Viet Nam News
by Hồng Vân
Surrounded by piles of old engines, motorcycle parts, and scrap metal, Vũ Văn Dung is hard at work making farming machines.
Dung, 55, is a motorbike repairman from the northern province of Ninh Bình, who has successfully created machines for farming work, ranging from water pumps and generators to seedling and vegetable slicing machines.
Though engaged as a full time mechanic, Dung helps his wife with farm work every harvest season. After experiencing the hard labour of the fields, he was inspired to put his mechanical know-how to good use and build devices that would lessen the load for his family and friends.
“Being a farmer means that one has to do hard physical work outdoors, under the scorching sun, in the freezing cold or under heavy rain. So I just felt that I would do something to make their work easier,” said Dung.
Dung is a native of Yên Mô District, and his curiosity for all things mechanical has been in his blood since childhood.
“When I was small, I was a playful boy. I had a special interest and had grown a great sense of curiosity with machanical engineering,” said Dung. “I once even played in a mine and almost died,” he laughed.
“In 1999, I took a three-month motorbike repair course, after trying many other jobs,” said Dung.
The 55-year-old opened his own repair shop soon after finishing his vocational training and began making machines in early 2010.
Pen to paper: After experiencing the hard labour of the fields, Dung was inspired to put his mechanical know-how to good use and build devices that would lessen the heavy load labour for his family and friends.
At the beginning, people thought he was ‘abnormal’.
“They said only scientists could invent modern machines and equipment,” said Dung.
Yet, his multifunctional machine enables a farmer to pump water and transport home harvested rice plants thousands of metres from the field. Normally, farmers would pile up the rice plants on a boat and push it towards the bank, before transporting the plants by hand.
In October 2015, Dung successfully structured a seedling machine, after dozens of failed attempts.
The machine comprises two major parts – a handle and a tray for the rice seedlings. Users just need to control the handle and rice seedlings will be planted automatically in neat rows.
Traditionally seeding is backbreaking work – farmers have to stand all day long, bending at the waist to sow rice seedlings into the wet soil.
“The machine can cover one sào (360sq metres) in one hour, which is five times more efficient than a person,” said Dung.
“I ordered a water pumping machine from Dung for our family to use. We also lease it,” said Dương Ngọc Cửu, from Yên Mạc Village. “It is easy to use, as well as light, and very cheap compared to those sold at the market.”
“The seedling machine is small and light, weighing less than 30 kilograms so it can be transported to smaller rice fields,” said Cửu.
In 2016, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development awarded Dung a certificate for his contribution to the cause of rural development.
The multifunctional plowing machine also won an award as runner up in the province’s technology contest, which encourages people in the fields of technology science to push for the application of technology solutions in production and other areas.
As well as the seedling machine, Dung made six other contraptions, including a vegetable slicing machine.
Almost all of his machines are made with second-hand parts, while the engines are taken from old motorbikes.
Dung has now shifted his focus to selling machines and only fixes bikes for acquaintances. Every day, he sells three to four machines.
Dung has sold more than a hundred seedling machines since its release in 2015, and hundreds of rice pulling machine since 2010.
“He has been so passionate and engaged with his workshop. Sometimes he was too absorbed with the designs, missing meals as his project became popular,” said Dung’s wife, Vũ Thị Ngân.
“One of my machines takes an average of eight months to complete. When I finish a machine, I am overwhelmingly happy as it means I can realise my dream and help farmers,” said Dung. “Otherwise, I would be suffering from sleepless nights.”-VNS