|A rice field in Cần Thơ City in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta. — VNA/VNS Photo Thu Hiền|
HÀ NỘI — A new project aims to form a stable and large-scale raw material area for rice production in the Mekong Delta, creating favourable conditions for modern and multi-purpose methods.
The project will sustainably develop one million hectares of high-quality rice with green growth in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Trần Thanh Nam spoke at a workshop on "Technological solutions to convert high-quality and low-emission rice for Việt Nam" held on Tuesday in Hà Nội.
He said that the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta was the country’s granary.
Rice production in the delta in recent years has been stable at about 24-25 million tonnes, contributing over 50 per cent of rice production and over 90 per cent of rice exports of the country.
It creates jobs and income for over 1.5 million agricultural households, makes a major contribution to ensuring national food security, and promotes the rice processing and export industry.
However, rice production in the delta still faces difficulties and has potential risks, such as low output and income for rice growers, low quality and competitiveness of exported rice, and rice production areas may be narrowed due to climate change.
The area under the project is expected to meet multiple goals including improving the value of the rice value chain and people's income, ensuring food security and serving rice export, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change.
According to Katherine Nelson, a climate change scientist from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), rice farming globally is the third largest source of carbon dioxide-free greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture, after livestock and arable land.
This is mainly due to the traditional method of rice farming, in which flooded rice fields release methane and other greenhouse gases.
One hectare of rice emitted about 6-12 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, compared with a US household that emitted about 8.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
With low-emission farming techniques, the maximum reduction rate is 65 per cent, which equals 5-9 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year per hectare.
This is comparable to converting a house in the US from using fossil fuels to solar power.
Climate change has been causing drought and salinity, and affecting rice production. On the other hand, rice production worsens climate change.
Therefore, the implementation of such a project was necessary, he said. — VNS