Project teaches Mekong farmers how flooding can improve income

07:00 | 28/11/2021 Economy

(VEN) - The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Vietnam has completed a four-year flood-based livelihoods project in support of a water retention strategy for the Mekong Delta’s Dong Thap, Long An, and An Giang provinces.  

Improved income

The project launched in 2018 and funded by the Coca Cola Foundation aims to train and help Mekong Delta farmers adopt financially attractive, low-risk, flood-based livelihoods as alternatives to unsustainable triple rice cropping, and increase their income while protecting the environment and conserving biodiversity.

Flood-based livelihood models include lotus-based eco-tours; a model for combination of lotus cultivation with fish farming and rice growing during the flood season; and fish farming and vegetable growing models. The project targets 450 hectares of flood-based livelihoods, conserving or restoring approximately 6.7 million cubic meters per year of flood retention capacity.

Scaling up the demonstration is expected to help restore some of the four billion cubic meters of water retention that was lost in the decade from 2000 and 2011.

On November 12, IUCN organized a closing workshop for the project via video teleconference to review the results and encourage the up-scaling of the project in the region.

Addressing the workshop, Andrew Wyatt, Deputy Director of the IUCN Indo-Burma Group, said IUCN has carried out the project in three Mekong Delta provinces of An Giang, Dong Thap and Long An from 2018 to 2021. It aims to implement demonstrations of low-risk, flood-based livelihoods across about 470 hectares of rice-growing land and retain some 8.6 million cu.m of flood water.

The project provided training for farmers, helping them develop and implement low-risk but profitable flood-based livelihood models inside and outside embankments. Farmers could as much as double their income during the flood season. The project has been implemented at 15 sites, holding 16 training courses for more than 1,000 farmers in the three provinces.

project teaches mekong farmers how flooding can improve income
project teaches mekong farmers how flooding can improve income
The flood-based livelihoods project in the Mekong Delta teaches residents how to make lotus silk

Scaling up efficient models

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, many pilot models of flood-based livelihoods have proven sustainable and efficient, and are potential for replication. They have been therefore welcomed by farmer households, businesses and local authorities.

The Tan Thanh Cooperative in An Giang Province and Tan Kieu Cooperative in Dong Thap Province convinced local business to buy farmers’ products. Some businesses in An Giang purchased lotus, while the Loc Troi Group purchased rice from flood-based livelihood models in Long An Province.

The people’s committee of Long An Province’s Tan Hung District has prepared plans to expand floating rice cultivation area in the region. The Lang Sen Wetland Reserve provided financial assistance enabling residents to learn how to produce lotus silk. The farmers’ association of Dong Thap Province’s Thap Muoi District also offered funding to help local households implement flood-based livelihood models.

Apart from improving farmers’ income, flood-based livelihoods help conserve natural resources, increase freshwater storage capacity, and restore and conserve aquatic species. Silt accumulated in the soil helps increase soil fertility and reduce the need for crop fertilizers in the dry season, minimize the use of pesticides and plant diseases, increase natural aquatic species, and improve biodiversity and agro-ecosystems.

IUCN and its partners will continue to seek and mobilize more technical and financial resources from stakeholders such as the government, donors and the private sector to replicate flood-based livelihood models.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Vietnam has completed a four-year flood-based livelihoods project in support of a water retention strategy for the Mekong Delta’s Dong Thap, Long An, and An Giang provinces.

Nguyen Hanh