Invigorating nutrition through home gardens in Vietnam
Vegetables provide key nutrients (minerals, vitamins, organic acids and fiber) required for health. The World Health Organization recommends adults consume a minimum of 400 grams of vegetables and fruit each day.
However, according to the most recent National Nutrition Survey in Vietnam (2010), average consumption is less than 190 g/person/day. Significant numbers of children under the age of 5 are malnourished in the country, and in rural mountainous areas, 25% of children are underweight.
To enhance availability of vegetables to ethnic communities (Thai, H’mong, Tay, Ede, Jo Jrai, and Kinh) in Vietnam’s Northwest and Central Highlands, the World Vegetable Center conducted six Trainer of Trainers courses and two Farmer Field Schools to create awareness about nutrition and health issues, and to help residents start home gardens and learn cultivation techniques for diverse vegetable crops.
The courses were held in Son La, Dien Bien, Lao Cai (Northwest) and Dak Lak (Central Highlands) with 231 clients (57% women) from public health centers, women’s unions, education centers, farmer associations, and agricultural extension centers at province, district, commune and village levels.
Home garden management techniques included soil preparation, garden designs for year- round vegetable production, how to select appropriate vegetable varieties, intercropping, composting, fertilizer application, and safe pest and disease control using integrated pest management methods.
The training courses strengthened links among community members as they shared their gardening experiences and harvests. Two years ago, 10 pilot gardens were established in each province. Now there are 84 gardens thriving in the highlands, providing families and communities with nutritious vegetables.
Story and photos: Ha To