Growing a future - Vietnam’s budding sustainable forestry sector

June 25, 2020

Growing a future - Vietnam’s budding sustainable forestry sector Photo: NDF

In a tree nursery in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam, a Nordic Climate Facility (NCF) project supports local women in growing more sustainable and inclusive livelihoods – one seedling at a time

With funding from NCF and the support of NEPCon, Spark and SEPON, a nursery in the Cam Lo district has joined an innovative and comprehensive project in the province. The project aims to support Quang Tri’s forest sector in becoming more sustainable while creating better and more inclusive livelihoods for local communities.

Planting for a sustainable forest sector

Even though sustainable forest management under certification schemes comes with many economic and environmental benefits, certification is not widespread in the province. This is mostly because smallholder farmers in the area lack technical knowledge, relevant business connections and finance. To achieve the project’s goal, partners are working together to build the foundation for a local supply chain of certified wood in Cam Lo – from forest to factory.

The local farmers’ production of sustainable wood – and the income it generates - can only ever be as good as the seedlings the wood is grown from. Which is why one of the project's activities is to set up high-quality nurseries to provide enough affordable, high-quality seedlings for the farmers by expanding the greenhouse space, improving the irrigation systems, providing high-quality parent acacia plants, giving technical support for workers, as well as, training project staff and local experts.

Consequently, the seedling nursery has now expanded to twice its original size and doubled the number of seedlings it can produce each year. In 2019, the nursery provided farmers with about 1.5 million cuttings of superior quality. With seedlings of this quality, the income of these forest farmers is estimated to grow by a third over the next five years, because it allows them to increase the productivity of their plantations.

“The support we received through the project has motivated me to keep improving the nursery. We can now produce trees at a price that is 30 per cent lower than the market price for the same quality and will receive more orders from farmers with the support from the project. This allows me to keep upgrading and expanding the production in the future,” says nursery owner Le Ngoc Hoan.

A stable livelihood

As a result of the expansions and new growing practices, the nursery has created more jobs for the local community. It has almost doubled its work force, which now consists mostly of local women, some of which are living with disabilities. And while this has helped the nursery produce more responsibly grown seedlings for farmers, it has also made a big difference for the women.

“What I earn now will not make me rich, but it brings the necessary stability to my family. I do not live from hand to mouth” says nursery employee Nguyen Thi Khang,

The project in Quang Tri will continue through 2020. Other key project activities include:

  • Training 500 leaders of farmer associations in sustainable forest management techniques
  • Training local wood processing companies in better practices and certified production
  • Raising local authorities’ awareness of sustainable forest management and arranging visits to sustainable forest management initiatives in the province

You can read more about the project here.

Article written by NEPCon

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