Vietnam changes farming methods to adapt to climate change

09:02 | 14/05/2019 Economy- Society

(VEN) - Vietnam is one of the five countries in the world most affected by climate change, including storms, floods, droughts, and landslides. With Vietnam’s agricultural sector facing serious climate change impact, food production must be adapted to the changing conditions and improved. Smart agriculture adapting to climate change, ensuring food security, and achieving important development goals are pressing issues for the agricultural sector.

vietnam changes farming methods to adapt to climate change

Agriculture contributed 8.7 percent to the overall growth of the Vietnamese economy in 2018. However, climate change and extreme weather conditions have had serious impact on the country’s agriculture.

In 2018, natural disasters occurred in all regions of the country, including 13 typhoons and tropical depressions, 212 thunderstorms, 14 flash floods and landslides, four extreme cold spells, 11 heat waves and 30 torrential rain storms along with a series of high tides in southern provinces. Natural disasters killed 218 people and resulted in loss of VND20 trillion to the country in 2018.

Climate change has been reducing productivity of some key crops. Specifically, it will reduce the yield of rice by 0.41 and 0.72 tonnes per hectare by 2030 and 2050, respectively. Others crops such as maize will decrease by 0.44 and 0.78 tonnes per hectare by 2030 and 2050, respectively.

Samarendu Mohanty, Asia regional director of the International Potato Center (CIP), said, “If we have to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to poverty, climate change and food and nutrition security by 2030, we need to then change the way food is produced, processed and consumed.” Mohanty spoke at a regional policy forum, entitled “Opportunities for Climate-Smart Food System in Vietnam” held in Hanoi on April 10.

Mohanty said seven agricultural production countries were taking part in the seed sharing agreement. He expected Vietnam would join because its agricultural production, especially cereals, face major challenges in coping with climate change.

Mohanty also suggested that Vietnam accelerate the registration of potato varieties, a process that can be achieved within two years - unlike many other cereals for which creating new varieties can take 10 to 12 years.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh said that in recent years, the agricultural sector has achieved many positive results. Vietnam’s agricultural products are available in 180 countries around the world. The 10 commodity groups with export turnover of over US$1 billion include seven agricultural products.

Since adopting climate-smart agriculture, localities in the Mekong Delta region have shifted 40,000ha of farming land to aquaculture and fruit tree cultivation. However, rice production has been maintained at previous levels due to an increase in the productivity and improved quality of rice seed.

“It proves that concerted efforts of international organizations, scientists, state management agencies and farmers can work together to help raise farmers’ income and ensure global food security in the context of climate change,” Doanh said. He also said countries should coordinate in order to address climate change issues. He expressed his hope that international organizations would continue to play a key role and work with Vietnamese agencies and localities in more specific programs to ensure sustainable agriculture.

Indian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Ashwini Kumar said India was working with seven Asian countries in the production of plant varieties adapting to climate change, and offered to share with Vietnam its models. “India is working hard to further promote multiplication and to facilitate farmer access to good varieties. In the coming time, we will share data on new high-quality varieties with countries,” said Ashwini Kumar.

Nguyen Hanh