Agroforestry and sustainable vegetable production in Southeast Asian Watersheds: TMPEGS Vietnam team
Ha, Dang Thanh
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Major activities conducted by the Vietnam team during the reporting period include the implementation of the experiments and on-farm trials with drip irrigation on vegetables, termite control in young cacao planting, experiment with shade-tolerant indigenous root crop under cashew and vegetables grown under different light regimes, drip irrigation on perennial crop, review of policy related to VAF and stakeholder discussion, conducting field survey on integrated crop and pest management and policy, and preparing research abstracts and posters for the annual SANREM meeting. The team has found that Vetiver grass can be used not only as a tool for soil erosion control, but also has a high potential to be used for natural termite control, instead of chemical, in cacao development in agroforestry systems. In on-farm trial with drip irrigation small system, all vegetables have higher yield when cultivated with drip irrigation than with hand irrigation. small scale low cost drip irrigation system has a potential for adoption in small scale vegetable cultivation for home consumption and for local market to improve farmers' income and nutrition status of their family members. Yield of vegetables planted under different light condition in cashew garden varied depending on types of vegetable and light intensity. With vegetable integration, the average yield of cashew trees was recorded to be higher as compared that of cashew trees without vegetable integration. The team has also found that the integration of cacao into existing cashew system will have a high potential for improving the income of small farmers. The survey on pesticides use by local farmers showed that preventive method is common among local farmers but this practice is ineffective and has also posed threats to the environment and farmers' health. Findings from this study implies that promoting sustainable pest management practices in a cashew-based VAF system with less pesticide use will reduce production and farmers' health cost as well as other negative environmental impacts at the watershed. Findings from the policy review revealed that national level policy in forestry sector is encouraging the adoption of VAF system. Major policy incentives include increasing land tenure security, allocating forest and forest land to individual households for forest development, protection and practice of agroforestry models, investment and credit policy, benefit-sharing policy, extension and technology transfer, and promoting the processing and marketing of timber and non-timber forest products. In vegetable sector, incentives are more favorable for commercial vegetable and fruit producers.