Typical S&T intellectual in 2017: Eng. Pham Van Thanh – Author of the improved VACVINA biogas model

Posted at: THUrsday - 09/11/2017 16:27 - post name: Cộng tác viên

Eng. Pham Van Thanh

Eng. Pham Van Thanh

In recent years, the livestock movement has developed extensively in rural areas throughout the country, bringing high economic efficiency to livestock households. However, because of massive development, the rural environment is severely polluted in many places due to livestock waste.

The collection and treatment of livestock waste is a difficult problem for many rural areas. In that situation, Eng. Pham Van Thanh - Director of the Center for Rural Communities Research and Development (CCRD) under the Vietnam Gardening Association has researched and improved biogas digester technology (on the basis of inheriting and promoting advantages and correcting disadvantages of other types of digester, easy to build, suitable for the general level of rural masons, optimal saving of land area when combined with composting toilets, lower costs and meeting the requirements of different scales of animal breeding in rural areas) and replicated the model across the country, contributing to safely treat livestock waste, create gas for living and protect the environment.

Taking advantage of various international funding sources through self-mobilization of resources, especially foreign non-governmental funding (KOICA/Korea, EEP Mekong/Finland, ETC/Netherlands...), Eng. Pham Van Thanh and his colleagues have promoted the development of VACVINA biogas model in several provinces: Hoa Binh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Vinh Long, Dong Thap and Tra Vinh etc. This program has made important contributions to the success of the “New Rural Development Program” in many localities. In the past years, Thanh and his co-workers have organized training courses on technology transfer and trained 260 technical officers of such localities on skills of building and operating biogas plants. He and his co-workers have guided the people to build more than 4,600 effective biogas plants, helping local residents access and use renewable energy (biogas) efficiently for their livelihoods, reducing deforestation and protecting the environment. With the number of models having been deployed, the total number of biogas plants in the Vietnam Gardening Association’s network has increased to 17,650. The biggest effect produced by the VACVINA biogas digesters is to effectively use animal wastes, making pig, chicken, buffalo and cow barns clean, free of mosquitoes and to create a free gas source for cooking, avoiding deforestation for firewood. In addition, the fertilizer collected after treatment in the digesters is very hygienic, easy to be absorbed by plants; the vegetables using this fertilizer are free of disease germs, helminthes etc.

With these positive results, Thanh and his partners have organized 240 field meetings to raise awareness among over 12,000 farmer households in 8 provinces above on the related issue, raising people’s awareness on livestock development and environmental protection with a view to replicate the model to many localities. These field meetings have promoted the use of biotechnologies (biogas technology and household-based bio-fertilizer production technology), contributing to sustainable agricultural development and environmental protection; Development of VAC models adaptive for climate change.

As the Director of CCRD, Eng. Pham Van Thanh has also deployed a number of scientific research projects and applied them to sustainable agriculture based on the development of organic fertilizer production model in households to improve the efficiency of VAC integrated farming system. A typical topic is “Developing the process of producing bio fertilizers from agricultural waste and biogas waste” assigned by Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) in 2005.

The project has introduced a simple, easy-to-apply technological process of producing bio fertilizers from agricultural waste and biogas with benefits in all aspects: economy – society - environment. During the period from 2010 to 2017, Thanh took advantage of funding from international organizations and encouraged CCRD officers and employees to cooperate with provincial Gardening Associations to apply the above project’s results to practice.

In addition to raising awareness on clean agricultural production and environmental protection, Thanh and his co-workers have focused on guiding and transferring bio-fertilizer production technology to farmers in different regions to replicate the model. Through collaboration with provincial Gardening Associations, he has promoted and encouraged over 2,400 key farmer households in the province to apply this model, especially the ethnic minority people in Hoa Binh, Son La, Thanh Hoa, Quang Binh and Dien Bien. On average, each household produces over 8,000 tons of bio-fertilizer each year.

Taking advantage of EU, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO/UN) and AUSAID (Australia) funding sources, Thanh has directly managed CCRD in cooperation with VACVINA in localities to transfer technique and develop some VAC adaptive to climate change conditions to stabilize livelihoods for farmers.

In 2 years of 2012, 2013, Thanh and his co-workers collaborated with the Gardening Associations of Thanh Hoa, Soc Trang and An Giang, the Civil Society Inclusion in Food Security and Poverty Elimination Network (CIFPEN, including 51 members of VUSTA) in researching and completing a number of models such as planting red dragon fruit, raising rice-field crabs, raising square head anabas, raising chickens and pigs using biological pads, etc. Total number of over 60 models implemented in these three provinces have been highly productive and profitable and are considered as stable livelihood solutions and can be replicated to increase income for farmers. Currently, these models are being maintained sustainably and are a good place to visit, learn and share experience on poverty reduction and agricultural development in response to “climate change”.

These models are of great interest to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). FAO considered them as typical models and made a propaganda reportage on a positive solution for family-scale agriculture on World Food Day 2013 to replicate the model in developing countries of the Asia-Pacific region (FAO/Vietnam Farm Biogas: http://www.thebioenergysite.com/articles/316/viet-nam-farm-biogas).

Despite his position as the Director of CCRD, Eng. Pham Van Thanh is still learning and improving his qualification in specialty, foreign languages, information technology and other professional skills etc. to fulfill assigned tasks. Moreover, he made great efforts to mobilize domestic and international resources/funding sources as well as developed cooperative relationships with domestic departments, sectors and organizations and international organizations to realize the Center’s tasks and strategic objectives. Therefore, in addition to being CCRD Director, Eng. Pham Van Thanh has been voted as the Chairman of the Civil Society Inclusion in Food Security and Poverty Elimination Network and Land Alliance by many member organizations of VUSTA. Together with this Network and Alliance, besides the provision of advanced science and technology to sustainable agricultural development, Thanh has also greatly contributed to the consultancy and review on national food security policies and social supervision of effective land administration.

As the head of CCRD, Eng. Pham Van Thanh has always paid attention to the recruitment, assignment and arrangement of staffs in line with their abilities and capacity to make full use of their potential to serve the work. He also regularly encourages and assigns officers to participate in training programs to improve their professional qualifications, working skills and motivates every creative effort, creates the best conditions for them to study and practice.

With positive contributions to scientific research and intellectual mobilization, the Council for Selection and Honoring of Typical Intellectuals of VUSTA decided to honor Eng. Pham Van Thanh as a typical scientific and technological intellectual in 2017 and proposed the Prime Minister to award the Certificate of Merit.

Eng. Pham Van Thanh was born on September 20, 1953 in Chuong Duong commune, Dong Hung district, Thai Binh province.

Current place of work: Director of Center for Rural Communities Research and Development (CCRD) affiliated to the Vietnam Gardening Association.

Current position: Standing Member of Vietnam Gardening Association; Chairman of Civil Society Inclusion in Food Security and Poverty Elimination Network (CIFPEN); Chairman of Land Alliance (LANDA).

Author: Quynh Chi
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