Visit to Thai Nguyen (August 2017)

In August 2017, Ruy Anaya de la Rosa went to Vietnam and visited B4SS local project coordinators, Lan Anh and Kien, who both work at Thai Nguyen University of Sciences. The main purpose of this trip was to finalise the B4SS baseline survey report. Therefore, we focussed on this work, and the report has now been finalised, and approved by the Scientific Panel.

The next day, we went to the Quang Chu commune, north of Thai Nguyen, where the B4SS project activities take place. Unfortunately, it has been raining a lot this season, and it was raining as well on that day. Therefore, we could not run the B4SS brick kiln or access the biochar demonstration sites. The constant rain has made it very difficult for our partners to dry the feedstock for biochar production. The people have been taking the feedstock inside when it is raining, and taking it back outside when the rain stops. However, the rain comes and goes often at unexpected times, and people cannot plan accordingly or spend too much time doing this tedious work. As a result, some of the corn stover that was originally intended for conversion to biochar has decomposed next to the kiln and will not be used for biochar production. Fortunately, our partners managed to get hold of some acacia wood and sawdust, which they will use for making biochar this season.

On a rainy day, it was a good opportunity to sit down in a Vietnamese café and interview Kien about the B4SS project and biochar. The story of Kien is worth sharing as he is also a farmer who has 8 years of experience in biochar and has used five different biochar production technologies. Kien has received training at Nanjing Agricultural University, China, and together with Prof Stephen Joseph has also trained the B4SS participant farmers in Quang Chu commune. An article about him will be prepared as a contribution to UN Environment’s GEF Communications Work. Thank you so much Lan Anh and Kien for all your passionate work in the B4SS project.