Boosting organic, sustainable agriculture in Northern Midlands regions

Sustainable agricultural development is potentially highly lucrative for Vietnam. — VNA/VNS

HANOI: Organic farming areas are often fragmented and lack sufficient barriers to prevent chemical contamination from neighbouring conventional farms.

The National Agricultural Extension Centre, under the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry, heard that sustainable agricultural development was potentially highly lucrative in this part of Vietnam.

Organised in collaboration with the Bac Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the the regional Agricultural extension forum learnt that the Northern Midlands and Mountainous regions have significant potential and advantages for developing organic agriculture, thanks to abundant soil, water and climate resources, supportive policies and increasing local expertise.

The region is focused on integrated multi-value and sustainable agricultural development.

However, organic and circular farming areas are often fragmented and lack sufficient barriers to prevent chemical contamination from neighbouring conventional farms, particularly through irrigation channels.

Additionally, small and scattered farming operations in this region must be transformed into concentrated production areas, ensuring water and environmental standards meet organic certification criteria.

In response to these challenges, the 2024 Agricultural Extension Forum aims to find policy solutions for organic and circular agriculture, strategies for production links and market expansion and methods to enhance capacity and communication for sustainable, value-driven organic farming.

At the forum, Le Ba Thanh, deputy-director of the Bac Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, shared that Bac Giang province has implemented various policies to promote organic and circular agriculture.

These include linking production with consumption, supporting agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, providing seed support and encouraging one commune one product development.

Currently, the province has six certified organic farming models and several circular agriculture models, such as integrated pig and duck farming with vermiculture, combined poultry and organic fertiliser production, rice-fish systems and rice-mushroom-organic fertiliser production.

These models have increased economic value by 12% to 300% and reduced input costs by 10% to 30%.

However, challenges remain, such as limited market differentiation for organic products, small-scale operations, a lack of diverse organic inputs, limited participation from businesses and residents and insufficient incentive policies.

Duong Thi Luyen, chairwoman and director of the Luc Truc Bamboo Shoot Cooperative in Tan Yen District, Bac Giang, shared that the cooperative has been actively building and developing its brand.

They have registered the trademark Luc Truc Bamboo Shoot with the Intellectual Property Office under the Science and Technology Ministry.

The cooperative has also signed contracts with reputable firms to protect their brand, including a recent contract with the Anti-Counterfeiting Technology Centre in Bac Ninh in 2023.

With these brand protection measures in place, the cooperative has participated in trade promotion conferences, engaged in eCommerce and collaborated with clean food stores.

They are currently negotiating with several companies to export their products to Japan, the United States and South Korea.

Dao Thanh Van, vice-president of the Vietnam Organic Agriculture Association, shared international development experiences.

He emphasised that developing organic agriculture requires linking production, processing and consumption chains to build markets, establish trust, and create high value for organic products. — Viet Nam News/ANN

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