Vietnam’s ethnic farmers go green with organic farming

Under People-Led Development Program, farmers can find real solutions to their own problems

Participants receive tips on organic farming at the two-day event at the Pastoral Center in Da Lat in Vietnam on Jan 5 (Photo supplied)

Bitter weather did not prevent hundreds of ethnic farmers in Vietnam from joining hands to promote organic farming.

Some 160 farmers in Da Lat Diocese attended the two-day gathering on Jan.5, organized by the local arm of Caritas at the Pastoral Center in Da Lat, capital of Lam Dong province.

They brought over 100 kinds of seeds of rice, beans, vegetables, and chili. Most of the seeds were locally produced and some were gifts from farmers in Nepal and the Philippines.

“This is the first time I have tasted various traditional dishes from indigenous groups,” said Simon Long Ding Haonh from the Chin ethnic group in Dung K’noh Parish.

The 35-year-old father of four, who cultivates coffee and gathers honey from forests for a living, said local preparation methods should be passed on to younger generations to preserve ethnic traditions. 

Under the People-Led Development Program, volunteers from Caritas imparted lessons on climate change and on the mass extinction of plant species. 

The program, initiated by Caritas Da Lat in 2014, encourages local farmers to find real solutions to their own problems.

Under the program, over 10 communities from Chau Ma, Chin, Chu Ru, K'hor and Mnong ethnic groups are participating in sustainable farming by using compost instead of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Before they exchanged seeds to propagate them in their areas, they prayed in their own languages. The meeting also discussed organic farming activities as a way to protect the environment.

They also took part in traditional competitive games, including pounding rice in the compound. They prepared over 100 traditional simple dishes from fish, vegetables, fruits and roots which they collected from their local areas. 

At the event, participants performed folk dances in traditional costumes.

Date: 10-Jan-2023