Vietnamese farmers start to reduce environmental footprint of rice production
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) said it continues to develop and promote practices that increase benefits for smallholder farmers while improving the environmental sustainability of rice production.
As part of the results of this effort, Vietnamese farmers already started reducing the environmental footprint of their rice production.
This, as rice production in the Mekong Delta particularly faces challenges to economic and environmental sustainability.
A group of scientists and extension specialists from IRRI and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Can Tho recently assessed different rice crop management practices in Mekong Delta, Vietnam, based on farm-level performance indicators of the Sustainable Rice Platform.
“Intensifying rice production in the area has helped address food security not only for Vietnam but for Asia as well. However, overuse of inputs and rising production costs has made it increasingly difficult to make rice farming economically and environmentally sustainable,” said IRRI scientist Alexander Stuart.
“There is a pressing need to improve the sustainability of rice production in this region” he added.
The study evaluated the sustainability performance of several initiatives to improve rice crop management in the area including ‘One Must Do, Five Reductions (1M5R), ‘Small Farmer Large Field’ (SFLF) model, and Good Agriculture Practice (GAP) standards.
“Through this research we were able to demonstrate that, compared to conventional practices, applying 1M5R with additional limits on the use of inputs can substantially increase the sustainability of rice production in the Mekong Delta” Stuart said.
“Farmers applying these best management practices reduced their pesticide use by more than half, had higher nitrogen- and phosphorus-use efficiencies, lower production costs and a 19 percent higher net income” he added.
Farmers implementing SFLF and GAP approaches also had a higher sustainability score compared to those who did not adopt such practices.