Transforming former battlefields into productive farmland, planting over 1 million trees on former minefields in Central Vietnam
Since 2010, Roots of Peace has worked in Quang Tri province, Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, more bombs were dropped in this province than World War I and World War II combined. Over 75% of the land remains contaminated by explosive remnants of war.
For the past decade, Roots of Peace has worked to replace these minefields with flourishing crops. Our team trains farmers to grow high value crops and export to new markets, planting peace from the ground up.
3,850 Farming Families Trained
We believe in the multiplying effect of transferring knowledge to the entire community. Therefore, we focus on a mix of helping the farmers in the greatest need (40% of our farmers are either single mothers, ethnic minorities, landmine/UXO victims, or households in poverty) along with small farmers above the poverty line.
Removing Remnants of War
Issue: The Vietnamese government estimates that 80% of the land in Quang Tri remains uncleared of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) leaving the farmers to work their land in ever-present danger.
Solution: To address this, we formed a multi-pronged partnership where the US Department of State PM/WRA provided matching funding for the clearance of the land, the Vietnamese government helped identify the highest risk areas where there was a major need for farmers who met our project criteria while Mines Advisory Group cleared the land.
Impact: While many of our farmers have suffered injuries in the past from UXO, none of our farmers have been injured or killed due to UXO during or after project implementation as all land is either surveyed and cleared or physically clear by demining teams.
Combating pest & disease destroying the black pepper industry in Quang Tri, Vietnam
Issue: The pest called mealy bug and the disease called phytophthera were having devastating effects on the Central Coast pepper industry of Vietnam.
Solution: To address this, we developed a farm input package that when when packaged with a training program both addressed the issues causing the pest and disease, as well as strengthened the health of the overall farm.
Impact: The result was an industry that was on the brink of total collapse is now thriving with production levels nearing all-time highs.
Introduced new method for partnership with Vietnamese government
Issue: Supporting agriculture extension teams are an expensive proposition and while the trainings given to these extension agents help develop local industries the multiplying effect of the extension team network is lost once the program ends.
Solution: Our team knew of this issue and identified the opportunity to partner with the Vietnamese government to train their extension workers in ROP best practices to both minimize costs so that more donor dollars can go directly to the farmers as well as provide capacity building for the local government.
Impact: The results are that over 100 community leaders and government extension workers have been trained directly by an agricultural expert and over several years of partnership have now improved their capabilities to the point where ROP's support is no longer needed in many parts of the provinces where we have worked.
Promote the adoption of intercropping of cacao into existing cashew orchards
Issue: Global cacao demand has shown a strong history of maintaining a 5% annual growth rate in demand and as such many areas were being deforested to convert to cacao production.
Solution: Our team identified cacao intercropped with cashew as an opportunity to both improve farmer incomes and to incentivize them to focus on their existing plots of land and initiated a project that planted over 250,000 cacao trees and formed the foundation for a growing cacao industry in Binh Phuoc province.
Impact: This has led cashew farmers to have a new source of income while incentivizing them to focus on developing their existing orchards where cacao benefits from the shade offered by the cashew trees.
Introduction of high quality pepper to Quang Tri
Issue: Pepper farmers of Quang Tri are subject to global fluctuations in the commodity pricing of black pepper which leads them vulnerable to cyclical dips in pricing.
Solution: To combat this, our team in working in partnership with American spice companies identified opportunities to transition farmers to gourmet black pepper production which offers improved pricing.
Impact: This connection to a high value market allows farmers to improve their incomes and develop long-term relationships with buyers that ensures they have a strong market for their pepper moving forward.