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Discover about sustainable agricultural development (Part 2)

In part 1, Vagrofood, the exporter & supplier of tropical fruit in Vietnam, briefly introduced the concept of sustainable agricultural development. In this article, we will take a closer look at the primary methods that farmers, wholesale fruit distributors or modern agricultural developers, need to pay attention to.

  • Read part 1 at this LINK

Vagrofood, the exporter & supplier of tropical fruit in Vietnam, briefly introduced the concept of sustainable agricultural development

Sustainable agriculture places particular emphasis on biodiversity in ecosystems as well as practices on farming sites. Sustainable agriculture emphasizes circularity in a farming area, restricts external inputs, and manages the use of natural, available, and complementary factors which restore, maintain, and promote nature value.


To achieve these goals, sustainable farmers practice the following methods:


Rotational cultivation:

Rotational cultivation is one of the most popular and effective methods of sustainable agricultural development. This is to avoid harmful effects on crops and soil when we keep growing the same plant on the same plot for a long time.


Rotational cultivation helps farmers deal with pest problems (because many insects and pests only destroy a favorite food, so when we keep growing the same plant, invisibly we are aiding provide them with a stable long-term food source while increasing pest populations). Crop rotation helps break that cycle.


In rotational cultivation, we can use certain plants to add nutrients to the plants while also reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. This work should be repeated every year, every crop, and the farmer should know the area and planting target for the next crop.


For example, a garden is divided into four small pieces: A, B, C, D. The first crop of cabbages should be planted in plot A, then the next crop should be rotated to plot B, the third crop should be moved to plot C., or D should not be planted in A year after year.


However, we also need to consider the variety we intend to plant. For example, it is the same rotation, but we should not plant durian in plot A for the second crop because they need a lot of nutrients. We should plant beans/peas or lettuce (plants that require fewer nutrients and have a faster harvest time) to avoid erosion and give the soil a chance to regenerate nutrients.

Rotational cultivation is one of the most popular and effective methods of sustainable agricultural development.

Plant tree cover crops

Cover crops are essential because they are a natural source of nutrients for plants while also helping to reduce erosion and manage arable land. Cover crops contribute to the natural addition of N to the soil, protect the soil from erosion, improve soil structure, reduce pests, weeds, and diseases, and help reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.


However, in order to use these cover crops, we need to monitor the sowing stage, the seed rate, the width of the rows when sowing, and the growth rate of each type of plant in a timely intervention and achieve the desired effect. Otherwise, sometimes we will get unexpected results.


Create nutrients for the soil

The land is like people or any creature. After hard work, it also needs time to regenerate labor.


Soil plays a vital role in agroecosystems. Healthy soil is ideal for various organisms to live together, including beneficial microorganisms and insects, improving crop yields and quality. Still, it is also an area vulnerable to chemical products and pesticides.


The key to sustainable agricultural development is improving the soil's quality, adding nutrients to the ground before, during, or after each crop. As mentioned in point 2, cover crops can be a way to increase soil nutrients, but there are many other ways, such as applying organic fertilizer to the soil, using composted cattle manure, etc.


In addition, creating a natural cover for the soil is also a way to enrich the cultivation area with nutrients. Materials from the field can be a great source of nutrients that are introduced into the soil as weeds after being removed (be sure to remove the roots as some weeds with relatively high adaptability will be able to grow. back), dry leaves from perennials, straw or bark, etc. All of these increase the organic matter content in the soil, making the soil healthier and boosting the yield of the next crop.

The key to sustainable agricultural development is improving the soil's quality,

Pest management by biological methods

For farmers, pest management is perhaps the most challenging task. When deciding to practice a sustainable agricultural farm, we should take the time to consider the environmental factors in our agroecosystem. Many species of birds, bats, and butterflies in the wild can be natural enemies of certain insects.


Once we have found the correlation between them, we should find ways to effectively increase the number of these natural enemies to limit the damage of pests. Note that this method should be combined with a crop rotation because of the benefits mentioned in point. When the two methods are combined, the efficiency will be higher.


Using renewable energy sources in sustainable agricultural development

Renewable energy plays a leading role in sustainable agricultural practices. For large-scale farms, the use of renewable energy helps to improve work efficiency while reducing the risk of discharge to the environment at the site as well as the surrounding environment.


For example, farmers can use solar panels to power pumps, heating systems in greenhouses, or electric fences. Farms near rivers and streams can be used as hydroelectric power, supporting electricity when using plows, seeders, and planters.


In Vietnam, farmers take advantage of livestock waste to make biogas, an environmentally friendly form of renewable energy that helps reduce living costs to reinvest in the farm.


Seed and water management

In the selection process, we should focus on using local varieties. The reason is that wide foreign varieties look very attractive in the catalogs. Still, when used in practice, they do not bring the desired results, possibly due to the different tastes of each country and region.


In addition, local varieties have characteristics suitable to the region's weather conditions, so the adaptability and growth will be better, and the ability to resist pests will be higher, thereby bringing higher efficiency.


In arid regions, it is advisable to choose drought-tolerant varieties that will help reduce the need for water supply. The drip irrigation system is an exciting creation, but we need to pay attention to management when using it. Otherwise, it will lead to other problems, such as reducing irrigation water, barren soil, and quality.


We can also build rainwater storage systems to use as irrigation water during drought or learn reuse models of irrigation water to limit the risk of water shortages and cut costs in the farming process.

local varieties have characteristics suitable to the region's weather conditions

Focus on locality

Perhaps we are not too unfamiliar with the phrase "eat local first" because those interested in sustainable development, especially in agriculture, will understand the meaning of this phrase. Going local in distributing agricultural products by participating in farmers' markets or local consumers will save costs and reduce risks in transportation and packaging. It also reduces the need for product storage locations.


The locality is incredibly sustainable in community development because it benefits all parties involved. The farmers provide sanitary products locally, and the people there can use the freshest ingredients without going far, saving travel costs and protecting the environment.


Moreover, knowing the origin of food will help consumers avoid the risk of food poisoning or many residues from pesticides. In contrast, consumers support farmers by consuming products, creating jobs for owners and farm workers. This is a helpful cycle that can be easily applied in the context that food safety and hygiene are increasingly becoming a problem in Vietnam today.

Going local in distributing agricultural products by participating in farmers' markets or local consumers will save costs and reduce risks in transportation and packaging.

Recording and storing data

We must understand that sustainable agricultural development is a long-term process that requires patience from the implementer. For farmers, the transition from conventional to sustainable agriculture requires many small and practical steps, while for those without no agricultural experience, the process also requires careful preparation. It is essential to record and store data to stay on track and ensure that the farm goals are achieved.


We shouldn't expect too many results in the first crop. Instead, it's essential to understand that every small step can make significant changes in the future, and you are contributing to the end—the development of an entire system.


Agriculture is one of the risky industries, especially the risks from the external environment (adverse weather conditions, competitive prices, etc.). However, sound data recording and practice combine research in new ways to help us understand and characterize our farming areas to be ready for the next steps.


Sustainable agriculture promotes social development, protects the environment and natural resources, reduces the use of chemicals and pesticides, and helps our food to be cleaner, fresher, more complete, and more nutritious.


Sustainable agricultural development is the cooperation and connection of the whole community.

However, the vital thing in sustainable agricultural development is the combined participation of many parties and sectors of society, from farmers, retailers, consumers, researchers, and even policymakers. Each group plays an essential role in the whole picture, working together and helping each other, contributing to the community's sustainable development.

Vagrofood is a wholesale agriculture company with many years of experience operating, developing, and exporting clean agricultural products to international markets

Therefore, farmers should not be "stand-alone" in that work; farmers need the help of the whole society for a greener, cleaner and healthier community.


Vagrofood is a wholesale agriculture company with many years of experience operating, developing, and exporting clean agricultural products to international markets. Ready to accompany Vietnamese farmers to bring high-value agricultural products to reach. Along with that, commitment to contributing to the sustainable development of modern agriculture.

 

Address: No. 26, N1 Street, Phu My Hiep Residential Area, Dong An Town, Tan Dong Hiep Ward, Di An City, Binh Duong Province, Vietnam.

Hotline: +84 3799 321 09

Website: vagrofood.com

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