Farmer Field Day showcases rice straw-based circular economy benefits in Vietnam

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To promote the rice straw-based circular economy in Vietnam, the Farmer Field Day on improving the production of indoor and outdoor straw mushrooms was held in Thot Not District, Can Tho City on December 21, 2023. The event was hosted by the Can Tho Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), in collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the College of Agriculture, Can Tho University.

The event aimed not only to raise the farmers’ awareness on rice straw management towards the rice straw-based green circular economy but also to upgrade the rice straw-based value chain. The rice straw-based circularity begins with the utilization of straw after harvesting for mushroom cultivation. The leftover mushroom straws are then used as input material for mechanized rice straw-based composting. The finished compost is subsequently returned to the field — from the field back to the field.

Almost 60 participants representing farmers, government agencies, extension offices, research organizations, and academic institutions were given valuable knowledge on how to maximize the yield and profit through two types of mushroom cultivation: indoor and outdoor. As a practical part of the training course, it was the right time to harvest the mushroom cultivation models since learning by seeing is always the most effective way.

Dr. Nguyen Van Hung, the MKCF-funded RiceEco project leader, expressed his appreciation to the support of Can Tho DARD, the CGIAR Initiative on Asian Mega-Deltas, and IRRI for their remarkable contributions to developing the New Green Farm Cooperative and supporting the rice straw-based circularity since 2022. He hoped that other cooperatives and farmers would be willing to learn from and scale up the success of this first rice straw-based circular agriculture model in the locality.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Tran Thai Nghiem, Vice Director of Can Tho DARD, stressed that the “proper utilization of agricultural by-products increases farmers’ income and develops rural jobs.” In addition, he emphasized that indoor mushroom cultivation is a new way of urban agriculture, and Can Tho DARD is going to promote this model in the near future.

Mr. Dong Van Canh, a mushroom farmer who participated in the training course shared that “with Can Tho Sub-Department of Crop Production and Plant Protection and IRRI’s support, we had great opportunities to strengthen our capacity to overcome the problems and challenges facing mushroom cultivation.” He added that they are able to learn the important procedures from agricultural experts instead of cultivating only based on their own farming experience.

This work is part of the Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund-supported Rice Straw-based Circular Economy (RiceEco) and the CGIAR Initiative on Asian Mega-Deltas.

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