Viet Nam, 14 Oct 2002 -- Today, the FAO Regional Office in Bangkok has issued the 2002 Y.S. Rao Award to five outstanding farmers from the Asia-Pacific Region. The farmers received the award from the minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand, HE Sora-at Klinpratoom, during the 2002 World Food Day Celebration in Bangkok.
Below please find the citation used during the ceremony to highlight the achievements of the farmer from Viet Nam.
Xuan Mai Phan Thi, Viet Nam, outstanding rice farmer
An outstanding rice farmer, Xuan Mai Phan Thi lives in Hamlet 1, My Tan Commune, Cai Be district of Tien Giang province in southern Viet Nam. Thirty-nine years old and with one daughter, Mrs Xuan is growing paddy since her marriage in 1990.
Initially, her family faced difficult times because their traditional farming methods produced low yields and income. Things changed for the better when new farming methods and high-yielding rice varieties were introduced to their village in 1997. “Integrated pest management gives us more income from rice growing”, says Mrs Xuan. Together with changes in agricultural policies, this has enabled Mrs Xuan to double output to more than 7 tonnes of paddy per hectare during the winter-spring crop and to 4/5 tonnes per hectare for the two remaining crops. The income has allowed the family to buy additional land and it now owns 3 hectares of farm, one-third of which is a fruit orchard.
Using her experience, she has taken part in the selection of high-yield rice varieties that are suitable for export. She is also encouraging other farmers to use the right quantities of fertilizers and pesticides to reduce ecological damage. Mrs Xuan is a guide and mentor to the village women as vice-chairperson of the local women’s union, which has 500 members. She says that she wants to help the low-income women farmers in her village and has given out D35 million (about US$2 000) in the form of rice seeds and cash loans. She will be repaid after the harvesting. She has also helped in setting up revolving funds, which provide interest-free loans to poor women farmers in the village.