Nguyen Hoang Duy Luu has been passionate about clean agriculture for as long as he can remember.
After graduating from Nong Lam (Agriculture-Forestry) University in Ho Chi Minh City in 2011, he decided to turn his passion into a career by signing on with the city's Hi-Tech Agricultural Park.
“I’m not a pessimist, even in the face of failure," Luu said.
"When I come to a roadblock I consult with my colleagues and manager.
"I also attempt to experiment with the objects in my study in order to seek out ways to overcome the problem."
Perhaps such perseverance is why the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Union awarded Luu the title of ‘Exemplary Youth’ this year.
Contributions to Vietnam’s high-tech agriculture
Luu’s fascination with agriculture has centered primarily on cantaloupe plants.
One of his first projects, growing cantaloupes with non-soil materials in greenhouses using high technology, focused on producing massive amounts of cantaloupes free of pests and diseases in a 1,000-square-meter facility.
The experiment was so successful that Luu’s cantaloupe crop wound up pulling in VND130 million (US$5,600) in revenue.
It also earned him the 2013 Luong Dinh Cua prize awarded by the Youth Union Central Committee to young people with significant contributions in the field of agriculture.
“The project has helped to both promote the use of technology in agricultural production and to provide the market with clean products,” Luu told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Following the success of his first project, Luu went on to participate in two additional national-level projects, which focused on growing cantaloupes and chilies with non-soil materials in greenhouses using drip irrigation systems.
“My colleagues and I developed our initiatives together. Some problems only take about a year to solve, but developing an entire technical process can take two to five,” Luu shared.
He also works on a voluntary city-level science team to hold seminars and introduce young people and farmers from rural areas to hi-tech agriculture and techniques for growing cantaloupes, vegetables, and ornamental trees.
Luu and his partners have set up the Voluntary Science initiative — a project which connects with agriculture scientists in the fields of forestry, microbiology, aquaculture, and processing.
Learning good deeds
Luu has long lived by a simple motto: 'Learning good deeds is as difficult as climbing a mountain; Learning bad deeds is as easy as slipping and falling down the side of a mountain.”
He has seen that motto hold true in his personal life.
His older brother proved to be an example of just how easy it is to 'fall down the side of a mountain' when he dropped out of the prestigious Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology.
To help bring this motto to life for up-and-coming agriculturalists, Luu works as a facilitator for the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Union’s ‘Book Bus’ and as an organizer for youth visits to the Hi-Tech Agricultural Park.
“I hope the students who go on these trips gain a better understanding of clean agriculture as well as develop a sense of enthusiasm for nature," Luu said
His latest three initiatives include a startup support model, technology for growing cantaloupes using muddy water in the city’s Can Gio District, and using algal and mineral solutions to grow eggplants, chilies, vegetables, cucurbits, and bitter melons.
Luu said his cantaloupe-growing method is already being implemented in parts of Can Gio and will be expanded in 2020.