It would be better for farmers in North Vietnam to replace wet rice cultivation by permanent vegetable growing. They would then earn up to three times more and would have employment for the members of their family. This is shown in research by Applied Plant Research (PPO).
Vegetables are getting increasingly important for the urban population of South-East Asia. And the demand for vegetables in these countries is growing, also in the Red River Delta in Vietnam.
Question is how farmers can take advantage of this trend and increase their income at the same time. Researchers of PPO, Plant Research International and Wageningen University came up with year-round permanent vegetable cultivation. Traditionally, farmers in the Red River Delta are growing rice in summer and vegetables in winter. Year-round vegetable cultivation increases vegetable production and this may result in a higher income for the farmer. Improved soil quality is an additional benefit because wet rice cultivation is bad for soil structure.
The scientists of PPO investigated for the Red River Delta whether a change in production system would indeed be profitable for farmers. They built the PermVeg model for these investigations. This model enables comparison of various cultivation systems, the traditional ánd various systems with permanent vegetable cultivation.
Farmers are growing many different types of vegetables. With PermVeg the scientists establish which vegetables are giving the highest income in which order. They are also finding out in which cultivation system farmers need to use least pesticides and whether a system with slowly perishable products would also yield sufficient income. This last aspect is important in case transport of the products from the rural area to the market in the cities takes longer.
The results of the model have been tested in a two-year local experiment.
Higher income, higher labour demand
The result of the field research shows that farmers’ incomes can increase with permanent vegetable cultivation. The income of the farmers can become considerably higher when they can themselves sell the products on the market in the cities. All year-round vegetable cultivation systems require more labour than the traditional system. This higher employment is a positive aspect of the new system.