|Workers load bags of rice at the Sông Hâu Food Company. Photo courtesy of the Việt Nam Southern Food Corporation
HCM CITY — Thousands of rice farmers in the northern province of Thái Bình are benefiting from a programme meant to help them adopt innovative technologies and approaches to increase yields while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a meeting heard in HCM City on December 25.
Trần Thu Hà, director of the AgResults Việt Nam Emissions Reduction Pilot (AVERP) project, said in the five years since the project started it had helped more than 23,000 farm households in Thái Bình adopt new practices and technologies to increase yields and reduce CO2 emissions by two tonnes per hectare per crop.
“The project targets the dual benefit of socio-economic development and environmental protection.”
It aims to reach 75,000 farm households in the province, reduce 375,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and save small farmers’ costs by 15 per cent through lower input use.
Four companies An Định, Thái Bình Seed, Fari-Seed, and Bình Điền Fertiliser participated in a pay-for-results prize competition to develop, test and scale up technologies and tools to reduce GHG emissions.
“Rice farmers reflected on the challenges they had experienced as early adopters of the farming technologies. They also said how they soon realised these agronomic practices could reduce costs.”
Results in terms of increased yields and lower emissions are verified by US firm Applied Geo-Solutions and monitored by non-profit SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and the Thái Bình Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
AVERP, implemented since 2016, has an US$8 million prize.
It uses results-based incentives to encourage private competitors to deliver packages and training to smallholder farmers.
These new approaches help lower GHG emissions, protect the environment, and ultimately reduce poverty among smallholder farmers in the province.
Funded by the governments of the US, UK, Australia, and Canada and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the project focuses on reducing emissions during land preparation and rice cultivation as most occur during these stages.
“The results of the project will play an important role in the orientation of the project to restructure the rice production sector by 2025,” Hà said.
The conference was co-organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation. — VNS