Building a sustainable future through backyard farming
Thao has been a member of the Ky Son village credit and savings scheme in Hoa Binh province since 2006. Annually, around 1,700 families participate in both the savings and credit models. Over the years, this ChildFund-supported initiative has been vital in enabling local families to expand their farming production, as well as develop small businesses.
In addition to this, Thao and members of her community have actively participated in other ChildFund-supported programs. This includes receiving training on pig and chicken rearing, and learning about new techniques for growing rice and maize.
Like many women in her village, Thao has utilised the opportunities and lessons provided by these initiatives to invest in backyard farming. This is important, as it has allowed Thao to grow and develop a sustainable livelihood for her family.
“I started with a loan of VND 800,000 (about $50). Initially, I bought one mother pig, and then I gradually invested in pig and chicken rearing. This farming has brought good benefits to our family,” Thao shared.
Thao has now taken on her seventh loan, at the value of $350. She plans to pay this back over the next 13 months. With these funds, the family has just purchased 150 newly hatched chickens to replace the mature ones.
The family also has two sows and fourteen grown pigs. Annually, the sows give birth four times. She plans to sell half of the piglets and keep raising the others. “By doing this, we have money to keep the business running in the long term,” Thao explains.
Thao adds that by investing in backyard farming, she no longer needs to worry about providing food for her family of seven, as the family`s income has increased. Her two daughters are now also studying at preschool and primary school.
“Every year, it costs me around VND 6,000,000 ($370) to pay for the children`s school fees, but it is no longer a struggle to pay this amount,” she says.
“I hope to continue to support my girls throughout their education, as by doing this, I believe they can live a better life than we do today.”
At the end of September 2015, the Ky Son village savings and credit fund was handed over to the local women`s association. ChildFund will continue to help with the running of the scheme over the next three years before the organisation does the final evaluation, and gives the community full responsibility of the fund`s management.