Bio-fertilizer Project Turns Waste into Wealth


As part of the framework of the 2011 Mid-term Consultative Group (CG) Meeting for Vietnam which recently took place in Ha Tinh Province, a delegation of CG officials visited Quang Tri Province’s Huong Hoa District to see a project which aims to produce low-priced cassava bio-fertilizer.

This project is being implemented by the Quang Tri Trading One Member Limited Company (Sepon), aiming to turn waste into fertilizer. Specifically, cassava skin which is discarded in the process of producing cassava starch is used to make slow-release bio-fertilizer. The project also provides training to farmers of Paco and Van Kieu ethnic groups so that they can use bio-fertilizer to improve quality and increase cassava yields.

Bio-fertilizer production technology is good for the environment. It turns waste into fertilizer and helps minimize deforestation by making ethnic-minority people understand that it will be better for them to fertilize the soil rather than to chop down trees. Natural bio-fertilizer also helps improve the soil which has lost many kinds of valuable nutrients in the process of planting cassava. The project will generate stable jobs for farmers in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province and nearby areas where most people still depend heavily on agricultural production and animal husbandry, with a poverty rate still more than 20 percent, higher than the average in Quang Tri Province.

Ho Xuan Hieu, the general director of Sepon, said, "We hope that the bio-fertilizer production technology will help local people change their traditional cassava planting method so that they can increase the yield of the plant and improve their lives."

Ayumi Konishi, the country director of ADB (Asian Development Bank) in Vietnam, said, "The project is evidence of the creativity of Vietnamese companies, including State-owned companies like Sepon." Highly appreciating the good effects the project has had on poverty reduction efforts and the environment, he affirmed that ADB is very proud of the project and wishes to continue supporting similar initiatives in Vietnam.

As planned, the project will produce 1,500 tonnes of low-priced cassava bio-fertilizer by the end of December 2011. During the implementation process, the project will increase the incomes of about 3,000 farmer households or about 15,000 people (50 percent of which are women) by increasing cassava yields and ensuring that they can sell cassava at high prices./.


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