More Trees Project

More Trees Project

Project Area: Mountainous districts in Hoa Binh and Ha Tinh provinces in Northern Vietnam

Project Period: October 2010 – September 2013

Budget: USD 1,600,000

Challenges

The project addresses the serious problem of forest and land degradation in mountainous areas. A problem mainly caused by overexploitation of the forest resources and by unsustainable land-use practices. The problem is further aggravated by the lack of an efficient model for response through organised extension or farmer self-help.
For the individual farmers the difficulties caused by forest and land degradation may be summarised as follows:

• Risk of erosion and loss of soil nutrients. A large proportion of the present cultivation is taking place on steep slopes with difficult accessibility and high risk of erosion and soil depletion.
• Low income and food security. A large proportion of the local population is dependent on the local maize and cassava production and has very few other means of income and food security
• Limited access to information. Remoteness and infrastructure problems slow down the flow of information in the uplands. In addition a large proportion of the upland farmers belong to ethnic minorities that have their own spoken languages and many, especially women, are not able to speak or read Vietnamese, which severely limit their access to extension services. This also limits their general participation in civil society which again limits their possibilities for influencing their own situation and benefitting from joint initiatives or networks.

The challenge facing the Vietnamese upland farmer is how to best manage his/her land in order to ensure production and at the same time minimize soil degradation at affordable cost. Even though tree planting appears to be one of the obvious solutions, farmers are often reluctant to increase tree growing due to relatively high establishment costs, seed and seedling supply problems, relatively long production periods, low awareness of market possibilities and limited management information.

Project strategies

The project addresses the above problems by promoting trees for income increase and diversification, for sustainable land use and erosion control and for climate adaptation in a way that also contribute to capacity building of local institutions and to democratisation and civil society strengthening.

More specifically the project addresses the above problems as follows:

• Limited access to relevant information on tree growing. The project establishes farmer field schools in tree growing and marketing. The project develops a curriculum for teaching agro-forestry and farm forest extension thus ensuring a steady output of farmers and future extension staff with good knowledge of agro-forestry and farm forestry.
• Limited access to quality seed and seedling supply. The project seeks to ensure access to verified improved seed and seedlings by assisting farmer groups and network as well as the farm forest self-help service in developing agreements with seed and seedling suppliers.
• Limited marketing skills, information and coordination. The project disseminates information on improved farm forestry and capacitates farmers to establish a tree-growers network or association focusing on small scale wood marketing and farm forestry in order to make the target groups capable of handling their challenges professionally and by themselves.

Project organisation

The project is implemented by the Danish NGOs Danish Forestry Extension (DFE) and Agricultural Development Denmark Asia (ADDA) and with Hoa Binh and Ha Tinh Province Farmers' Unions and the North Vietnam College of Agriculture and Rural Development as local partners.

The responsibility of Hoa Binh and Ha Tinh Province Farmers' Unions' include field implementation of the project, including training, group formation, group activities, networking and establishment of a tree growers' association/cooperative. Each Farmers' Union monitors and coordinates the work of groups and facilitators.

The North Vietnam College of Agriculture and Rural Development is responsible for implementation of the development of the new curriculum for training future farm forest advisors and documentation and information of options and opportunities for farm forestry networks.