A Visit to a Farmer Group in Lai Chau

During a field trip to study the feasibility of a potential ADDA project in Lai Chau, the working team of ADDA had the opportunity to visit a farmer group that had received funding from the Community Development among Ethnic Minorities Project, or so-called Song Da II, primarily through a Farmer Field School and later to establish themselves as a group. The group working with broilers was composed of farmers in Tà Lan Thàng Village, Tân Phong Commune, just outside Lai Châu Town in Lai Châu Province. The group was formed back in 2010 with 10 households as members. They meet every three months to exchange experiences on production and discuss market conditions and prices. The group has been providing small loans from their microcredit budget of 5 million VND to members for agricultural investments and special needs, for example health care.

Anh thu nhat
Meeting between ADDA working team and farmer group working on broiler at Tà Lan Thàng Village, Tân Phong Village, just outside Lai Châu Town, Lai Châu Province

There was a warm, open talk between the ADDA team and the group leader Mrs. Giàng Thị Niêng, a lady at the age of 46, who belongs to the small ethnic minority Day. Mrs. Niêng excitedly shared us her experiences: "I have been in the group from the start and each member was supported 20 chickens as a grant from ADDA. Some members chose to get more than 20, which they themselves paid for - I myself purchased additional 40 chicks. In order to have a good price, the group bought in bulk then allocated among members. After a production period of 3 months, the weight of each broiler that I raised was about 2.5 kg and the price was 80,000 VND/ kg (23 DKK/ kg), hence I earned over 10 million VND (nearly 2,800 DKK) for this flock. On the basis of this income, I expanded the production, bought 75 chicks and sold for over 12 million VND. At that time, the winter came and it was not suitable for broiler rearing. Therefore, I invested 6 million VND in breeding sows. Until now, the sow has bred 3 litters, in which 25 piglets have been sold and the total income is more than 80 million VND. The conditions for my production are favourable as home-grown maize is used to feed pigs and broilers".

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Mrs. Niêng feeding her flock of ducks

"However, the most pressing problem that the group and I myself are facing is the lack of capital to expand production as all members have currently borrowed money from commercial banks and there is no chance for further loans. Various livestock diseases cause considerably high death rates and the assistance of the state veterinary services is not sufficient. Further the area for maize production is shrinking as the town is growing out to rural areas."

The group and its members have undoubtedly encountered some challenges in production both in terms of financing and techniques. Nevertheless, they are making the most from available opportunities to share market information, access and analyse consumer demand so that they can change their production to reflect demand. Although the production in each individual household is relatively small-scale, they have started to increase their income from their livestock on the basis of the support from ADDA.