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Turning rice straw into organic fertilizer, farmers in the suburban area of Hanoi get dual benefits
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While many localities have tried to solve the problem of indiscriminate burning of straw causing environmental pollution, Dan Phuong district, (Hanoi) with the active participation of the Farmers' Union (FU) at all levels, this matter was handled quite effectively. 

At present, a lot of farmers in Dan Phuong know how to compost rice straw into organic fertilizer after each harvest

From "The field without burning straw"...
At the end of May 2021, in the field of Trung Hien village, Thuong Mo commune, Dan Phuong district FU held a field meeting to deploy the field model without burning straw.

At the meeting, farmers in Thuong Mo commune were informed by the technical staff of the Center for Organic Agriculture (Vietnam Academy of Agriculture) about the harmful effects of burning rice straw, benefits of regenerating straw as organic fertilizers for crops. Also, some difficulties in the intensive production of rice and cash crops of farmers in the village were mentioned for solving. 

"The FU has actively organized conferences, promoted communication and guided each household to participate in protecting the rural environment..." affirmed Mr. Thieu Van Son. 

In particular, Thuong Mo farmers took "hands-on" training on processing rice straw in the field with biological products to make organic fertilizer for plants. Having experiences in participating in the model many years ago, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Vinh (in Trung Hien village, Thuong Mo commune) shared that "We were instructed to treat rice straw with biological products into fertilizer by the FU. We don't burn straw with smoke anymore. Besides, thanks to the source of organic fertilizer made from rice straw, we can save the cost of buying fertilizer."

Mr. Thieu Van Son - Chairman of Dan Phuong District FU informed that "This is the fourth year Dan Phuong District FU has implemented a model of treating rice straw with biological products for farmer members. When joining the model, farmers can get dual benefits of both protecting the environment and saving production costs thanks to organic fertilizers. Therefore, Dan Phuong farmers are very excited and more and more farmers have joined the model". According to Mr. Thieu Van Son, to get this result, the District FU had to go through a long process from dissemination and policy advocacy to support farmers to build pilot models.

Specifically, in 2017, Dan Phuong District FU selected Tho Xuan commune as a pilot locality for the "field without burning straw" model. Accordingly, the FU organized 100 members in the commune who signed to participate in the campaign on no burning rice straw. The above model has really brought great results, making members excited and confident. Currently, Tho Xuan commune still keeps deploying and mobilizing the people to treat rice straw with biological products for 19.96ha of rice granted by the Dan Phuong FU.

In the spring rice crop of 2019, Dan Phuong District FU continued to carry out a mass-scale of the model of treating rice straw with biological products in 9 communes with an area of 357ha. Initially, to encourage farmers to participate in the models, the FU advised the District People's Committee to provide free support for farmers with probiotics and technical training. "The support over the years has brought practical results, making farmers excited to participate in the models" emphasized Mr. Son. 

A lot of great models for protecting environment

To further replicate the model, right from the beginning of the spring rice harvest in 2021, the District FU continued to coordinate with the Center for Organic Agriculture to build a model of fields with limited burning of straw in 4 communes with the total area of 25 ha.

Mr. Son affirmed that compared with the field that rice straw had been burn in the field, the field treated with biological products could save 2 times of spraying insecticides against yellow leaves and physiological root strangulation. Along with that, 30% of the amount of phosphate fertilizer for primer and 15% of NPK for the first application were reduced. Moreover, the treatment of rice straw with probiotics after harvest is quite simple, just mix the inoculant with sand, soil or fertilizer, and spread it evenly throughout the field. After 13 - 15 days, the straw and stubble will decompose by themselves and soak in the soil.

According to Chairman of Dan Phuong District FU Thieu Van Son, being well aware of the role in rural environmental protection, along with the replication of models of post-harvest rice straw treatment, Dan Phuong FU has mobilized farmers to collect and assemble plant protection drug packages at the points where containers are arranged. Thanks to that, up to now, in many fields of Dan Phuong, there is no more littered pesticide packages. 

Typically, in 2020, Dan Phuong District FU at all levels built 25 models of farmers protecting the environment such as model of cleaning fields in Phung town, Lien Trung commune; models of waste separation at the source in Dan Phuong, Phuong Dinh, Tho An communes; models of dust reduction in carpentry production in Lien Hong, Lien Ha and Lien Trung communes; model of maintaining 90 routes of self-managed FU branches on environmental sanitation...

Sharing the experiences in building models of farmers protecting the environment, Mr. Son stated that the involvement of the entire local government, the role and responsibility of the departments and unions was very important.
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