Tran Xa Luan, 30, is a Khmer participant of Heifer Vietnam's Dairy Development Project in Ben Tre and Soc Trang Province through Values-based Holistic Community Development. He, his wife Han Thi Thuy Trang and their 14-month-old daughter, Tran Han Gia Han, live with his parents, who are retired and no longer work on the family farm. Luan is a village police officer and earns $130 a month, just above the national poverty line.
In 2013, Luan used all of his family's savings to buy one F2 dairy cow and one F3 cow from his neighbor for $1,600. After several months, his F2 cow got pregnant and gave birth to a calf, which he raised for many months and later sold later to buy another F2 dairy cow. Today, one of his F2 cows produces nearly 4 gallons of milk a day, from which Luan earns a daily profit of $6.
"I indulge in my current job and want to contribute my best for the country, bringing security for my village, but my job's earnings could not lead to the wonderful life for the whole family," Luan said. "I am determined to learn how to raise dairy cows from my neighbors. That's why I would like to join the Heifer project to receive [inputs] and trainings and to participate in a dairy cooperative for sustainable income."
In addition to his work as a police officer, Luan finds time to milk his cow and sell the milk to members of his cooperative. His father cuts grass to feed the cows and cleans the cow shed when Luan is at work. On the weekends, Luan has more time to do animal husbandry work.
Luan plans to expand his cow herd for more income to meet his family's expenses and to set up a better livelihood for his family as his daughter grows up and his parents age. "As a police officer, I am diligent by nature," he said. "It is not my fault that I come from a poor family, but it is my fault if I die in poverty. Therefore, I always try my best to raise dairy cows to earn money to send my daughter to all levels of school so she can become a good citizen of the country."
Story and photos by Phan Thao Loan
Translated and edited by Tran Huu Ly
Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer