Farmers in Ma Village to lead in outscaling climate-smart agriculture

Through the Photovoice project, farmers were able to raise their issues and potential solutions to government officials. Here, a farmer-participant presents his exhibit and story to a government official. Photo credit: Bernadette Joven (CCAFS SEA/IRRI)

Farmers in Ma Village set out to form a communication group to spread the climate-smart agriculture approach in villages across Yen Bai province.

VIETNAM—Farmers in Ma Village in Yen Bai province, Hanoi agreed to take on the task of disseminating climate-smart agriculture (CSA) information to other farmers within and beyond their village through a communication group. This was the consensus among the 16 farmers who participated in the Photovoice project which was implemented in Ma Village on October-December 2016, with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

The Photovoice, Tiếng nói qua ảnh in Vietnamese, is a tool that allows people to identify local issues and problems and work for solutions, and communicate these through images and photos. It is a participatory action research where participants reflect and document on community needs visually, promote dialogue, and reach policymakers toward village improvement.

 Mr. Tran Van Dai shows, through his photos, the value of growing and processing forage as feed for his cattle over the traditional practice of free-range. Photo: Bernadette Joven (CCAFS SEA/IRRI)

We can establish a group here at Ma, through the agriculture extension office, so we can visit and interact with other villages and share with them the climate-smart practices that we are implementing here at Ma,” said Au Thi Thanh, a Photovoice participant, during the post-activity assessment of the Photovoice project.

Ma Village is selected as one of the three Climate-Smart Villages (CSVs) across Vietnam under the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) due to its vulnerability to specific climate challenges like drought, cold snaps, and declining soil fertility.

The climate variability affects its 197 households, of which 75% depend largely on farming upland crops (e.g. maize, cassava, tea, etc.), forestry and agroforestry, rice crops, and other agriculture-based livelihoods. Thus, it is paramount that farmers are provided with relevant CSA information to better adapt to climate change impacts, take part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their farming systems and ensure a food-secure future.

Under the CCAFS program, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) has been leading the testing and implementation of CSA practices and technologies in Ma Village since 2013. The CCAFS program is being hosted by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Southeast Asia.

The Photovoice project implemented a series of workshops which culminated to a village exhibit with dialogue, where village people, leaders of other villages and officials from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Yen Bai participated.

Ms. Au Hong Nhat explained that during the exhibit, she was able to introduce her business and the living bed concept. Photo: Bernadette Joven (CCAFS SEA/IRRI)

The event paved the way for meaningful discussion and interaction, and important outcomes manifested.

When I meet some friends and they mention the Photovoice, I take that opportunity to explain the climate change adaptation practices that I’m applying in the village,” said Mr. Ha Van Duc.

Ms. Au Hong Nhat explained that during the exhibit, she was able to introduce her business and the living bed concept. The living bed makes use of saw dust, rice husks, and decomposing microorganisms (EM) as floor cover in poultry raising; chicken manure mixed with the living bed turned into compost that is used as crop fertilizer.

Some participants explained that farmers in their village and from neighboring villages now come to them to ask about specific CSA practices (e.g. vermiculture, living bed) that they use so that they too could apply them.

These were some inspiring stories which served as an impetus to the soon-to-be-formed Ma CSV communication group. The Photovoice farmers will further discuss the facets and nuances in forming the communication group and develop a work plan for the current year.

Mr. Nguyen Van Tam, leader of Ma Village, raised an important issue that will be included in the agenda:

The activity should be done on more villages to have a broader participation.”

To this, the leaders of the neighboring villages concurred.

Read more


See photos from the Photovoice workshop in Ma Village:



See photos from the village exhibit in Ma village:

Bernadette P. Joven is a Senior Communication Specialist for CCAFS SEA and the International Rice Research Institute.