Activities in Vietnam
1 Must Do, 5 Reductions
In Vietnam, the best practice package of 1 Must Do, 5 Reductions developed during the IRRC Phase IV was promoted by the Agricultural Competitiveness Project (ACP) of the World Bank. The ACP was extended to the Mekong Delta in November 2012 and rolled out in 2013. In 2013, data collected from just eight provinces in the Mekong Delta indicated that 34,500 farmers participated in training and an estimated 240,000 farmers were implementing 1 Must Do, 5 Reductions over 300,000 hectares. The economic model had estimated 425,000 hectares for adoption nationally by 2016, for a benefit of US$27 million for the period 2013-16. These estimates are not for mean impact per farmer reached and were very conservative at 5% input cost reduction. Given that 70% of the projected area had adopted the technologies already in 2013, and a 10% input cost reduction is assumed, then on average the 240,000 Vietnamese farmers would benefit by $160 each per crop or $128/hectare. This is conservative because no yield increase is assumed; recent data indicate mean yield increases for different farmer groups of 3−10%.
Research on best practices for natural resource management of rice led to a provincial program, Mot Phai, Nam Giam (1 Must Do, 5 Reductions or 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.
1 Must Do, 5 Reductions plus laser leveling
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 trainedto 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.
Market and policy studies
Vietnam is currently restructuring its rice sector. It needs to tackle its global competitiveness, increase standards for sustainability, and create a credible national brand. CORIGAP is heavily involved in conducting research that aims to understand the consumers' rice purchasing behavior, understanding contract farming models to gain useful insights on creating sustainable contracts and inclusive-based branding that will internalize sustainable production standards into the rice value chain.
Studies conducted by the CORIGAP team also reveal useful insights for Vietnam’s rice sector restructuring strategy by (1) crafting ways how policymakers and Sustainable Rice Platform will work with Vietnamese rice value chain actors in implementing sustainable production standards and (2) developing effective information drive about the about the societal benefits and product traceability of sustainable rice production in order to trigger a demand for producing sustainable rice.