Thursday, April 17, 2008

New plant gives everyone green fingers

After 10 years of struggle that met only with failure, one Vietnamese farmer’s innovation may soon set off a revolution in horticulture.
Nguyen Quang Ngoc, chairman of HCM City-based Fresh Green Earth (FGE) joint-stock company, is offering something almost unfathomable to anyone from the novice plant owner to the green-thumbed farmer.
"I guarantee that you can leave plants outside for months without any water, and they will stay green," promised Ngoc.
Another empty promise in a world full of seemingly endless gags and useless gizmos? Hardly. The invention, a self-watering planter, has already been named as a utility solution by the National Office of Intellectual Property of Viet Nam and has been registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office and the State Intellectual Property Office of China. It was also given a prior user right by the Viet Nam Office of Intellectual Property and the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT) of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)
With a three-stage structure – soil, air and water – the self-watering vases supply enough water and humidity to the plant based on the principles of earth’s gravity and natural process, via a silicon-based endosmosis system. The ingenious solution, soon to be released on the world market, didn’t come from any large research corporation or institute, but from one farmer just trying to make his own plants grow.
Self-starter
Born in Ha Noi in 1967, Ngoc spent his childhood on Thuy Khue Street before his family emigrated to the Central Highlands Province of Dac Lac in 1976.
The Hanoian started his own life by going to the Czech Republic for four years, where he earned enough money to start a 100ha coffee farm in Dac Lac.
But serious drought and a drop in the price of coffee in the late 1990s drove him back to where he started from – scratch.
Back at square one, he saved money once again for a 10ha vegetable cultivation in Tan Binh District in HCM City. Once again, his efforts went unrewarded. With a general lack of experience in cultivation, he failed to grow any market-worthy produce that year.
But these consistent failures in agriculture weren’t enough to keep him away from the field. In fact, they only motivated him to come up with a better system.
One of his major problems was an inconsistent supply of water. His farm was flooded in the rainy season, while water from the wells either drew short or alkalised during the dry season.
Turning point
more info->VietNamNet Bridge
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