Vietnamese Farmers Adopt Climate-Smart Techniques to Cut Methane Emissions from Rice Cultivation

Vietnamese farmers in the Mekong Delta are pioneering sustainable rice cultivation techniques to reduce methane emissions, a significant contributor to greenhouse gases. Their innovations, including water-saving methods and drone-aided fertilizer application, could inspire global agricultural practices and combat climate change.

author-image
Quadri Adejumo
Updated On
New Update
Vietnamese Farmers Adopt Climate-Smart Techniques to Cut Methane Emissions from Rice Cultivation

Vietnamese Farmers Adopt Climate-Smart Techniques to Cut Methane Emissions from Rice Cultivation

Vietnamese farmers in the Mekong Delta are pioneering new techniques to reduce methane emissions from rice cultivation, a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the country. Methane from rice farming accounts for 8% of global human-made methane emissions and up to 15% of Vietnam's total emissions, surpassing even the transportation sector.

Farmers like 60-year-old Vo Van Van are at the forefront of this change. Van has adopted the alternate wetting and drying (AWD) method, which uses less water than traditional flooded paddies, thereby curtailing methane production. He also utilizes drone technology to precisely apply organic fertilizer, reducing excess nitrogen gases. Additionally, Van has stopped burning rice stubble, instead repurposing it as livestock feed or for growing straw mushrooms.

These innovations are part of a broader movement in Vietnam, supported by the country's largest rice exporter, Loc Troi Group, and international entities like the World Bank. The Loc Troi Group is working with farmers to expand the use of these climate-smart farming practices from the current 100 hectares to 300,000 hectares.

Why this matters: Vietnam's efforts to reduce methane emissions from rice cultivation could set a precedent for global agricultural practices in flood-prone and methane-sensitive areas. As the world's third-largest rice exporter, Vietnam's success in adopting sustainable farming methods could inspire other countries to follow suit, contributing to the fight against climate change.

The changes have enabled farmers to use 40% less rice seed and 30% less water, aligning with Vietnam's goal of growing 'high quality, low emission rice' on 1 million hectares of farmland by 2030. This could reduce production costs by a fifth and increase farmer profits by over $600 million.

"The new techniques help me use 40% less rice seed and 30% less water, while also lowering costs for pesticides, fertilizer, and labor," Van said, highlighting the economic benefits of adopting sustainable practices.

Vietnam has recognized the need to reconfigure its rice sector, which is vulnerable to climate change impacts like flooding and droughts. The World Bank is supporting Vietnam's efforts and helping other countries adopt climate-resilient farming practices to combat methane emissions, seen as a rare area where low-cost and effective solutions exist.

Key Takeaways

  • Vietnamese farmers in Mekong Delta pioneering techniques to reduce methane emissions from rice cultivation.
  • Farmers using alternate wetting/drying, drone tech for fertilizer, and repurposing rice stubble to cut emissions.
  • Initiatives supported by Vietnam's largest rice exporter and the World Bank to expand climate-smart farming.
  • Sustainable practices enable 40% less rice seed, 30% less water, and 20% lower production costs.
  • Vietnam aims to grow 'high quality, low emission rice' on 1 million hectares by 2030 to combat climate change.