Over 700 households across four districts in the central province of Quang Tri, one plagued by unexploded ordnance (UXO) left over from the war, have benefitted from a sustainable agriculture development project funded by the US’s non-governmental organisation the Roots of Peace (ROP).

Implemented from 2011-2013 in Vinh Linh, Gio Linh, Huong Hoa and Cam Lo districts, the project’s first phase helped farmers – mostly victims of UXOs and Agent Orange/dioxin - and poor families in the locality increase their incomes by assisting them in planting peppers, thus securing sustainable livelihood for local people.

After three years of implementation, the project has established 18 farming clubs in six communes with 453 members. Through the clubs, the project has offered training in pepper cultivation techniques to more than 5,700 people.

It has also provided fertiliser, plant-protection chemicals and seeds to farmers participating in the project.

So far, ROP has provided Quang Tri people with assistance worth 1.8 billion VND (nearly 86,000 USD). It also worked with other non-governmental organisations operating in the locality to clear areas covered by UXOs in order to extend more cultivation areas for local people to farm pepper.

At present, over 65 percent of pepper trees in project areas has high productivity and output. The area of pepper farming has expanded more and more, increasing to 859.2 ha from 717.5 ha in 2011.

At the December 11 conference to review the implementation of the project’s first phase, representatives from the project’s management board said the scale of the project will be expanded in the time to come to support more local disadvantaged households.-VNA