| Quach Thi Ut tending her vegetable garden (Photo: Ngoc Anh/VOV5)
Recognized as a safe vegetable growing cooperative at the end of 2013, the Pho hamlet cooperative has planted both popular vegetables and high-value vegetables. Each cooperative member harvests 6 to 10 crops per year grown organically.
Le Thanh Tra, Chairwoman of An Quang Huu commune’s Women's Union, said that the cooperative’s 32 female members work together on 6 hectares, mainly growing vegetables like green mustards, basella alba, lettuce, and herbs. In the past, they grew vegetables, but not methodically and not cooperatively.
“Through the cooperative model, members can reduce production costs and labor and sell their products at higher, more stable prices. Participating in the model entitles them to preferential loans from the social policy bank and support from the commune’s Women's Union. During the project period, 24 women have escaped poverty,” Tra explained.
In 2017, the cooperative was selected for a project on adaptation to climate change, helping ethnic women in Tra Vinh province improve their livelihoods. The cooperative members experimented on a 5,000-sqm plot of land and received assistance in seedling, fertilizers, and cultivation methods.
Techniques for growing safe vegetables using micro-fertilizers have now been spread to every household in An Quang Huu commune, said Quach Thi Ut, the cooperative’s head.
Participants in the cooperative receive technological and financial support, Ut said, adding the administrations of the hamlet, the commune, and the province have given a lot of attention to the cooperative.
“Each member earns 240 USD a month growing vegetables. My family used to be poor but now I’ve bought household furniture and can afford my children’s school fees,” according to Ut.
|Representatives of local functional agencies talking about socio-economic development in An Quang Huu commune (Photo: Ngoc Anh/VOV5)
The commune’s Women's Union has promoted communications and encouraged local women to participate in the cooperative as a way to escape poverty.
The local administration has invited agricultural experts to come train the farmers, according to Ngo Van Du, Chairman of the An Quang Huu communal People's Committee.
Since 2018 Tra Vinh province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has supported the cooperative in farming techniques and sales output, said Du.
“Every year we get the provincial agriculture section to provide training in crop plantation. The members have gotten development loans from the Bank for Social Policies. None of them are poor anymore,” Du noted.
Pho hamlet’s safe vegetable growing model has helped reduce the commune’s poverty rate by 5.7% per year. Tra Cu district plans to copy the model to improve its own residents’ living standard.