|Photo by Radheeka Jirasinha|
Integrated farming is a whole farm management system which delivers more sustainable agriculture, that integrates livestock and crop production.
Nguyen Van Them lives in Thanh Thoi Commune, and is one of many rural farmers who rely on cattle farming and coconut cultivation for their sources of income. However, due to longer drier seasons and fluctuating market prices, the livelihoods did not prove to be stable.
Them went into frog and shrimp farming to take advantage of his strategic location near a river. He constructed canals to ensure the fresh flow of water for the frogs.
To feed his frogs he started farming worms as well. The result was an increase in frog numbers and size. Neighbouring households saw that his innovative idea of an integrated farming model was successful and soon a collaborative group on frog farming was formed. Farmers from other communes have met to share technical knowledge and practices.
Them continues to raise cattle and uses cattle dung along with compost made from worm faeces (vermicompost) for his fruit trees, thereby further adding to the integrated farming model.
More households are interested in joining the collaborative group as they have observed the success of the worm-frog farming model. Although Them and the other farmers currently sell their produce to the local market, there is potential to expand production to nearby cities.