Vegetables provide key nutrients (minerals, vitamins, organic acids and fiber) required for health. The World Health Organization recommends vegetable consumption of 300 - 400g per day for adults. However, according to results of the General nutrition national survey in Vietnam in 2010 average consumption was 190g/person/day with significant malnutrition for children aged under 5 years which were 25% underweight in rural mountainous areas.
To enhance availability of vegetables to ethnic communities (Thai, H’mong, Tay, Ede, Jo Jrai, and Kinh) in rural mountainous areas of Northwest and Central Highlands of Vietnam interventions included; awareness of nutrition and health, appropriate recipes, creation of home gardens and cultivation techniques for diverse vegetable crops.
For nutrtion awareness there were six Trainer of Trainers and two Farmer Field Schools courses were held in Son La, Dien Bien, Lao Cai (Northwest) and Dak Lak (Central Highlands) with 231 clients, of which, 57% were women, from public health centers, woman unions, education centers, farmer associations, agricultural extension centers at province, district, commune and village levels. Home garden management techniques included soil preparation, garden design for all year round vegetable supply, appropriate variety selection, intercropping, composting, fertilizer application, pest and disease control by integrated pest management. The result of the trainings were significant changes in variety of vegetables cultivated and consumed.
Social community linkages were strenghtened through sharing gardening experiences and harvested products and from an initial 10 gardens established in each province this number increased to 84 over a period of 2 years.
Home garden at H’mong village with simple water storage container in Mai Son district, Son La province
Home garden of leafy, spice, vine vegetables in Ea Kar district, Dak Lak province
Group execises on planning of crop selection and crop calendars at FFS course in Mai Son district, Son La province
The cooking group learned how to use their ingredients to provide nutritious meals in Van Ban district, Lao Cai province