1 Must Do, 5 Reductions plus laser leveling
Research on best practices for natural resource management of rice led to a provincial program, Mot Phai, Nam Giam (1 Must Do, 5 Reductions [1M,5R]), and contributed to the nascent development of Rice Good Agricultural Practice (VietRice GAP). The “must do” is the use of certified seed, whereas the five “reductions” are: the amount of seed, fertilizer use, chemical pesticides, water use, and postharvest losses.
1M,5R was implemented for 3 years in 11 districts in An Giang Province, Vietnam. The program was certified in 2013 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as a nationally approved approach for best practices in rice production. 1M,5R has been adopted in seven provinces in the Mekong Delta as a necessary platform for the World Bank on their Agricultural Competitiveness Project. Read more on the adoption of 1 Must Do, 5 Reductions.
Using the 1 Must Do, 5 Reductions best management practices combined with laser leveling proved to be beneficial to farmers in Can Tho and Long An. Using these best rice farming practices compared to the farmers’ practices resulted in the following: 1) lowest seed rate, 2) lowest brown planthopper incidence and 3) and used the least water compared to the two treatments.
A sixth reduction, reduced greenhouse gas emission, will be introduced in the CORIGAP project. This initiative will promote reducing environmental footprint while reaching the rice production sustainability in the country.
A field calculator was developed to help researchers and farmers compare different production practices based on identified key agronomic, socioeconomic, and environmental parameters. Developing the field calculator would help define good agricultural practice (GAP) for rice production in the Mekong Delta.
Field visits, policy dialogues, and surveys in selected provinces in the Mekong Delta were conducted to determine the indicators needed to develop the field calculator in Vietnam. Interviews revealed that farmers are engaged in different certification activities (VietGap, GlobalGap, and 1 Must Do, 5 Reductions), and others use farm production practices according to experience. Initial parameters for the field calculator were also identified. Other indicators will be included according to the availability of data and requests from users of the field calculator.
Growing mushrooms was one of the activities promoted to optimize the use of rice straw. About 75 farmers were trained
to cultivate mushrooms using rice straw. In Can Tho Province, demonstration plots and model farms were established in selected villages. Straw baler, a machine that collects rice straw from the field, was also developed to ease straw collection from the field. Using 2.5 tons/hectare of rice straw can produce 200 kilograms of mushroom and a profit of about US$300.
Surveys were conducted to assess the current status of the rice postproduction process in Vietnam. The field surveys revealed that large-scale paddy drying (25–50 tons/batch) is most effective in the country. Small-scale flatbed dryers (with maximum capacity of 15 tons/batch) are only used for seed production. The rice producers have changed their practice in storage, which will improve their rice quality.
Postharvest mechanization practices also improved. More combine harvesters and paddy dryers with after sales service are now becoming more available to the end users.