|Target Location:||Quang Tri Province & Binh Phuoc Province, Vietnam|
|Agricultural Output:||Black pepper, cacao, cashew, coffee|
|Funding:||$400,000 from anonymous donor + $75,000 from Skoll Foundation = $475,000 Total|
Recovered bombie from Ho Chi Minh Trail in Vietnam
Over 30 years since the Vietnam War ended, the country of Vietnam is still feeling the resonating effects. With more tons of bombs dropped on the country than all of the bombs dropped in all of the theaters of the Second World War combined, and with many of these bombs experiencing a failure rate of up to 30% (as is the case with the preferred weapon used to target the Ho Chi Minh trail, the cluster bomb), unexploded ordinance (UXO) still remains a major problem. Counting the unexploded baseball-sized explosives discharged from cluster bombs alone, the total UXO produced from the war is a staggering 50,000,000 – 60,000,000, which is roughly translated to one unexploded ‘bombie’ per citizen. These ‘bombies’ still plague the fertile landscape of the Vietnamese countryside.
Binh Phuoc province in Southwest Vietnam
The Sustainable Horticulture and Agriculture Development Pilot Project (SHADE) funded by a private donor and the Skoll Foundation, will attempt to improve the production systems of rural highland Vietnamese farmers who live along sections of the former Ho Chi Minh Trail beginning in September of 2009. This project will focus on the development of the value chain for cacao and black pepper while piloting demo plots for Arabica coffee. Through new methods of cultivation, and marketing, these rural farmers located in the Southwestern province of Binh Phuoc and the Central Coast province of Quang Tri, can increase their annual income from three to seven times the income of their previous crop.
Rural highland farmers have in many ways been left out of Vietnam’s fast-pace economic growth, which has been primarily located in its urban centers—like much of Asia. By utilizing new methods, this pilot program seeks to introduce methods and equipment that will allow high value crops such as cacao, black pepper, Arabica coffee and cashew to be produced and collected more efficiently and marketed more aggressively. ‘From farm to fork,’ all facets of the value chain will be assessed, and when necessary improved to ensure the greatest number of participants can enjoy sustainable benefits from the project.
This program will also be partnering with demining organizations performing clearance work in Quang Tri province. ROP has already signed an MOU with Mine Advisory Group (MAG) and through their expertise in UXO removal are partnering with ROP’s expertise in extension work to successfully implement the demine-replant model.
ROP International Programs Director, Ken Neils, PhD
surveys a cacao grove in Southern Vietnam