Training on Biodiversity Conservation in the fields in Man Duc and Dong Lai commune, Tan Lac district, Hoa Binh province
Phase 1 of the project “The Mường and sustainable agriculture” was implemented between January 2012 and May 2013. The phase raised awareness about the harmful effects of pesticides to human’s health, agro-biodiversity and livelihoods to Muong people in Tử Nê and Thanh Hối communes. Due to the positive results achieved from Phase 1, the project expanded to other communes. In 2014, people in Mãn Đức and Đông Lai communes started to participate in project activities.
The first activity of the new project is a training course on agro-biodiversity preservation for teachers of secondary schools and farmers from two communes. Trainers used a lot of examples and images to illustrate the information during the trainings so farmers could understand them more easily. Beside theoretical knowledge, trainees were divided into groups and participated in practical activities, such as mapping the field and collecting fauna and flora samples in different environments. All groups discussed excitedly and gave presentations confidently.
When they finished all the exercises, they were instructed on how to make an action plan on how to conserve agro-biodiversity. All the groups discussed and chose what species they wanted to preserve. The people of the Mãn Đức commune chose plants such as garlic, sugarcane, Talauma, and animals such as frogs, snakes, fish, and insects such as bees, spiders, and ants. Đông Lai group chose Celastrus Hindsu Benth, centella, cassava, Mường pig, eel, tilapia, crickets, bees and honeybees. Both communes saw frogs as an extremely valuable species because they not only ate insects that are harmful to their crops, but also are a nutrient-rich source, which can be sold for income. The plans that were collectively discussed and developed will be studied and then brought into practice after the training session.
CECAD also invited farmer Bùi Văn Thịnh – a participant of Phase 1 in Bục Village, Tử Nê commune – to share his experiences with the new participants. According to Mr. Thịnh, after participating in trainings on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and the negative effects of pesticides, people in his village now understood that using pesticides would also harm beneficial species. After the project ended in Tu Ne, Mr. Thịnh noticed that people who joined the project no longer used herbicides and significantly reduced the amount of pesticides. If people chose to use pesticides at all, they used them in a reduced concentration and no longer mixed many kinds of pesticides together, effectively using pesticides in a safer manner. Mr. Thịnh also shared that he could clearly notice that the number of frogs increased.
People who attended the training course raised questions for and discussed with Mr. Thịnh about crop planting structures in the preserved area in Tử Nê commune and about the reason why the groups of Tử Nê commune chose to preserve frogs. After meeting and listening to Mr. Thinh’s experiences, the farmers of Đông Lai commune and Mãn Đức commune felt more excited with the new conservation plan and the next training course about the effect of pesticides on biodiversity and community health.
Written by Pham Dieu Linh