From Partnership Comes Prosperity
Kieu Phuc Loi is a farmer living in Vietnam’s Long An province, about 20 miles south of Ho Chi Minh City. He grows vegetables and raises chickens – nearly 6,000 of them.
Agriculture in Vietnam is different from many other countries in that there is a relative ease of entry into the industry. Many farmers choose to begin farming as a means of paying for their children’s education in the hopes of giving them the chance to go to college or get a well-paying job. Like many, Loi began farming later in life as a way to supplement his income.
Loi’s family raised chickens when he was young, so when he decided to start his own farm, chickens were a natural choice. But when he purchased his first chickens, he realized how little he really knew.
“At the beginning, I had no experience with breeding,” he said. “I had many difficulties, many chicken diseases, and no productivity.”
Loi asked the local Cargill team for technical support in his breeding. He met with Tran Truong An, a business supervisor at Cargill in Long An. The two formed a partnership, and although Loi has become a more experienced breeder, An still visits Loi’s farm regularly to share new techniques, technologies and feeding programs with him. Together, An and Loi have increased Loi’s flock from a few chickens to 6,000 birds.
One of the new technologies An brought to Loi’s farm was a series of thermal insulation boards and fans to help keep Loi’s chicken coops cool during the summer. During the hot season in Vietnam, temperatures can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, causing many chickens to stop eating, fall sick or die inside coops.
Once Loi installed the fans and insulation boards he immediately saw improvement in his flock’s health and fewer chicken deaths. He said the system was so effective that he decided to install another in his own home.
“In the house, it was also hot and I couldn’t bear it, so I had to install another system from the inside out,” he said.
Loi also worked with An to install an anti-theft camera system inside his coops. He said he has yet to see a thief try to steal his chickens, but during a sale, he caught chicken traders trying to claim his chickens weighed less than they did – when they didn't actually weigh them – to buy them at a lower price.
“They took the chickens without weighing and were caught, so I showed the evidence to their boss, and he agreed to reimburse me,” he said.
Loi’s farm is one of Cargill’s “key feeder” farms – well-run farms that are examples to the rest of their community. Through the key feeder program, Cargill provides farmers like Loi with technical advice and support to help farmers improve their farms. In turn, these farmers teach their peers about good farm management and new technologies.
Improved Quality of Life
Breeding chickens has improved the quality of life for Loi and his family. He can take care of his family and have a little money left over to make their lives more comfortable.
“Before I started breeding chickens, I cultivated vegetables, but my income was not stable at all,” he said. “Thanks to poultry breeding I now earn extra income, my house is properly built, I bought land next to my house to expand my farm and income. My life is more comfortable and happy, and my children go to school more regularly now.”