Friday, May 31, 2019

Ushering Vietnam towards a new rice revolution using best management practices

IRRI, through the World Bank-funded project “Vietnam – Sustainable Agricultural Transformation (VnSAT),” continues to build initiatives towards producing high quality, certified environmentally safe rice in Vietnam.

By ensuring the use of sustainable best management practices in rice by following 1 Must Do, 5 Reductions (1M5R), IRRI provides technical assistance to increase the adoption of this practice that will feed into the certification of global standards like Sustainable Rice Platform. This initiative complements government supported policies like Small Farmer, Large Fields to enable smallholder farmers reap benefits from producing sustainable rice.

Fifty one participants from the eight Provinces in the Mekong Delta drawn from provincial management units, farmer organizations and extension departments convened to establish a business model for Small Farmer, Large Fields; develop a branding strategy for high-quality rice produced using 1M5R best practice model; and demonstrate and assess different crop establishment practices and VnSAT Standards for 1M5R.

The event consisted of hands-on exercises, discussions, and a field visit in order to articulate pressing issues in implementing 1M5R and create opportunities among farmer groups who are keen to develop their own brand based on satisfying the standards of 1M5R.

During the branding development workshop, farmer organizations actively participated to generate their own original rice brand that would represent the rice they will produce in compliance with sustainable rice platform standards or Rice VietGAP.

Through a field visit in Co Do Commune, in Can Tho province participants were able to observe field trials of four crop establishment methods —manual broadcasting, drum seeding, blower seeding, and mechanical transplanting. Mr. Doan Tuan Ve, who is a farmer-cooperator, shared his experience “Before, my seed rate was more than 120 kg, which is too high. After the field trial, I noticed that my seed rate significantly reduced to 45 kg/ha. I am quite happy that I am able to participate in this trial,” he said. Similarly, a farmer leader in Kien Giang province expressed his appreciation in having the opportunity to try out the mechanical transplanter as part of the trials. “I didn’t need to worry about hiring labor to remove the weeds in my rice fields, and my seed rate decreased,” he said.

Grant Singleton, VnSAT project leader for IRRI shares that “These trials are one way to visualize the transformation that can happen when we are looking at best management practices,” he said.

Over the next 18 months, the IRRI team will continue to work closely with the PPMUs and farmers organizations in accelerating its technical assistance through providing advisory services, facilitating market linkages towards better rice markets, and creating profitable and inclusive business models that will yield financial benefits for smallholder farmers.


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