Cheaper biofertilizers reduce chemical use | GON

THUA THIEN-HUE— The practical application of “green” knowledge has slashed the use of chemical fertilizers by half by farmers in central Thua Thien-Hue Province.

According to Hoang Van Hien, chairman of Hien Luong agricultural cooperative, biofertilizers made from farm waste is replacing industrial products in rice paddies, peanut and vegetable farms.

“Biofertilizers are a good way to kill two birds with one stone – reducing the use of chemicals in cultivation while dealing with agricultural waste as well,” he said.

The cooperative, which is based in the province’s Phong Hien Commune in Phong Dien District, covers 132ha of land, including 90ha of rice.

Hien said the cooperative had 350 farmers, 30 cows, 10 buffaloes and 10 pig farms. This meant there was plenty of waste to produce biofertilizers.

Hay, rice husks and other farming waste are fermented and mixed with dung to produce the green fertilizers. Similar organic fertilizers can be found in the market place, but they are up to 75 per cent dearer compared to homemade fertilizers.

“Effective and economic,” he said about the green fertilizer. “It enriches the soil much better than chemical products.”

Lam Thi Thu Suu, director of the Hue-based Center for Social Research and Development, said the waste fertilizer model had been adopted on vegetable farms in other localities, including Huong Chu, Quang Tho, and Quang Thanh communes.

“We also integrate climate-change education with the production of fertilizer,” she said.

The centre is also involving rural residents in production of biogas for cooking and heating in commune in Hung Phu, Thuong Nhat and Thuong Loc in the province’s Nam Dong District.

Huynh Thanh, deputy chairman of Hung Phu Commune, said the locality had 10 tanks for biogas production and four more were planned.

Waste from farms forestry is also collected and fermented. “No more waste has been dumped in public places since the tanks were installed,” Thanh said.

Suu said the models for biofertilizers and biogas had worked well and she expected more financial support from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, which helped pay expenses.

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