Mr. Quyen and his wife were surprised at the increased income from growing off-season tomatoes. They have earned significantly more than they normally earn for their in-season crop. Mr. Quyen’s family was one of the six families chosen to model this off-season crop.
It is not easy at all to take care of off-season vegetables. Both my wife and I need to watch for weather changes, disease situations and the general health of the plants daily in order to care for them well.
YWAM Mercy has been working in their community for a number of years to help families escape from poverty. This is a rural community quite close to Hanoi. The main income for families is from agriculture, but because of traditional farming methods and a lack of understanding about potential markets, their agricultural products were not bringing in the income they needed to survive. YWAM Mercy works closely with community leaders and some agricultural consultants to help farmers increase harvest yields, produce safer vegetables by reducing the use of pesticides and chemicals, and to help them understand the market potential and transition to higher paying crops.
Last year we helped some farmers grow grafted tomatoes and green onions. This was a great success, which gave us confidence to try the much more technically challenging off-season tomatoes this March.
Families were carefully chosen through an interview process and by checking their cultivation land. Six families were selected to become models. We provided technical support and consultations. After three months, most of them have a good promising harvest. This process was also a learning time for the project Board of Management (BOM) members. They gained a lot of experience on how to choose suitable families for models, how to do land surveys, how to work with seedling suppliers, and especially how to make a farming business plan.
Mr. Mau (above in green) is taking great effort in planting off-season tomatoes, trying to learn all that he can.
We gained a lot of good experience in doing off-season tomatoes this time. We hope to have even more technical support in the coming season for an even better harvest.
Mrs. Lo (above) has made the extra effort of building a tent in the field to help her check her tomatoes more frequently and easily.
Mrs. Thiet, another farmer who was chosen (below), did six different kinds of vegetables at the same time and is thrilled to have a better income to feed her four children. Her off season tomatoes will also double her income and extend the harvest time.