NUS in Vietnamese Home Gardens
It is customary for local people in Viet Nam to just harvest wild vegetables for consumption than growing them in their home garden. However, due to interventions introduced in the Sowing Diversity, Harvesting Security (SD=HS) project, it has been observed by local partners from three provinces that FFS participants are starting to grow neglected and underutilized species (NUS) commonly found in the wild in their home garden alongside common vegetables. One factor they cited is that FFS participants became aware of the benefits of diet diversification for their families.
It was also observed that farmers pick NUS that have high market value (Erythropalum scandens) in Ha Giang province which can be sold for VND 10,000/bundle), have medicinal use (Gynostemma pentaphyllum) in Lao Cai province is used to treat some diseases). They also pick NUS to diversify their existing home gardens.
Interestingly, some farmers in Chieng Ve commune, Son La province experimented with grafting rau thối by themselves as a means of propagating it. Rau thối is considered a special NUS in Chieng Ve commune because of its taste. However, this NUS can only be found in the forest, thus limiting accessibility. Farmers had tried different propagation methods in the past but were unsuccessful. Through their experiment, farmers learned that this NUS can be successfully propagated via grafting using guava as the root stock. Though the success rates for this method is about 10%, it gave them the opportunity and hope to cultivate this NUS in their home garden.
Photo and anecdote were collected by Dr. Vu Dang Toan of Plant Resources Center