Farmers benefit from organic farming initiated by sisters

People buy organic vegetables in front of a convent of the Mary Queen of Peace Congregation in Buon Ma Thuot City. (Joachim Pham)

Hue City, Vietnam — Mary Tran Thi Thu is busy every day watering, weeding, hoeing and fertilizing vegetable beds on her 3,000-square-yard farm.

Thu, 52, uses traps to kill insects and butterflies at night and catches caterpillars by hand to keep them from feeding on crops.

She makes organic fertilizers by mixing pig feces with dry leaves, rice stubble, husk and lime before composting them.

She said she sells some 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of Malabar spinach, snow peas, okra, amaranth, centella asiatica, houttuynia, gourds, sweet potato and mushrooms to local people and nursery schools every day. Her vegetables cost from 6,000 to 12,000 dong (25-50 cents) per kilogram.

"People prefer our organic produce because we do not use pesticides and artificial fertilizers for vegetables," she says.

"We are happy that we have paid off 25 million dong ($1,100) we borrowed from the bank to build our house in the past," Thu says.

"As Catholics, we grow fresh organic produce for the common good rather than private interests," she says, adding they have to work harder than other farmers in the area who use chemicals to plant vegetables for retail clients.

Read the full story on Global Sisters Report.

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