Increasing farmers’ resilience in Central Viet Nam through agroforestry
‘What an innovative approach!’ said Mr Le Minh Loan, a farmer in Quang Binh Province, Central Viet Nam of the agroforestry systems integrating pomelo with peanut introduced in their commune.
By Doan Thi Luyen, Dam Viet Bac and Rachmat Mulia
The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), in collaboration with the local Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Quang Binh Province, Central Viet Nam, has established 12 agroforestry systems, which include pomelo and orange trees, in homegardens and sloping land in three villages. These systems will soon be supplemented with guinea-grass strips along contour lines on sloping land and grass plots in homegardens. The tree seedlings for the project were purchased through a local nursery with financing from ICRAF’s Climate-smart, Tree-based Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia (Smart Tree-Invest) project, co-funded by the International Fund for Agriculture Development and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees, and Agroforestry.
Planting fruit trees is not a new practice in the commune. Village leaders say that local species of pomelo and orange were once popular in homegardens and known for their special flavour. But as focus shifted towards extracting resources from the nearby forests, these fruit-bearing trees were slowly forgotten. Consequently, the quality of the forests has been greatly degraded, with low remaining biodiversity, while planted fruit trees are limited. Greater attention has also been placed on annual crops but in the last decade challenges—such as declining soil and water quantity, reduced river flow, and drought—have forced farmers to seek alternatives. Tree planting in homegardens and sloping lands provides one such solution.
The enriched homegarden and sloping land models were designed collectively by ICRAF, local partner organisations, and local people. The systems consist of a combination of trees, annual crops and fodder grass. Pomelo and orange trees are planted amid annual crops, such as beans, peanut, sweet potato, maize and guinea fodder grass.
Alongside the tree planting, 43 farmers and local government staff across seven villages received training on tree planting and plot management of citrus-type trees. The training was received enthusiastically by the participants, who stated that they now had a greater understanding of fruiting failure and pollination techniques and would focus more attention on trees in the future.
In Spring 2016, the agroforestry program will be expanded to 30 smallholding farmers across six villages in the up-, middle-and downstream areas of the commune of the Ho Ho sub-watershed. The program aims to increase plant and product diversification, ensure more stable income and improve the resilience of the local people to climate variability. Mixed or multistrata systems are not only more resistant to climate-related hazards but recent scientific findings show that local people residing in areas with diversified agricultural or forest products are also healthier owing to more nutritionally diverse diets1.
This work is supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry