"We couldn’t understand why, despite using pesticides, our grain was continually attacked by insects, to the extent that the last year we only harvested 2 tonnes of grain. When ActionAid arrived, we realised that the problem was the chemicals we were using and that they had not only contaminated the soil and the groundwater in the entire area, but had caused the disappearance of the crabs from the canals. The solution? A fungus, a natural pesticide". That was how Mrs Tuyen, a 38-year-old woman from Chau Khanh, explained her meeting with ActionAid.
ActionAid involved twenty farmers in a project to spread the use of natural pesticides on 24 hectares of fields. Instead of buying chemical substances that are harmful to the soil, with the support of ActionAid, farmers have started using a fungus that naturally eliminates grasshoppers and bugs, which represent the main cause of the decimation of plantations. The farmers participated in a training course to learn how to grow the fungus themselves and then use it in the fields.
The results were incredible: 96% of the insects disappeared and those who used the fungus as a natural pesticide harvested 20-25% more than those who used chemical products. Another thirty farmers will take part in the project next year!
Mrs Tuyen said, "At first, we didn’t believe it would work. Then we harvested 2.4 tonnes of grain, 23% more than last year! With used the money we saved by avoiding chemical pesticides to buy school supplies for our children and a supply of seeds for next year. I think this change is very positive for the whole community and I hope that more and more farmers start using natural pesticides".