats have been given to poor households. After these animals give birth, the breeding animals will be given back to Lan or other households for further productivity.
“It is very difficult for poor farmers to have enough capital to buy animals. I have given them capital which is my animals. Now some households have one to two buffaloes and more than ten goats,” Lan said. “I have been prosperous, so I must help villagers to get out of poverty to make a warm and happy life in the village,” she said. - VNS