In Vietnam, the government is seriously throwing the whole 'give a man a fish/teach a man to fish' thing on its proverbial head. Instead of handouts or casting lessons, rural farmers are encouraged to adopt what’s known as V-A-C approach, an ingenious integrated agriculture system built around raising pigs and fish and growing fruits and vegetables.
As the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations shows in this video, the system excels at feeding one area of the farm off of the byproduct of another. Nitrogen-rich silt from the fishpond is used to fertilize the vegetables and orchards; aquatic plants can be grown for feed; biogas captured from the hog pens is used as fuel in the family’s kitchen. It’s a closed loop, with little to no waste, and no chemical inputs.
Small-scale, integrated farming operations where championed by Ho Chi Min in North Vietnam in the late 1960s as way to improve nutrition in rural areas. The move away from collective farming models favored in the USSR led to the development of the V-A-C approach that’s practiced today, which started in earnest in the 1980s. Today, having shed much of its Communist baggage, the system is helping not only feed rural families, but is generating them profits in Vietnam’s increasingly open economy.