Vietnam launches the One million hectares program specializing in high-quality low-emission rice production

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Hau Giang, Vietnam, December 12, 2023 – As one of the highlights of the International Rice Festival in Hau Giang, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) jointly organized the launch 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, including field demonstrations of mechanized direct-seeded rice (mDSR) and other technologies.

The ceremony was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang, MARD Minister Le Minh Hoan, and other government officials. Representatives from international organizations including Ms. Carolyn Turk – World Bank Country Director in Vietnam and Dr. Cao Duc Phat – Chair of Board of Trustees of IRRI, along with scientists, enterprises, and farmers also participated in the event.

At the launching event, Minister Le Minh Hoan emphasized the challenges facing the rice industry in the Mekong River Delta, attributed to the “three changes”: climate change, market fluctuations, and world consumption trends. In this context, the government approved 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 involves the reorganization of the production system along the rice value chain, the adoption of sustainable farming practices to enhance production and economic efficiency, and the improvement of income and livelihoods for farmers. Additionally, it aims to adapt to climate change, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and contribute to fulfilling Vietnam’s international mitigation commitments, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

“IRRI has decades of cooperation with Vietnam and is always proud to have contributed to the development of Vietnam’s rice industry”, said Dr. Cao Duc Phat, former MARD Minister, who currently serves as the Chair of Board of Trustees of IRRI. Indeed, IRRI and Vietnam have collaborated on various projects on emissions reduction, such as studying new and improved rice varieties, promoting application of alternate wetting and drying (AWD) and mechanized direct seeding (mDSR), rice straw circular economy, and developing the rice activity monitoring and reporting system (RiceMoRe). IRRI science has made contributions to Vietnam’s sustainable rice production, and will continue to play a significant role in the implementation of the One million hectares project.

The ceremony was followed by field demonstrations of mDSR, mechanized rice straw-based composting, remote control lawn mower, and drone application. Machines from various organizations and companies including IRRI, CLRRI, Tu Sang Company, and Sai Gon Kim Hong Company, among others. participated in the demonstrations to showcase how mechanization can reduce the quantity of seeding and fertilizer application rates, thereby reducing GHG emissions, on top of saving labor and enhancing economic efficiency.

The launching ceremony and field demonstrations, together with other events during the 2023 International Rice Festival, received support and funding from IRRI and the CGIAR Initiatives on Asian Mega-Deltas and Excellence in Agronomy, as well as other international organizations.

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