Advancing Circular Agriculture

9:28:54 AM | 12/1/2023

Embracing the proven benefits of the circular economy in agriculture, Hai Duong province has been focusing on the development of circular organic agriculture, anticipating it as an inevitable trend in the near future. This forward-looking approach aims to instigate transformative changes, fostering sustainable new rural areas and aligning with the broader goal of achieving a modern, smart countryside.

Organic vegetable cultivation in Doan Thuong commune

Outperformance and development directions

Mr. Mai Nhat Tan, Deputy Director of the Hai Duong Coordination Office for New Rural Development, underscored the province's achievements with 43 communes certified to meet advanced new rural development standards, four communes recognized as model new rural development standards, and one district committed to implementing advanced new rural district criteria from the beginning of 2023. The province is poised to propel commercialized agricultural production, incorporating high technology to transition towards clean and organic agriculture. The acceleration of production mechanization has demonstrated significant strides, effectively reducing losses and production costs, with collaborative models enhancing overall productivity.

The One Commune One Product (OCOP) Program has been a focal point, yielding positive outcomes with 234 certified OCOP products, with projections of 250-300 additional certifications by 2025. Notably, the province actively engages cooperatives in circular organic and clean agriculture models, establishing vital nuclei to construct circular, safe, and ecologically friendly rural economic chains that align with local sustainable development goals.

In the years 2021-2025 and beyond, the province aims to accelerate its collaboration with specialized agencies to provide guidance and technical training in advantageous products and pilot organic agricultural models. This will help to raise farmers’ awareness of clean and safe production and pursue sustainable development.

Nguyen Thi Thu Huong, Chairwoman of the Hai Duong Cooperative Alliance, accentuated the active participation of 526 cooperatives in rural development, playing a pivotal role in various activities such as canal dredging, land plot consolidation through interexchange, and landscape enhancement. The cooperative model, interlinked with the circular economy value chain, has been adopted by numerous cooperatives, generating significant economic value. Production cooperatives are establishing collaborative networks to achieve regional scale, seamlessly connecting agricultural production with consumption, exemplifying effective cooperation between cooperatives and merchants.

At the 5-hectare An Thang Farm in Dan Chu commune owned by Nguyen Quyet Thang has implemented a closed-cycle approach, integrating the cultivation of crops and livestock. By-products from vegetables, tubers, and fruits in the garden serve as feeds for chickens, pigs, cows, and fish. Animal waste undergoes probiotic treatment and quick composting, transforming into a source of organic nutrients for plants and serving as food for earthworms, which, in turn, become a food source for chickens and ducks. The closed production cycle of this organic, circular, zero-waste ecological agriculture minimizes cultivation and animal husbandry costs, producing safe and quality agricultural products for consumers. His farm is among Tu Ky district’s eight circular organic, waste-free agricultural models, all capitalizing on by-products from livestock and crop farming in a closed cycle with five layers of exploitation, forming a circular, safe, and sustainable ecosystem. For instance, the organic rice-rice production model in An Thanh commune has certified 137 hectares out of 370 hectares, conforming to national organic standards, generating an income of VND400-500 million per hectare.

To scale up and propagate this production method, experts, scientists, international organizations, and farm owners unanimously emphasize the critical role of collaboration. Establishing connections and fostering cooperation in the adoption of circular agriculture, alongside mobilizing resources from the entire society, takes precedence. Simultaneously, promoting agricultural restructuring toward increased added value and sustainable development, developing circular agriculture models and encouraging the use of environmentally friendly products are pivotal. Specific policies need to be proposed to incentivize circular economic development for both farmers and businesses, fostering the recycling of agricultural by-products and focusing on building brands and developing markets for products from circular agriculture.

   Hai Duong embraces a more modern and smart countryside approach to enhance its development

Ensuring sustainability and efficiency in new development

Mr. Bui Van Thang, Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Hai Duong province, affirmed that products from cooperatives adopting circular organic agricultural models are gradually securing their position in the market, gaining trust from numerous customers.

In alignment with the overarching strategy, Hai Duong province, in addition to existing policies, has prioritized agricultural development, directing localities to develop production along value chains with regional advantages, OCOP products, and cultural tourism services. This strategic emphasis sets the stage for scaling up circular organic agriculture and improving new rural development criteria.

Furthermore, Hai Duong is actively encouraging cooperatives to gradually connect members, forming an organic circular chain to provide 100% of essential products and services, including animal feeds, agricultural supplies, and plant and animal varieties for safe food production. This initiative aims to offer high-quality products at reasonable prices, emphasizing a people-centric approach within a market economy and cooperative models. By leveraging internal resources, seizing opportunities, and overcoming challenges, the National Target Program on New Rural Development has achieved significant milestones, revitalizing the countryside.

In the 2021-2025 new rural development program, Hai Duong province aspires to achieve ecological agriculture, modern countryside, and civilized farmers. By 2025, the province aims to have 107 communes, constituting 60% of all communes, meeting advanced rural development standards. Additionally, 36 communes, accounting for 20%, are targeted to fulfill model rural development standards, and three districts are expected to satisfy advanced rural development standards. By this timeframe, the per capita income of rural residents is projected to reach VND76-80 million.

By Bao Ngoc, Vietnam Business Forum