SUCCESS IS THE RESONANCE OF THE PARTIES
Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Chuan, spoke in a proud yet reserved manner as he told us the story of his farm in Tan Xuan village of Quang Tri Province. The 69-year-old father of three had grown up in poverty as he was one of 8 children. Once he was of age, he married his wife of now 40 years and began work at the local Tan Lam Pepper Plantation. He would put in long shifts for small wages but was happy for the opportunity to provide for his family.
When the plantation was forced to close in 2004, Mr. Chuan was convinced the farm still had untapped potential, so he and his family borrowed money from friends and used their life savings to buy a 1 hectare (2.5 acre) parcel of land from the former plantation and use it to cultivate pepper.
His farm started well but production started to decline until in 2009, Mr. Chuan's pepper farm was in ruins as more than 50% of his pepper was dead or severely affected by pest and disease and unable to find a solution to eradicate them from his farm he was forced to look for alternatives. He was depressed as his family lost their main source of income, and difficulties piled up.
Mr. Chuan was not alone as most of the farms here were a wasteland, or they grew only short-term crops with low incomes. They were afraid that if they invest significant capital into planting more pepper they would be unable to confront the inevitable pests and diseases that were doomed to plague their farm.
After recruiting ROP to work in their district, the Cam Lo district government implemented the Project "Restoring Industrial Trees” and chose pepper as the main crop which showcases the commitment of the district government in their partnership with ROP. The Government called for ROP to get support from all branches of government and informed the people about the project and the support from Roots of Peace to the farmers.
Upon hearing of the ROP project to support pepper farmers, he was cautiously optimistic that the project can help change the fortunes of his family as he had little choice otherwise. Mr. Chuan joined the project in 2012 and qualified for ROP funding secured from the US Department of State, to clear landmine / UXO bombs in collaboration with Mines Advisory Group. So he was not only able to benefit from a new planting model supporting an orchard of 0.3 hectares but he was relieved to work on this safe ground.
As such when he learned about the importance of adding extra organic fertilizer to his farm to strengthen his plants and make them less susceptible to disease it drastically changed the production on his farm. After joining the project, he improved his production from 0.6kg/tree to 1.45 kg/tree. Mr. Chuan’s increased production has improved his income 225% and he used that imcome to support his children in their education, paid the loan when buying land before and repaired his house. The old man said that he expects Quang Tri pepper to become a famous brand in terms of quality in Vietnam as well as around the world. He is now assured of the technical assurance of sustainable, high yielding farming. His biggest worry is the price is too uncertain, the market is not stable,
The global price of pepper increased gradually from $7 in 2013 to $10.2 in 2015. He is saddened to say that the price of pepper in cycles, from 2016 to $8/kg, has been gradually reduced $3.6 / kg.
When Mr. Chuan joined the SHADE project in 2012, he planted 0.3 hectares of pepper that had been dead since 2009. For more than six years, his pepper orchard has been growing well which includes the remaining 0.7 ha of his orchard where he also applied the technique learned from ROP restored this land that had degraded previously due to pests and disease.
Go back to the success story of the combination of three parties. The first is the farmer - Mr. Chuan who has been successful in receiving support from ROP and from local authorities and in working hard to implement the trainings and materials to make his farm a success. The second is the government - Cam Lo District People's Committee who has proven to be a strong partner in supporting the farmers.
The success of 3rd party is an Organization – Roots of Peace. The success of the good and reasonable technical process, recognized by the farmers, has been recognized by the government for a non-governmental organization that supports farmers in the development of agriculture on the former battlefield. We think that, the recognition of the people and the government is the most valuable.
We think that all success in any field comes from the hard work, confidence, creativity of the person who performs it. But with the coordination between the parties, the success will be more satisfying, more meaningful, more sustainable.