Transforming agriculture: Viet Nam's ambitious plan for 1 million hectares of low-carbon rice by 2030

Transforming agriculture: Viet Nam's ambitious plan for 1 million hectares of low-carbon rice by 2030
Image by VNA/VNS Photo Hồ Cầu

Viet Nam aims to plant one million hectares of high-quality, low-emission rice in the Mekong Delta by 2030.  Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang signed a decree on Monday (Nov. 27) approving the project, marking an important step in the implementation of this ambitious initiative. 

The initiative is in line with efforts to restructure the production system throughout the value chain, applying sustainable agricultural practices to increase production, improve value-added, and facilitate sustainable growth of the rice industry, as well as Viet Nam's commitment to protect the environment, adapt to climate change, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Project implementation will cover all provinces in An Giang, Kiên Giang, Đồng Tháp, Long An, Sóc Trăng, Cần Thơ, Bạc Liêu, Trà Vinh, Hậu Giang, Cà Mau, Tiền Giang, and Vĩnh Long.

In terms of sustainable agriculture, the project aims to reduce the use of seeds to less than 70 kilograms per hectare, reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides by 30 percent, and save 20 percent of irrigation water compared to conventional farming methods. 

All production areas are expected to implement at least one sustainable farming practice, including reductions 1 to 5, Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) production standards, alternating wet and dry cropping patterns, and farming practices that meet certification with established cropping area codes.

Regarding the organizational structure of production, all production areas are expected to be linked to companies, cooperative groups, farmer organizations and consumers. The expected level of mechanization is more than 70 percent, with more than one million households participating in sustainable agricultural practices.

The project aims to reduce yield losses to less than 8 percent, collect all straw from the fields for reuse, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10 percent compared to traditional rice farming.

In terms of farmer income, the project aims to increase value addition in the rice value chain by 40 percent by 2030, with profit margins for rice farmers exceeding 50 percent. Exports of high-quality, low-emission rice are expected to account for more than 20 percent of total rice exports in all targeted areas.

The project will be implemented in two phases. The first phase (2024-2025) will focus on integrating existing areas under the 180,000-hectare Viet Nam Sustainable Agricultural Transformation Project (VnSAT). During this phase, a carbon credit pilot program will be implemented for areas that meet set emission standards, as well as plans to strengthen local cooperatives and improve infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the second phase (2026-2030) will identify suitable areas for high-quality, low-emission rice production outside the VnSAT area. This phase will prioritize planning and investment in infrastructure, production restructuring, value chain development, and infrastructure facilities.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has been mandated to lead and coordinate the implementation of this project with other ministries, local governments, and business sectors in the Mekong Delta region. In addition, MARD was asked to formulate regulations for measuring, reporting, and verifying GHG emissions according to international standards and Viet Nam's specific circumstances. They were also instructed to develop a proposal for a results-based pilot program to earn carbon credits.

By launching four key programs, MARD believes the project will play a key role in developing an environmentally friendly agricultural sector in Viet Nam that will transform the rice sector towards sustainability. The programs include capacity building for participating cooperatives and companies; a credit support program to link production, processing, and consumption of high-quality, low-emission rice; modernization of production infrastructure for one million hectares of high-quality rice; and a pilot program to earn carbon credits.

Source: Viet Nam News/VNS

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