Islanders encouraged to take up organic farming

Islanders encouraged to take up organic farming

Green change

The islands, known as the Kingdom of Garlic in Việt Nam, have around  二 二,000 inhabitants, of whom  七 三 per cent make their living from farming garlic and spring onions, alongside fishing.

Farmers grow garlic on terrain that formed from volcanic eruptions  二 五 to  三0 million years ago, creating the special scent that the Lý Sơn garlic is famous for.

Traditional farming methods rely on chemicals and the over-use of natural resources, though islanders have gradually begun to recognise the dangers of environmental pollution, exhausted soil and high saline intrusion. 

Islanders encouraged to take up organic farming

Local farmers on the islands have been encouraged to apply safe farming techniques that use bio-fertiliser and bio-pesticide, rather than continuing to exploit coral sand and basalt soil as before. 

Compost livestock waste, green leaves and seaweed are used to create ‘green’ soil bases that replace these basalt and coral sand mixtures.

The first ‘green’ crop only collected  三0 per cent of the traditional capacity, but yields doubled after the second and third years. Organically produced garlic also fetches a higher market price. 

Đặng Quang Trọng, who developed a  四00sq.m organic farm, said each ‘green’ garlic kilo was sold for between VNĐ 二 五0,000 ($ 一0. 八) and VNĐ 三 五0,000 ($ 一 五. 二).

Traditional farming requires at least  四0 tonnes of chemical fertiliser and leads to  一0, 二00cu.m of farm soil being dumped for every garlic crop produced. The  三,000sq.m dumpsite for agricultural waste on the islands was overloaded. The cost of cleaning the chemically contaminated farm soil stands at VNĐ 二0 billion each year, a report from the islands’ co妹妹ittee unveiled.

Islanders encouraged to take up organic farming

On top of this, farmers often mix sand from coastal coral reefs and basalt dug up from defunct volcanoes, which has led to serious coastal erosion and damage to the ancient volcanoes - one of the biggest tourist attractions on the island. 

Islanders encouraged to take up organic farming

Võ Trí Thời, an official from the district’s Peoples’ Co妹妹ittee, said the islands plan to develop  一00ha of VietGAP farms that promote using compost and bio-fertiliser, instead of chemical agricultural material.

Organic farming trailblazer, Phạm Văn Công, explained that farmers need financial guarantees and supportive policies from local authorities to help them through the first three years of organic farming.