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Building greenhouses, keeping cattle at sea

Building greenhouses, keeping cattle at sea

Wednesday, September 11, 2013, 15:10 GMT+7

The bare islands off Vietnam’s coast in the open sea have become ‘greener’ in recent years thanks to a pilot cultivation and breeding project by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The three-year project, set to end next year, is meant to help improve the living conditions of naval soldiers and residents of the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago in the East Sea. The program has included the construction of greenhouses to grow different kinds of vegetables in a structure that protects them from the strong winds of the sea.

Cross-bred Sind cows have also been brought to the islands to promote animal husbandry. Sind cows are big and able to sustain harsh weather conditions.

In the last two years, seven cows have borne four calves, and four more will be born by the end of this year.

Surprisingly, the cows have grown well even though they don’t have enough grass and have to eat substitute food such as dried straw and leaves, paper, and cardboard, which animals on the mainland would never consume.

Dr. Ngo Quang Vinh, deputy head of the Institute of Agricultural Science for Southern Vietnam and chairman of the project, said the construction of two greenhouses, each of which is 100 square meters, on Song Tu Tay Island has just been completed.

One hundred domes acting as shelters from rain and 400 trays for vegetable cultivation have already been installed on other islands, such as Da Nam, Da Lat, Len Dao, and Co Lin, he said.

“We withstood two storms and a tropical low pressure system during the working trip to Truong Sa, and soldiers and locals gave us great support. They rolled up their sleeves to resume construction right after the rain stopped,” said Vinh.

“Last year, we brought daisies to the islands, and they have developed well there. Other kinds of flowers have also blossomed.

“Chickens, ducks, fertilizer, and other equipment have been sent to the island.”

Not only is the program helping soldiers stationed on Truong Sa, but it also supports the life and health of citizens living there, he added.

After the project ends, farming will be expanded to all of the islands in Truong Sa.

Besides this construction, the institute of agricultural sciences has trained soldiers and locals in farming techniques, said senior lieutenant colonel Nguyen Manh Cuong – head of Song Tu Tay Island.

A soldier stationed on the island said that Song Tu Tay now looks like a small farm in the countryside of Vietnam with flowers, vegetables and animals.

“I see that the island is peaceful and close to the mainland of Vietnam,” he said.

Tuoi Tre

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