International workshop on Science, Technology, and Innovation in Rice forges new partnerships for sustainable development in Vietnam's rice industry

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Hau Giang, Vietnam, December 13, 2023 – As part of the International Festival of Vietnam Rice Industry – Hau Giang 2023, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and Hau Giang’s People’s Committee, with support from International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the CGIAR Initiative on Asian Mega-Deltas (AMD), conducted an international workshop on Science, Technology, and Innovation in Rice to connect and exchange the achievements of research projects, innovation, and technology transfer in rice development.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Minister Hoang Trung of MARD, emphasized the importance of science and technology in addressing challenges facing agriculture. He highlighted the achievements in varietal development, cultivation practices, and harvesting and post-harvest technologies in improving yield and rice quality while reducing environmental impacts and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. He acknowledged that the workshop would bring together policy-makers, scientists, and agricultural experts, enterprises, rice sector associations, international organizations, and relevant stakeholders to promote science, technology, and innovation for transparent, responsible, and sustainable agri-food systems.

Dr. Cao Duc Phat, Chairman of IRRI’s Board of Trustees also acknowledged the achievements in improving rice yield and quality. However, those results needed strengthening and sustaining, especially as emerging challenges require transitioning to a low-emission and high-income rice sector to improve the lives of over 140 million small-holder farming households worldwide. He pointed out opportunities for further science and technology development in Vietnam with the aid of new source engineering technologies and high-efficiency equipment, and new market dynamics to provide financial support for rice-based food system development. For Vietnam, he proposed that scientific research and development should focus on optimized farming systems for climate adaptation and mitigation, variety selection and development to meet consumers’ taste and nutrition requirements, processing industries, and a circular economy, among others.

Presented at the workshop, Dr. Jongsoo Shin, IRRI Regional Director for Asia, shared IRRI’s orientation and initiatives on science, technology, and innovation in rice research to support climate change adaptation and mitigation, promoting sustainable agricultural development. He emphasized IRRI’s focuses including research on new high-quality, high-nutrition rice varieties that could be adaptive to adverse climate conditions and reduce GHG emissions, digital agriculture, Monitoring, Reporting, Verification (MRV) system for GHG emission reductions; and precision farming.

Besides the plenary discussion, a highlight of the workshop was the signing ceremony on the MOU between MARD and IRRI to collaborate on developing and scaling new technologies and innovations for the rice sector in Viet Nam. IRRI and MARD have had a long-standing collaboration and partnership since 1963. The MOU would further strengthen and open more opportunities for innovation and sustainability for the rice sector, and maximize the full potential of the high-yielding rice varieties being grown in the Mekong and Red River Deltas.

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