Initiative Result:

Scaling AMD Innovations in the Mekong Delta

The governments of Mekong Delta countries are mainstreaming AMD’s innovations into their climate change and food systems policies.

Lower Mekong River Basin (LMB) countries, such as Cambodia, Thailand, and Viet Nam, are highly vulnerable to climate change. To ensure food and nutrition security, they must intensify efforts in climate adaptation and mitigation, particularly in agriculture. To support adaptation and mitigation efforts by LMB countries, several of AMD’s innovations—such as rice straw-based circular economy, RiceMoRe, and ACBs—are being mainstreamed in national and subnational policies and programs such as NDC, One Million Hectares Program, and Zero Hunger.

The LMB, which includes Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam, is recognized as one of the Mekong region’s most vulnerable areas to the  impacts of climate change. Largely dependent on agriculture, LMB countries are working toward climate change adaptation and mitigation in the agriculture sector to ensure food, nutrition, and livelihood security.

In 2022, LMB countries such as Thailand and Viet Nam updated their NDC to identify more ambitious mitigation targets and redefine adaptation and resilience areas. For instance, Viet Nam’s new NDC nearly doubled its agriculture mitigation targets to reach an 82 percent and 97 percent increase for unconditional and conditional contributions, respectively. At the same time, LMB countries are also prioritizing programs and strategies, namely the National Action Plan on Zero Hunger and National Strategy for Food Security and Nutrition, to ensure national food and nutrition security.

In 2023, the government of Viet Nam approved the implementation of the Sustainable Development of One Million Hectares of High Quality and Low-Emission Rice Associated with Green Growth in the Mekong River Delta By 2030 program, which aims to adapt the rice sector to climate change, reduce GHG emissions, and contribute to fulfilling Viet Nam’s international mitigation commitments, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Under the program, GHG emissions from rice farming are expected to be reduced by more than 10 per cent and low-emission, high-quality rice will account for more than 20 per cent of the total for export in the specialized rice farming region.

AMD contributed significantly to the development of the One Million Hectares Program by providing technical inputs and organizing related events to strengthen knowledge exchange, demonstrate relevant innovations, and build collaboration among key stakeholders, including a regional workshop on high-quality and low-emission rice transformation, program launch, and field demonstration. Identifying AMD innovations as mechanisms to achieve program goals, the One Million Hectares Program will be used as a platform to promote the use of AWD, mDSR, and rice straw-based circular economy at the farmer’s level, and apply the RiceMoRe and CS-MAP at the management level.

MARD issued policy documents supporting the scaling of AMD innovations for integration in the One Million Hectares Program. MARD recognized and adopted the guidelines for rice straw management toward a circular and low emission agriculture in MRD. AMD’s engagement and capacity-building activities led MARD to issue several decisions supporting the institutionalization and adoption of RiceMoRe in the MRD region.

The ACBs were recognized by MARD as a technical advancement, leading to the establishment of a regional ACB technical working group, approval of the tasks and budget for the implementation of ACBs in all MRD provinces, and awarding of a certificate of merit to organizations and individuals for their achievements in developing and disseminating ACBs for agricultural and rural development.

In addition to supporting climate change policies, AMD’s science is also mainstreamed in the food and nutrition security policies and programs of LMB countries. MARD’s DCRD recognized AMD’s technical support in the development of the National Action Plan on Zero Hunger and included AMD scientists in their expert group. In Cambodia, several AMD research outputs and engagements informed the 3rd National Strategy for Food Security and Nutrition for 2024–2028 and Food System for Sustainable Development 2030 Roadmap. These national policies aim to enhance food security, nutrition, and health through sector-led responsibilities such as agriculture and water, while also prioritizing multisectoral coordination, governance, and partnerships. These are centered on the vision of ensuring all Cambodians have access to a healthy diet and safe food by 2030, promoting equitable livelihoods, resilience to vulnerability, and climate change adaptation. Cambodia’s Council for Agricultural and Rural Development also included an AMD expert as a member of the technical working group on food security and nutrition.

AMD’s engagement with Thailand led to the inclusion of low-emission rice production in the country’s updated NDC, and the Initiative consistently collaborated with stakeholders from LMB countries to scale climate-resilient strategies and technologies for sustainable Mekong Delta development.

As a major contributor to the development of the One Million Hectares Program, AMD’s innovations—such as AWD, mDSR, rice straw-based circular economy, RiceMoRe, and CS-MAP—will be integrated in the program. Tested and implemented in the Mekong River Delta, these technologies can contribute to achieving the program goals.

Mr. Le Thanh Tung, Deputy Director for Southern Department of Crop Production, Ministry of Agriculture, Viet Nam.

Header photo: Mekong. Ian Taylor/CPWF.

CGIAR Centers

Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT; International Rice; Research Institute; WorldFish


Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Viet Nam; Department of Crop Production; Department of Cooperatives and Rural Development; Council for Agricultural and Rural Development; Cambodia Development Resources Institute