The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Vietnam and Can Tho Subdivision of Crop Production and Plant Protection organized a site visit for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, and GIZ delegates to observe rice straw management technology at the New Green Farm Cooperative.
During the visit, Le Dinh Du, chief of Thot Not Plant Protection Station, and Mr. Dong Van Canh, director of New Green Farm Cooperative, demonstrated the process of turning rice straw into compost using a compost turner machine and the science-based benefits of using rice straw compost compared to inorganic fertilizer.
The rice compost has already been tested as fertilizer for rice, fruit trees, and vegetables, according to Mr. Du. The results based on trials with 101 farmers’ households showed that the effect of rice-straw compost is the same as other fertilizers. The product is currently in its market testing phase.
They also presented a business model for the mechanization of rice straw fertilizer production. The business model has the potential for creating jobs and additional income for farm workers for collecting and selling rice straw. It has been estimated that a one-hectare field can produce 320 rolls of rice straw valued at 0.68 to 0.85 USD/roll.
Werner Gruber, head of the Development Cooperation Agency, Embassy of Switzerland in Vietnam, highly appreciated the business model from rice straw and acknowledged the support from IRRI and GIZ to the farmers. Mr. Gruber added that he is looking forward to the scaling of this model in the future.
“Using fresh rice straw for mushroom production is also an additional income source,” said Mr. Du. “One hectare can produce 3.5 tons of rice straw which can be used to produce approximately 260 kg of mushrooms worth 4-5 million VND (171-213 USD).”
He added that the used straw from mushroom production can then be used for rice-straw-based composting and encouraged farmers to take advantage of the straw instead of burning or incorporating the straw in the soil which is the traditional farming practice.
The Swiss Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Thomas Gass, emphasized that the most significant point of the project is that farmers will no longer burn straw in their fields, protect the environment, and have another income source from selling rice straw-based composting products to improve their livelihood.
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