During the hot summers in Thua Thien Hue province,
farmers can only water their plants in the early morning and late
afternoon. During the hottest part of the day, watering damages the young
plants. As a result, yields are low and farmers struggle to make a living
during the summer.
Mr. Sanh, a 62-year-old farmer, is one of the many
professional vegetable cultivators in Quang Thanh commune. He grows seven
different vegetable crops during the year on a monthly cycle. Mr. Sanh
agreed to install a drip irrigation system on 75 square meters of his land
to test its effect on a new crop of Chinese Cozla, a fast-growing
vegetable that can be harvested continually during the course of the
month. Mr. Sanh watered the remainder of the Chinese Cozla in the usual
way, by hand.
After only 10 days, the impact of the drip
irrigation was already visible. The plants fed by the drip system were
significantly larger and healthier than those watered by hand. With water
applied directly to the roots of the plants, the soil around them was kept
constantly moist even during the hottest part of the day. While the other
plants were beginning to droop, Mr. Sanh was harvesting Chinese Cozla from
the drip site on a daily basis.
couldn’t believe it; my yield nearly doubled, and it was so easy.”
Not only that, but due to the efficiency of the
drip system, the crop only took 25 days to mature rather than the usual
month, allowing time to grow
another crop during the year.
Based on his experience, Mr. Sanh decided to
purchase a drip system to grow spring onions, which have almost double the
value of Chinese Cozla but are difficult to hand water due to their
fragile leaves. Mr. Sanh was prepared to pay $15-$20 for a system that
would cover a 100 square-meter plot, an investment he expects profits from
that plot alone to repay – with about $5 in surplus profits – after
the first harvest.
Other farmers in Mr. Sanh’s commune have expressed
interest in buying drip systems. The Chairman of the People’s Committee,
Mr Ly, has seen the results and has promised to allocate revolving loans
for poor farmers to buy their own drip systems.