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Vietnam: Positive development of VAC model in Ho Chi Minh City

In recent years, the economic model of gardens, fish, cattle and poultry farming (known as the VAC model) has seen rapid expansion in Ho Chi Minh City, contributing an active part to the economic development, especially poverty reduction, in the city's suburban and rural areas. Many households have become rich, holding out further prospects for this model.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the development of VAC model has helped diversify the cultivated crops and cattle-poultry model of urban agriculture which are suitable with local land and technical conditions to bring about high economic value.

The city now has nearly 10,000 hectares of fruit plants, mainly in Cu Chi and Binh Chanh districts and Thu Duc district and district 9. New varieties of fruit plants have been expanded, producing high yield and meeting the increasing needs of the city and exporters.

Fruit plants in the city are developed to serve production and to supply saplings to the Central Highlands region, the central and southeastern regions. Attention is being paid to improving the quality of fruit trees and resistance against insects.

^^^ Bonsai trees displayed at the centre of the city during Tet.

The restoration of traditional fruit plants for typical ecological areas has been promoted such as Long Hoa mango in Can Gio district, An Phu Dong grapefruit in district 12, and mangosteen along Saigon river. In addition, the growing of fruit plants is combined with the forming of eco-tourism services in Cu Chi and Can Gio districts.

In 1995, the area under cultivation for flower ornamental plants was estimated at nearly 25 hectares covered with traditional flowers of low economic value. Currently, the area has reached nearly 1,000 hectares and flowers and ornamental plants have become a new farming model which provides an income of ten times higher than rice cultivation. In recent years, the city has exported thousands of bonsai trees to earn a significant amount of foreign currency.

Besides raising pigs, fish and dairy cows, the rearing of wild animals has become a widespread solution to supply materials to restaurants and make traditional medicine. Nearly 200 households are producing ornamental fish and each is estimated to earn VND 120 million per year.

As a result, the VAC economy in Ho Chi Minh City has shown positive changes, helping many people escape from poverty and contributing to economic restructuring. The successful expansion of the VAC model in some areas proved the fact that even alum-contaminated soil can be meliorated for cultivation or tourist services.

Mr Tran Van Quan in Tan Thoi Nhi commune of Hoc Mon district is known as one of the most successful examples. On an area of 11,000 square metres, he raises fish and provides entertainment services such as fishing and eating. Many households in the commune have applied his VAC model, creating a large tourist area.

Meanwhile, Mr Kieu Luong Hong from Tan Kien commune of Binh Chanh district tried to improve over 6,000 square metres of alum-contaminated land to raise fish and plant flowers.

Recently, the Association of Gardeners and Farm Owners in Ho Chi Minh City was established with the aim of raising their production and contributing a part to the development of urban agriculture in the city.