Improving the incomes of small-scale chili farmers in Vietnam
Ecology Farming Corporation (Ecofarm) has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) by pledging to transfer organic farming methodology to 5,000 Vietnamese chili farmers through the establishment of 100 demonstration farms by 2020 – helping them to improve their yields by 50 percent in just five years.
Although Vietnam has one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia, the agricultural sector has struggled to keep pace with the country’s growth. Farmers’ lack of productivity has been exacerbated by their overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which contaminate the soil and pollute ground water and rivers. In addition, the country is extremely susceptible to the impacts of climate change, including droughts, floods, cyclones, and rising sea levels. As a result, rural communities lag behind their urban counterparts in terms of poverty and food insecurity.
Established in 2007, Ecofarm has a mission to increase agricultural sustainability in Vietman while building farmers’ resilience to changing weather patterns. With farming sites around the country, the company focuses on local products that are cultivated in an environmentally sustainable manner. In the process, Ecofarm is bringing climate-smart organic agriculture practices to improve incomes and raise living standards.
In addition to operating its own greenhouses to provide hotels and the tourism industry with high-quality produce, Ecofarm builds the capacities of small-scale local farmers to produce high-quality food crops using sustainable practices and organic biofertilizer. The company is currently setting up a production facility that will turn biomass (agricultural waste) into heat energy and biochar (a natural soil enhancer), enriching soils while reducing air pollution. Ecofarm will provide this fertilizer to farmers at average market prices (comparable to frequently used non-organic chemical fertilizers) and will in turn provide farmers with fair prices for their organic and sustainably grown produce.
Leveraging its established brand, Ecofarm’s inclusive BCtA initiative is introducing organic farming to 5,000 small-scale chili farmers, transferring skills and good agricultural practices as well as educating farmers about the benefits of bio-fertilizer. Through a partnership with local government, the company is identifying 100 demonstration farms for introducing local farmers to organic farming, including the use of organic plant protection, crop rotation and soil preparation solutions.
As a result of its inclusive initiative, Ecofarm estimates that participating chili farmers will be able to increase their yields by 50 percent. This translates into an increase of at least US$1,000 each year for some of Vietnam’s poorest farmers who depend on chili farming for their livelihoods. In the process, Ecofarm’s efforts are protecting soil and water, reducing harmful emissions and contributing to more resilient food production in Vietnam.