New TV series on ecological engineering begins in the Mekong

Backdrop of the TV series on ecological engineering launching event

Entertainment education is a useful means to initiate social change.  When the principles were applied to create the radio soap opera, the 104 episodes broadcast over the Voice of Ho Chi Minh City contributed significantly to farmers’ belief and practices (Heong et al 2008).  Listeners significantly reduced their insecticide applications by 60% and changed their beliefs favoring insecticide reduction. Vinh Long TV, Southern Regional Plant Protection Center and IRRI collaborated in developing a 20 episode ecological engineering TV series which was launched on 23 June 2012 .

TV presenter Ms Ngoc Hoa giving final pointers to panelists, Drs Huynh and Heong

The launching event was broadcast live nationwide through Ving Long TV with a panel discussion hosted by Ms Ngoc Hoa .  In the panel were Prof Nguyen Van Huynh of Can Tho University, Mr Nguyen Van Liem of Vinh Long province department of agriculture, Mr. Ngo Luc Cuong, deputy director of Southern Plant Protection Center and Dr K.L. Heong of IRRI. 

Other speakers from the audience included, two farmers, Mr Pham Thanh Xuan, Deputy Director of Vinh Long TV, Dr Nguyen Huu Huan, Deputy director general of Plant Protection Department and Dr M. M. Escalada of Visayas State University, Philippines.

The ecological engineering TV series “Cong Nghe Sinh Thai”, a 15-minute TV program on ecological engineering aired on Vinh Long TV at 1640 hours every Saturday has started broadcast on 23 June 2012.  

It will be replayed 0800 hours every Sunday. The program, structured to combine entertainment with education, has three parts:

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The three comedians in the TV series

Part 1 – Entertainment – This part is a funny vignette that revolves around three characters categorized as “positive”, “transitional” and “negative” with regard to their attitudes toward ecological engineering.

Three farmers, Chu Chin, Ba Cai and Tam No, played by three popular Vietnamese TV comedians, meet in the rice field to tackle the question, “What is ecological engineering?” The scene opens with two farmers in the rice field who are about to spray insecticides on their rice crop. 

A third farmer with a basket of fish arrives and tells the other two farmers that he has caught a lot of fish. He then asks the two farmers what they were up to. When they told him that they were about to spray, he replied that he has stopped spraying because he has planted flowers on his rice bunds which gives him more time to catch fish.

“Ruong Lua Bo Hoa” or rice fields with flower on bunds or “Cong nghe sinh thai” or ecological engineering is what it is called, he says. The two farmers ask him how flowers on the bunds can protect the rice crop. 

He invites them to see his rice field. The negative farmer casts doubt in the idea of flowers on the rice bunds when he says that ecological engineering must mean using a sprayer tank and a farmer dabbling with flowers must be queer.

The next scene shifts to a Tam No’s ecological engineering field with an abundance of flowers on the rice bunds. Here Tam No tells Chu Chin and Ba Cai that flowers on the rice bunds attract beneficial insects which in turn kill the planthoppers and other insect pests.  Before Part 1 fades out, the question flashed was:”What is ecological engineering?”

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Prof Nguyen Van Huynh provides the scientific explanation of ecological engineering to Ms Phuong Thuy.

Part 2 – Education – In response to the question in Part 1, this part provides the scientific explanation. In this episode, Dr. Nguyen Van Huynh, Can Tho University professor’s discusses what ecological engineering is and the scientific principles involved.

Part 3 – Summary – This part summarized the key points learned from this episode and announces the topic of the next episode, “Benefits of ecological engineering”.

The episodes may be accessible from the Vinh Long TV website.  Click here to view and download the first episode.

Popular weekly magazine and numerous websites feature ecological engineering

A popular magazine featuring ecological engineering

The May 2012 issue of Truoi Tre, a popular magazine in Vietnam featured ecological engineering. A Google translate of the article is available.  

It describes ecological engineering through flowers on the bunds as ecologically sound methods that will reduce insecticide inputs, increase profitability, will protect the environment and farmers’ health.  

In May 2010 Prof  Nguyen Van Huynh of Can Tho University explains the concepts and describes the advantages of the ecological techniques in Nong Nghiep, a popular agricultural daily newspaper.

The Department of Agriculture in Ben Tre province has also featured ecological engineering. 

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