Illustrative image (Photo: vietnamnet)
With an annual income of more than 2.5 billion VND (111,200 USD), a farmer in the northern province of Quang Ninh has fellow farmers queuing up to learn his new techniques in agriculture production. 

For years, Pham Van Tan, 53, Cam Pha City's Mong Duong ward, has taught other households to apply technology to boost production and therefore improve their living conditions. 

Seeing the abundance of unused land and barren hills near his house, he decided to quit his job at Mong Duong Coal Joint Stock Company. He then asked local authorities for 59ha of land for planting trees to improve his financial situation. 

He had to use his family's savings and take a 30 million VND (1,335 USD) bank loan for his business. 

"At first, I thought finding capital was the most difficult thing but soon I realised my lack of knowledge in science and technology was a bigger challenge," Tan recalled. 

But with determination and the encouragement of local authorities, he visited places where he could learn planting techniques such as in Lang Son, Yen Bai. He even travelled to China to learn. 

He first found success in 1997 when his family nursed enough acacia seedlings for 10ha of forest. 

Five years later, the number of acacia seedlings by his family nursery was enough for the family's 30ha forest with the surplus sold to neighbouring farmers. 

The first batch of acacia trees were ready in 2000 but Tan didn't see much profit as the price for the trees was not high. 

Then in 2003, acacia became in demand. It is used in coal mining and as material for paper and plywood. He earned about 50 million VND (2,225 USD) per ha. 

The secret of his success lies in his planting method. According to Tan, planting acacia for paper material is not as effective as planting for a 10-year cycle. 

Thanks to this he earned about 200 million VND (8,900 USD), a fourfold increase compared to normal planting. 

Thanks to the vast area of land and abundant food, he bred white-leg shrimp at his 4ha pond. 

In 2009, Tan expanded the pond and started to breed shrimp on an industrial scale. Now, he harvests 20 tonnes of shrimp a year. 

Inspired by Tan's success, his fellow farmers decided to follow him and listened to his advice. As a result, many have escaped poverty. 

Apart from guiding other households on how to grow trees in an appropriate manner and how to breed shrimp, he created jobs for 30 labourers with an average income of 4 million VND (178 USD) per person per month. 

Thanks to his efforts, Tan was presented with certificates of merit by the Prime Minister.-VNA