Vietnam is outlining a plan to cultivate one million hectares of low-carbon, high-quality rice in the Mekong River Delta to meet its net zero emission targets
The plan, being prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), is expected to be submitted to the Government for approval in March and be under implementation in 2024. 12 out of 13 provinces in the region have signed up for the plan, having committed to reaching 200,000 ha next year, 719,000 ha in 2025, and more than one million hectares in 2030.
An Giang Province took the lead with a commitment to grow 150,000 ha in 2025 and 200,000 ha in 2030, undertaking a large share of the target.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Trần Thanh Nam, said most Vietnamese firms do not develop rice paddies to cater to their exports. The firms rely only on traders to maintain their trade activities, resulting in a volatile rice market. As such, the involvement of firms in the plan would hold the key to its successful implementation.
He also said several Japanese firms were making a request for their participation in the plan. If the ministry accepts their request, they would undertake 200,000 ha of the target and use the rice to produce biofuel.
Lê Thanh Tùng, deputy director of the Department of Crop Production, MARD, stated that the target for 2024 would be within reach because 184,000 ha of land under vnSAT projects (Vietnam Sustainable Agriculture Transformation) could be easily transformed into low-carbon paddies.
Nguyễn Thanh Truyền, director of Long An Province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, revealed that his province would contribute 60,000 ha to the common efforts in 2025, and 120,000 ha in 2030.
The World Bank's agriculture economist, Animesh Shrivastava, underlined two challenges for the plan which centre around farmers' incomes and the market. He said rice is an agricultural staple of the country but it has not provided farmers with a decent income. Food security would always be at risk unless the country could improve farmers' livelihoods. The expert urged Vietnam to invest further in market research and brand promotion to help its rice gain ground globally.
Nguyễn Văn Thành, chairman of the Phước Thành IV Trading - Production Company Ltd., said the ministry must offer firms some kind of incentive if it wants firms to actively take part in the plan. Such incentives could include preferential loans to help firms take hold of machinery, equipment, and warehouses more easily.
To read more on what Vietnam is doing for sustainable aquaculture, check out: https://www.fareasternagriculture.com/live-stock/aquaculture/vietnam-to-develop-sustainable-aquaculture-with-export-revenues-of-us-12bn-by-2030