A policy suggestion workshop, titled “Suggestions for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from rice cultivation in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam,” was held in An Giang Province on February 28, attended by various stakeholders such as staff from the Southern Office of DARD under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) , workers from local extension centers, researchers of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment in Can Tho University (CTU), local officials of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and farmers including those who directly supported the research at the experimental sites. The workshop was handled by an expert from the Mekong River Commission based in Lao PDR and four researchers from JIRCAS. The workshop was successfully concluded by handing over the policy suggestion paper from Dr. Satoshi Tobita, program director at JIRCAS, to Mr. Cao Vinh Thong, head of the Plant Protection Department under DARD.
One of the GHG mitigation technologies discussed was the Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) technology. AWD reduces methane gas emissions from paddy fields and irrigation water consumption by intermittent irrigation like the Nakaboshi irrigation of Japan. The technology was developed by IRRI for dissemination in monsoon Asian countries including Vietnam. JIRCAS has been studying AWD in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam for approximately 10 years and has uncovered its beneficial effects not only for reducing methane gas emissions but also for increasing crop yield and reducing the cost of irrigation pumping. The Government of Vietnam considers methane emission reduction from paddy fields to play a key role in reducing GHGs from the agricultural sector and that AWD significantly contributes to the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The rice yield increase brought about by AWD can be a strong motivation for farmers to deploy AWD. The scientific evidences provided by JIRCAS and CTU to An Giang DARD boosts further dissemination of AWD.
The workshop was carried out in the local Vietnamese language. A presenter in charge of agriculture extension introduced their extension package including AWD and chemical fertilizer saving under an easy comprehensive slogan, “3 Decreases and 3 Increases.” On the other hand, it was pointed out that farmland consolidation, which was a suggested option by JIRCAS, needed further alignment with Vietnamese land policy. Another proposed option, which involved information and communication technology (ICT) application for paddy water level monitoring, generated significant interest among participants, including researchers from JIRCAS and CTU, who learned a lot on future research needs from the workshop discussion.