PIANETA TERRA: La Nostra Amorevole Dimora
 
No Water Required! Dry Farming in Âu Lạc (Vietnam)   
Approximately 35 percent of the Earth’s total land surface area is comprised of arid and semi-arid regions.
The effects of climate change on our planet are unfortunately taking their toll with now many more new places
across the globe recently becoming parched when formerly rainfall and water for daily use was plentiful.


Hallo, eco-friendly viewers, welcome to Planet Earth: Our Loving Home. On today’s program, we’ll introduce some crops that require little to no water to cultivate. Farming in such a manner is called 『dry farming.』 We are delighted to take you to Bình Thuận province, in Central Âu Lạc (Vietnam) to see how Aulacese (Vietnamese) farmers are planting these types of drought-resistant crops in water-scarce environments.

Âu Lạc (Vietnam) is a tropical country. There are only two seasons per year, dry season and rainy season. The dry season lasts from November to May.

There is very little precipitation during these months. This time period is not ideal for conventional agricultural production. However, after years of practice, the wise Aulacese (Vietnamese) people have found the suitable vegetables and herbs and the right farming techniques which lead to plentiful harvests
even when there is no water to be found.

The successes of the farmers in Bình Thuận province demonstrates that it is possible to practice high-yield, sustainable agriculture in the many areas around the world which are facing water deficits.
Let’s now meet some of these able cultivators.


Tiến(m): In this dry season, we grow green pea, peanut, and creamy beans, because they’re drought resistant. As for turn-around time, peanuts take from 100-115 days, creamy beans and green peas take about 60-65 days to harvest. So wherever there is a shortage of water, we can grow these.

SupremeMasterTV: Do you irrigate when growing these beans?

Diễm: No.

SupremeMasterTV: You don’t water them at all? (No, not at all.) Are there a lot of locals around here cultivating these beans?

Diễm: A lot, from here to there, there are many! Each family has 5000, 2000, 3000 square meters… My family’s cultivating about 4000 square meters of beans.

SupremeMasterTV: What crops are you cultivating now?

Bằng (m): I am growing black sesame.

SupremeMasterTV: For this black sesame, do you need to water?

Bằng (m): For this black sesame, you don’t need to water. If we water, it dies. It doesn’t like water.

HOST(In English): The cost of cultivating these types of drought resistant crops is very low and the method is also relatively easy.

SupremeMasterTV: Please let us know what you are growing.

Yến (f): I’m planting sweet potato leaves.

SupremeMasterTV: When growing this plant, do you irrigate?

Yến (f): No, not at all, watering is a lot of work! No fertilizer at all. Just grow and eat, you need neither fertilizer nor irrigation.

SupremeMasterTV: How about insecticide?

Yến (f): No. No fertilizer, no insecticide.

Thái (m): It’s very simple! You just rake the soil with this hoe to loosen the soil, then we put down the sweet potatoes’ roots, then cover it with 15 to 20 centimeters of soil just normally. Later, it grows and crawls out like this, no need to water. Because it’s the highland here! Because in the highland, water is very rare! Where to find water? But growing these sweet potato leaves is very simple! After six, seven, eight months, we can dig up the sweet potatoes to eat. And the sweet potatoes have a lot of starch and are very nutritious for health.

SupremeMasterTV: Can you describe in detail how you grow the sesame, from plowing, to harvesting?

Lập (m): Sesame, in general is very easy to grow, because it’s drought resistant. It just costs us to plow the field After that, we scatter them on the ground, and cover it with soil. Then they will grow by themselves.

SupremeMasterTV: What is the benefit of growing sesame without irrigating?

Lập (m): Because the sesame is drought resistant, we save a lot of money! We save on irrigation, save on labor, many things. For example, if we cultivate crops like rice, watermelon or corn, or others, then the investment would be about 15 to 17 million VND (US$845 to US$958). But with sesame, the investment for 1 hectare would be about 4.5 to 5 million VND (US$263 to US$292) at maximum.
Meanwhile, the market price of the sesame is never less than 20,000 VND (US $1) for one kilogram!

SupremeMasterTV: Please tell us, how do you cultivate these bean crops?

Hoa (f): First we plough the field to loosen the soil, then we make holes and sow the bean.

SupremeMasterTV: Then after two and a half months, we harvest?

Hoa (f): Yes, after two and a half months, we harvest. No need for watering.

SupremeMasterTV: What is your technique to keep the soil damp?

Hoa (f): We just sow the bean seeds, then after they grow, their leaves spread out and keep the soil damp.

SupremeMasterTV: Do you use fertilizer when cultivating in this soil?

Hoa (f): No fertilizer, we don’t use fertilizer to grow bean crops.

Hòa (m): No need to fertilize, just cover it with soil, then the beans grow by themselves. No need for rain or irrigation.

SupremeMasterTV: So growing this crop, we get good harvest with little labor, right?

Bạc (m): Yes. Little labor! The only labor is harvesting them, because after we sow them, we weed once, and then do nothing else until harvest time.

HOST (in English): Every year, Aulacese (Vietnamese) farmers not only produce large amounts of nutritious food by way of dry farming, but their waterless system also greatly benefits the environment as no fertilizers or chemicals are used.

When we return, we’ll have more about this practical agriculture technique. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

HOST: Welcome back to Planet Earth: Our Loving Home, here on Supreme Master Television.

The dry season in Âu Lạc (Vietnam) lasts approximately six months. During this period, it is difficult for local farmers to cultivate vegetables that are typically planted during the other half of the year due to the very hot weather and water shortages.

Today’s program features dry farming methods, meaning the cultivation of crops with use of little or no water. This system is practiced in Bình Thuận province which is located in Central Âu Lạc (Vietnam).

Let us once again meet some of the intelligent and resourceful Aulacese (Vietnamese) farmers in this province who are harvesting bountiful crops without water.

SupremeMasterTV: What type of bean crops are you growing?

Hiền (f): High-yield beans, also called creamy beans, green peas, red beans, and black beans. But the most suitable is this high-yield creamy bean.

SupremeMasterTV: For bean crops, how long before we can harvest them?

Hiền (f): About 60 days.

SupremeMasterTV: What about the yield?

Hiền (f): If successful, then 1000 square meters can yield about 100 kilograms or more.

Hòa (m): For green peas, at 50 days it begins to give flowers, and about at 65 days we have ripe peas. Once it is ripe, if you want to, you can harvest those that are ripe, here and there.

But if you want to, you just leave it there until they all ripen, then harvest at the same time.
It is very profitable, more profitable than rice. Because with rice, for each 1000 square meters, after subtracting all the fees, the most we can earn is 300,000 VND to 500,000 VND (US$16 to US$28), not more.

But with these green peas, we cultivated an area of 2000 square meters over there, but only 1,600 square meters worked out, so we harvested 200 kilograms, 400 kilograms.

We harvested 200 kilograms, 400 kilograms, subtracted all fees, and we still earned 1 million VND (US$56) per 1000 square meters.

Tiến (m): Cultivating 1000 square meters of peanuts, we can earn about 3 million VND (US$168) without investing anything.

HOST:Another benefit of dry farming is that it can significantly improve soil quality.

SupremeMasterTV: What do you grow next after harvesting the sesame?

Lập (m): After harvesting the sesame, we cultivate rice. After harvesting rice, we go back to sesame.

SupremeMasterTV: So when you cultivate sesame between the two rice seasons, does it degrade the soil?

Lập (m): No. Growing sesame on any type of land like fields, hills or forests, or whatever, is always good for soil, just like the legumes because their leaves fall down, making the soil very porous.

It’s not like the corn or the rice. If we grow these types a lot, then we have to add more fertilizer. But sesame leaves make the soil porous, like did the legume’s leaves.

SupremeMasterTV: Does growing this creamy bean degrade the soil?

Tư: No! Growing this creamy bean will keep the soil good, because after we harvest it, we plough it up, it rots and adds nutrition to the soil.

SupremeMasterTV: You mean it becomes a natural fertilizer for planting rice later on?

Tư: Yes.

Hòa (m): If you do three rice seasons consecutively, the soil would be bad. But here we grow beans in-between rice seasons. Now that we rake and turn the bean plants and leaves down, they rot, giving moisture and becoming fertilizer. So first, it gives moisture; second, it fertilizes the soil; third, it makes the soil porous, not tightly packed.

HOST: What is the quality of dry farmed crops like?

SupremeMasterTV: What is the quality of these potato leaves?

Yến (f): Good quality.

SupremeMasterTV: How about its quality?

Bạc (m): We use these beans to make cakes, glutinous rice, desserts, all kinds of foods.

SupremeMasterTV: What about its quality?

Hảo: The quality is very good!

HOST: Given the many benefits that are associated with this style of cultivation, it is not surprising that dry farming has become more and more popular in Âu Lạc (Vietnam).

SupremeMasterTV: In this area, are there many people doing this?

Khánh (m): Yes, many people.

SupremeMasterTV: Does this way of cultivating make people feel encouraged? Are their lives better?

Khánh (m): Yes, they feel good and happy.

HOST: Using their wisdom, the Aulacese (Vietnamese) farmers of Bình Thuận province have successfully raised many types of vegetables with little or no water. We thank them for sharing their cultivation experiences with us. May farmers elsewhere in the world where water is scarce also benefit from implementing similar dry farming techniques.

 
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