This year’s BGR grant was used to support training for farmers in SRI methods via the creation of three large-scale collective fields in the Phu Binh district of northern Vietnam’s Thai Nguyen province. A single rice variety was cultivated in each field, enabling farmers to tailor growing conditions to the selected variety and thus optimize labor efficiency.
Supported by the grant, the fields became outdoor classrooms for farmers’ field school classes in SRI methods. More than 200 farmers from nine villages in the communes participated in training courses and field workshops to learn about SRI practices on large-scale fields, evaluate the successes and challenges of the model fields, and consider changes that might improve the next generation of crops. The ICC also provided weeding tools and other materials to farmers using SRI.
The grant also supported conferences bringing together representatives from provincial and district government and other agencies with local farmers to develop plans for the fields and, at the end of the grant period, to study the project’s results. The ICC reports that this cooperative engagement has been key to the project’s success.
Patricia Brick, a volunteer staff writer for BGR, is a writer and editor in the New York metropolitan area.