’Barefoot’ engineer helps farmers ease hardship

December 22, 2018 - 09:00

A  farmer in Lâm Đồng was honoured for his products of agricultural machinery which helped ease hardship of agricultural job.

Farmer engineer Nguyễn Hồng Chương in his workshop. — Photo nongnghiep.vn
Viet Nam News

LÂM ĐỒNG – Nguyễn Hồng Chương, a 43-year-old farmer in Lạc Lâm Commune of Đơn Dương District in Lâm Đồng Province has succeeded in manufacturing 15 kinds of agricultural machineries which have been sold domestically and internationally.

Recently, Chương, who is only educated to secondary level, received the title ‘Farmer Scientist’ in a ceremony orginased by the Việt Nam Farmers’ Association to honour those who made outstanding contributions to new rural development and sustainable poverty reduction, reported Vietnam News Agency.

Born in a farmer family in Gia Lộc District of the northern province of Hải Hưng (now Hải Dương), Chương and his family migrated to Lâm Đồng in the 1980s.

He had to follow his parents and work in the fields and saw how difficult life was for farmers, as well as how much unproductive manual labour went on.

“As a son of farmers, every day I saw my parents and my neighbours spraying insecticides with rudimental tools which were very heavy and time consuming to use,” he said.

The image obsessed him, so he decided he had to do something to make his parents and other farmers’ work easier.

“I studied and manufactured a high efficiency pesticide sprayer in 2004”, said Chương.

“Each hour this sprayer can spray 8,000 to 10,000sq.m of vegetable fields, equal to four to six labourers, and helps reduce direct contact with toxic chemicals”, he added.

After the first success, three years later, Chương spent all his all his savings of some VNĐ7 million (US$300) to buy steel to manufacture a vacuum seed sowing machine.

The product was very useful for farmers of high-tech nursery gardens.

With his passion and confidence from the initial successes, Chương decided to lend money from his friends to open his own Centre of Research and Appliance of Agricultural Machineries.

He continued inventing, creating an automatic soil excavation machine, a vegetable water squeezing machine and solutions for high-tech and clean vegetable planting, among others.

Chương’s products have been bought by Malaysian, Chinese and Cambodian businesses.

By 2012, Chương had gone from an uneducated man, or a ‘barefoot engineer’ as other farmers call him, to selling his own inventions abroad.

Last year, he improved his automatic sowing machines to higher sowing capacity to meet the needs of international clients.

The machine can sow 27,000 seeds per hour, without seed scattering. One machine has the productivity of 18 to 20 labourers.

Using the machine helps reducing labour costs, so it would take four months for users to recoup their investment, said Chương.

Trần Đình Vân, a vegetable grower in Liên Nghĩa Towship of Đức Trọng District in Lâm Đồng Province said “My family has used the sowing machine for five years for 3ha of vegetables.”

“This was truly useful agricultural machinery with reasonable price, helping to reduce costs of labour and production,” Vân said.

According to vice president of Lâm Đồng Farmers’ Association Nguyễn Thị Tường Vi, Chương’s products are useful for farmers but his lack of education has stopped him from getting copyright protection.

“For  a poor locality as Đơn Dương District, Chương – a farmer – had made efforts by himself to manufacture products serving agricultural production. It was really precious thing”, said Phạm S, Vice Chairman of Lâm Đồng People’s Committee. ­– VNS