Vietnam Time

5/28/2018 8:55:50 AM

From waste to fertilizer, opportunities for Vietnamese agriculture

(VNF) - According to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development  Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Vietnam’s agricultural production faces a serious imbalance in the use of organic and inorganic fertilizers, resulting in a negative impact on the environment and quality of agricultural products.

A "safe vegetables" farm in Hòa Vang District, Đà Nẵng. The central city plans to recycle human waste into liquid fertiliser and use it on a wide scale (source: VNA)

The role of organic fertilizers in clean agriculture

At present, Vietnam consumes about 11 million tonnes of fertilizer each year, of which more than 90% is chemical fertilizers (2016 statistics showed that Vietnam imported about 4.2 million tonnes of chemical fertilizers worth USD 1.25 billion), and organic fertilizer only accounts for approximately 1 million tonnes. On average, every hectare cultivated in Vietnam absorbs more than 1 tonne of chemical fertilizer each year, a high level compared to other countries in the region.

When using chemical fertilizers, about 30-50% of the fertilizer is used by the plants, the rest will evaporate and be washed away, polluting the environment. Meanwhile, with 84.5 million tonnes of solid waste discharged by the livestock industry every year, if animal farms can use advanced technology to produce organic fertilizers from animal waste, environmental pollution will be reduced in a sustainable way.

Livestock waste has become a grave problem for Vietnam (Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development)

In the restructuring program, the agricultural sector is striving to produce clean and high-quality products and accelerate integration into the global distribution chain of agricultural products. Organic fertilizers have proven highly effective in achieving clean and high-quality agricultural products.

In addition to releasing vital nutrients as they break down, organic fertilizers improve the makeup of the soil and increase its ability to hold water and nutrients. Over time, organic fertilizers make soil and plants healthier and stronger.

The demand for organic fertilizers
According to Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong, the demand from the domestic market alone is very high. Suppose that one hectare needs 10 tonnes of organic fertilizers, Vietnam will need 200 million tonnes. Right now, organic agricultural production using organic fertilizers only covers an estimated 43,000 hectares of land in Vietnam.

The agricultural waste and by-products, which could reach up to 60-70 million tonnes a year, along with about 20 million tonnes of aquatic waste, could yield a significant supply of materials to make organic fertilizers.

Vietnam has favorable conditions to produce organic fertilizers and farmers are being urged to use organic fertilizers to ease the imbalance in cultivation and create clean agriculture.

Prospect of the development and use of organic fertilizer

According to Le Quoc Doanh, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, in the coming time, there will be many policies to encourage enterprises to collect organic fertilizer from agricultural waste byproducts as well as encourage the production of organic agricultural products in order to improve the quality and competitiveness for agricultural products in Vietnam.

The government issued Decree 108/2017/ND-CP on fertilizer management to encourage legitimate producers and eradicate fake products. This legal framework will facilitate the development of organic fertilizers.

Recently, many large businesses are already producing organic fertilizers. They have conducted research, organized production and promoted links with farmers to strengthen the use of organic fertilizers in agricultural production.

Remarkably, Vietnam has carried out a number of international cooperation programmes on animal waste treatment (with FAO, the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Belgium, etc.), with a noteworthy example being the Low Carbon Agricultural Support Project under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The project, using loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and aiming to seek a comprehensive solution for livestock waste disposal, is receiving strong support from farmers throughout the country.

In the context of climate change, Vietnam has adopted a number of policies and technologies for comprehensive management of animal waste.

A modern pig raising facility in Denmark (Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) 

In the past five years, the Low Carbon Agricultural Support Project (LCASP) funded by loans from the ADB, has developed livestock waste solutions for medium and large scale farms, specifically the development of small-scale biogas systems, the production of organic fertilizers and the treatment of post-biogas liquid waste to be used as liquid organic fertilizer.

To effectively treat livestock waste and protect the environment, the LCASP project provides an environmental package for biogas plants, including: disinfected pits or faucets for washing hands and feet when going into and out of breeding facilities, thus preventing infection; a waste collection system to ensure the amount of waste suitable to the treatment capacity of the biogas plant; a separation system for collecting solid waste for organic fertilizer; reservoirs or sedimentation tanks; filter tanks to treat wastewater discharged from biogas tanks prior to fertilizer application; and equipment to thoroughly use gas. 

According to Manohar Shrestha - Senior Consultant for LCASP, the project has seen very enthusiastic participation of farm households and farms in the construction of biogas tanks of different sizes and application of different technologies in the production of organic fertilizer.

She also noted that LCASP is conducting research and demonstration of technologies such as biogas generator, fertilizer separator, organic fertilizer production. Capacity building and training are also important parts of the project.

"At present organic production in the world is very developed and the LCASP will contribute to making Vietnam one of the leading organic agriculture countries", she said.

As of December 2017, the LCASP project has supported the construction of more than 50,000 small works, 19 medium and 2 large scale projects. 

The package also includes training and educating people about the environment of animal husbandry to ensure that they prevent the spread of livestock diseases, properly discharge waste from biogas digester, and treat leftover waste by other means without discharging directly emission gas to the environment.

In the past few years, Vietnam has implemented several international cooperation programs and projects that have brought about practical effects in the management of waste and protection of livestock.

However, the scope of these projects is limited while the livestock sector in Vietnam is facing increasingly severe environmental pollution.

The Director of LCASP Nguyen The Hinh said: “In order to achieve our committed goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Vietnam is in great need of help from international organizations to build 300,000 to 500,000 small-scale biogas plants in the period from now until 2030. In addition, Vietnam needs support and technology transfer from developed countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands for large-scale treatment of animal waste into organic fertilizer. The amount of waste in the livestock sector is huge so the conversion of the waste into bioenergy and organic fertilizer will generate billions of US dollars for the national economy."

To thoroughly handle environmental pollution in livestock breeding, the State should increase the budget for surveys and surveys on animal breeding environment and environmental protection. Localities should encourage units and individuals to engage in environmental protection in animal husbandry. In addition, it is necessary to promptly report to higher management agencies on polluted areas and polluting establishments so as to work out measures to address the problems, toward reducing the pollution burden in the future./.

  ( VNF )
[ Back ]
  •   
  •  

Send comment

Code
Video