Talented jeweler Pham Ngoc Thach has become a farming owner turning land into jewelry.
For his passion, Thach (standing) became an agricultural machine inventor from a jeweler
With a determination to turn to another direction and give up his forefathers’ traditional profession, talented jeweler Pham Ngoc Thach, born in 1971 and living in Chau Khe hamlet, Thuc Khang commune, Hai Duong province’s Binh Giang district, has become a farming owner turning land into jewelry.
Turning direction for passion
Thach’s family has worked as jewelers for five generations. Among seven siblings, Thach was the one most expected to keep the family’s profession because he was most talented.
Not disappointing the expectations of his family, after having been discharged from the army, he opened a jewelry workshop in his hom town. Thanks to his sharp-witted thinking and skillful hands, Thach’s products were famous near and far.
Earning plenty of money and creating jobs for dozens of craftsmen in the village, but he still felt unsatsified partly because his jewelry models were copied a lot for coming first, affecting his reputation. On the other hand, his job was busy but seasonal, sometimes he was pressurized by repeated orders, but some other times he was idle.
He realized inadequacies in local agricultural production when fields were fragmented and people had to struggle with cultivation stages but almost only made profit from labor.
The ruggedness of jewelry changed Thach’s mind. In 2003, he closed the workshop and switched from being a worker to being a teacher. However, he always thought about fields where crops that fed people were strenuously cultivated by farmers but trivially valued.
And then, the long concern was finally turned into action in 2007 when Thach spent VND40 million on two tractors.
According to Thach, in the past, only a few people dared invest in agricultural machines for large expenses but low efficiency as they operated at full capacity sometimes but were left unused for a long time after each crop. Therefore, Thach wanted to own multipurpose machines working and resting together with people.
Naturally being studious, he did not face many difficulties in learning and inventing machines. From a mere tractor, he made a multifunctional machine capable of ploughing, excavating, and bulldozing land. After the success, Thach took extra work as a hired plougman aside from teaching jewelry.
Unsatisfied with his then jobs, he kept learning about agricultural machines, which gradually became an irresistible passion.
When the local authorities conducted field mergence and change in 2014, Thach hired and lent 20 ha of fields to a friend in Thanh Mien because he felt he could not manage that much land.
Then, more and more people abandoned their fields. Regreting the fields and farmers’ efforts, in 2018, he hired an additional 20 ha of fields and was determined to completely give up jewelry to fully devote himself to farming.
In early 2019, Thach went to Long An to learn about a concentrated and synchronously motorized rice cultivation model there.
After more than a month of going through Long An fields, seeing vast fields and famous machinery workshops in the locality with his own eyes, Thach realized that a lot of things should be changed to get rich from rice in his birthplace.
Each crop, Thach’s family makes a profit of more than VND1 billion from mechanical transplantation of tray rice seedlings and concentrated rice cultivation
Returning to Binh Giang, he spent all savings for years on machines, not to rush straight into the field but to research to change parts more suitable to local cultivation conditions to heighten the efficiency and life-span of the machines.
As a result, the single-purpose agricultural machines became multi-purpose ones through the hands of Thach. He enabled normal tractors to spray plant protection drugs, roll straw, scoop up and bulldoze soil, etc. apart from tilling.
Not the first person sowing rice on trays for mechanical transplantation, but Thach had a good way to surpass foregoers.
He just started experimenting with sowing rice on trays in 2020, but this crop, many people came from other localities to learn from his experience.
While tray rice seedlings of some facilities died from hot weather, Thach’s ones were still verdant. His trays of rice seedlings were placed on a concrete floor, so instead of lining nylon beneath the trays, Thach designed a drip irrigation line to maintain moisture for the rice seedlings.
In the past five crops, besides tilling, he also offered rental mechanical transplantation service to neighboring households. With two large transplanters, aside from 20 ha of his family's fields, Thach transplanted rice seedlings on nearly 100 ha of fields of other households. Upon self-production of tray rice seedlings, he became more proactive in arranging transplantation for other people.
Each crop, Thach makes a profit of more than VND1 billion from 20 ha of rice and mechanical transplantation of tray rice seedlings after cost deduction, not to mention a milk and beef cow farm in Hung Yen that he works with a friend and profits from straw collection after rice harvest.
In the coming time, Thach will take back the 20 ha of fields he lent to his friend in the past to expand production. Thach is cherishing a plan to breed his own rice variety though knowing it is difficult.
After removing a bottleneck in intensive rice cultivation, Thach is concerned about winter crop production. Binh Giang is a granary of the province but loses out in winter crops. In order not to waste but improve soil, he will grow corn and soybeans for processing in the next winter crop.