3.1 Lessons learned from the Vietnam Cassava Program
Vietnam Cassava Program support by MARD in close cooperation with CIAT of the the Nippon Foundation project, promoted the rapid multiplication and wide distribution of high-yielding and high-starch varieties, and the adoption of sustainable cassava production practices, especially in the Central Coast, Central Highlands and Northern mountains and uplands. Ten million stakes of new varieties, mainly KM94, KM98-5 and KM140, were distributed to various provinces in this project. Up to now, year 2007/08, more than 350,000 ha of cassava in Vietnam were planted with new varieties; this corresponds to about 75- 80% of the total cassava area in the country.
Cassava yields and production in several provinces have doubled, stimulated by the construction of new large-scale cassava processing factories. New high-yielding cassava varieties and more sustainable production practices have increased the economic effectiveness of cassava production. Year 2004, example, with the establishment of new processing factories and increases in yield and starch content resulted in increased production of 2,225 thousand tonnes of fresh roots (371.500 ha x 6,07 t/ha= 2.225 tonnes or 578 thousand tonnes of starch; this means that approximately 814 billion VND (51,89 million US$) per year were added to farmers’ income (Table 7).
Many farmers have become rich by growing cassava. In An Vien and Doi 61 communes in Dong Nai province, for example, 97% of the agricultural land has poor gray sandy soil. Previously, farmers grew the old cassava varieties Gon and HL23 with average yields of about 9–12 t/ha. In recent years, by growing new high-yielding varieties and applying improved cultural practices, the average yield in this commune increased up to 16-32 t/ha. Many farmers are now growing varieties KM94, KM140 and KM98-5, obtaining 25-35 t/ha in areas of 3-5 hectares. In the Central provinces of Vietnam, the total variable cost of cultivation in 2007 was about US$ 455- 567.5/ha, at an average root yield of 22.0 t/ha, the production cost would be US$ 20.68- 25.79 /t fresh roots. Gross income is US$ 1,155- 1,237.5 /ha. Net income is US$ 670 - 700/ha.
Main experiences in linking cassava R&D activities in Vietnam include: 1) Establishment of the Vietnam Cassava Program (VNCP) including advanced cassava farmers, researchers, extension worker, managers of cassava research and development projects, cassava trade and processing companies, and 2) The establishment of on-farm research and demonstration fields (farmer participation research FPR), and 3) Ten mutual link-up activities (10 T – in Vietnamese):
1. Thu nghiem Trials
2. Trinh dien Demonstrations
3. Tap huan Training
4. Trao doi Exchange
5. Tham vieng Farmer tours
6. Tham quan hoi nghi dau bo Farmer field day
7. Thong tin tuyen truyen Information, propaganda
8. Thi dua Competition
9. Tong ket khen thuong Recognition, praise and reward
10. Thanh lap mang luoi nguoi nong dan gioi Establish good farmers’ network
3.2. The potential of cassava as a bio - fuel feedstock
Using cassava in bio- ethanol production is also a growing interest in Vietnam. On 9th March, the Vietnamese Petroleum Services and Tourism Company (Petrosetco) and Japan's Itochu Co-operation signed a Memorandum of Understanding to set up a joint venture to build a bio-ethanol plant in Vietnam, the first one in Vietnam. This US$100 million project will turn out 100 million liters (26.4 million gallons) of ethanol each year from cassava chips, which will be sold in Vietnam to mix in petrol used in industrial production and transport activities, reducing the country’s petrol imports and environmental pollution. The plant located in the Hiep Phuoc industrial zone, HoChiMinh is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2009. It is estimated that if a 10 percent ethanol ratio is introduced in HCM city, some 100 to 150 million liters will be needed with the input of about 300 thousand tons of tapioca chips per year.
On November 20, 2007, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, on behalf of the Prime Minister, approved “the scheme on bio-fuel development to 2015 and the vision to 2025”, aiming to produce bio-fuels and partly replace traditional fuels, contributing to ensure energy security and environment protection (http://www.binhdinhinvest.gov.vn/En/default2.htm )
On December 13th 2007, at Nhon Hoi Economic Zone Administration (NEZA) office, Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Toan, Vice Director of NEZA welcomed and worked with the representative of Vietnam Petrol and Transportation Company (Falcon Shipping Company), a member of Vietnam Marine Group, who came and searched for the investment opportunities in NEZ. The attendants included the representatives of functional departments in NEZA.
According to Mr. Tao-Chairman of Petrosetco, the two most potential raw material areas are the Southeast and Central Highlands and the current volume of tapioca chips exported of 1.2 million tons per year has been sufficient under the annual capacity of 400 million liters of ethanol.
3.3. Implication for cassava research and development.
Impact simulations indicate that root and tubers will play economically important and increasingly diversified roles in developing country food systems over the next two decades (2020 vision by IFPRI and CIP: Gregory J.Scott, Mark W. Rosegrant, Claudia Ringler 2000). Vietnam is a classic example of how cassava can contribute to rural industrialization and development. Previously, people were reluctant to grow cassava because they thought that cassava caused soil degradation and produced low profits. But in reality one hectare of cassava can produce 60-80 tones of fresh roots and leaves. The situation has changed because of the development of sustainable cultivation techniques and new high-yielding varieties with the availability of a large and growing market demand. Cassava has become a cash crop in many provinces of Vietnam. Cassava chips and starch is now being produced competitively, and cassava markets are promising. The combination of wide spread production of fresh cassava roots and the processing of cassava into chips starch and ethanol has created many jobs, has increased exports, attracted foreign investment, and contributed to industrialization and modernization of several rural areas.
After eighteen years of development (1991-2008), intensive cassava research and extension have changed cassava from being a food crop to being an industrial crop. Vietnam cassava starch is now very promising for export and domestic use. VNCP was agreed to emphasize the following seven topics:
1. Determination of an appropriate strategy for cassava research and development
2. Selection of cassava doubled haploid lines derived from materials of CIAT and applying mutation in cassava breeding; Selection and dissemination of high-yielding varieties with high starch contents; Selection and development varieties with high root yield, short duration and improvement of quality and nutritional valua of cassava
3. Research on integrated cultivation techniques and transfer of appropriate cultivation techniques to farmers to increase the productivity and economic efficiency of cassava production in different eco-regions.
4. Cooperation with processing factories in establishing areas with a stable source of raw materials; Use of cassava for bio- ethanol.
5. Research on the development of cassava processing technologies; Use of cassava leaves and roots in animal feeds and food processing.
6. Structural improvement and development of the extension network.
7) Development of local and export markets for cassava products.
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