Context and background
In northern and central uplands of Vietnam, rice has long been one of the main crops. To these days, rice is the only staple food crop for over 15 million local farmers in these regions, who are among the poorest and most vulnerable to natural disasters and climate shocks in the country. In these upland regions, rice is produced in four types of environments:
– Irrigated lowland: plain areas with irrigation canal systems, located between mountains and hills; paddy rice is produced in 2 cropping seasons (spring-summer and summer-autumn).
– Rainfed lowland: in small lower flat areas and valleys scattered among hills and mountains and without irrigation systems; paddy is produced in one or two cropping seasons, depending on the water availability.
– Terraces: in terraces made along contour of hill sides; wet rice is produced, mostly in one cropping season in wet season.
– Sloping land: along in hill sides where upland rice is produced in wet season
Due to various reasons, rice yield in these regions is both low and unstable. On average, the paddy yield in irrigated lowlands is only about 4.5 t/ha/season while the country’s average is 5.7 t/ha (Center of Agricultural Information and Statistics, 2015). On the other hand, household survey data in 2011 by NOMAFSI (Northern Mountainous Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute) show that, in the northern uplands, there is huge variation in rice yields among households, communities and environments. Survey data also indicated that, in upland regions, local and newly developed inbred varieties represent a large share, 60 – 70%, of the total rice growing area. There are diverse and resilient local varieties with high potential yields of over 3.0 t/ha/season for sloping lands and 5.0 -6.0 t/ha/season for flatlands. However, their actual yields can only reach 1.3 – 1.8 t/ha/season for sloping and 3.0 -4.0 t/ha/season for flat lands due to multi-faceted issues that hinder technology adoption.
The gaps in the potential and actual yields can be reduced through the use of improved production/management practices and good seed quality. Up to the present, farmers still use own farm-saved seeds which are of poor quality (NOMAFSI, 2011). In addition, as there are informal seed supply channels not covered by the seed quality control system, a significant amount of seeds of hybrid and newly developed inbred varieties are also of poor quality. On the other hand, there is weak dissemination of sustainable good agricultural practices, such as Integrated Crop Management (ICM) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and poor farmers are have not fully benefited from available innovations. The more popular technologies are not really effective and oftentimes contributing to unsustainable conditions and unnecessary costs, such as unbalanced levels of fertilizers (nitrogen only or too high ratio of nitrogen) are applied, seeding rates that far exceed the recommended level, planting density that is 5 times exceeding the required and unregulated water regime.
Nevertheless, the adoption of technical innovations is very limited, and above mentioned gaps in yield and profits remain.
In this context, during the past years, institutions under VAAS (Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences) with support from CURE (Consortium for Unfavourable Rice Environments) have worked in partnership with provincial departments of agriculture and rural development (DARDs), towards adoption of sustainable intensification practices for rice in unfavourable environments. Partnerships under CURE allow for an environment of sharing innovative solutions that help raise productivity and income in fragile rice ecosystems. The aim is to catalyze national programs to adopt interventions along the impact pathway for greater impact in poor farming communities. Joining this effort are international donors, research institutions, NGOs, networks and consortium, namely FAO, IRRI, IFAD, AFD and CIRAD. As results, technical innovations have been developed and promoted, and analysis data show that their adoption brings not only better income for households but also environmental and climate benefits.
This consultation-workshop is organized primarily to identify best management practices and innovations that are now ready for dissemination and the impact pathway through which these can be disseminated to farmers. Specifically, this activity will:
(1) Review and identify technical innovations of value and potential contribution in addressing issues for sustainable production of rice and have the potential for up- and out-scaling in the unfavourable upland environments in the North and Central Vietnam;
(2) Identify strategies for successful promotion of technologies through discussions and consultation among participants representing a wide range of stakeholders: central government decision makers, local government decision makers, donors, researchers, extension officers, NGOs and international experts;
(3) Identify national/regional/provincial programs for up-scaling and out-scaling the innovations.
1) Gaps and new research and development areas
2) Identification of technologies and innovation for up- and out-scaling and Areas/locations where technologies can be disseminated
3) Strategies for dissemination of technologies, including potential national and provincial programs and activities for the identified technologies
4) Identification of partnerships and knowledge management products to support the dissemination process
Date: November 9 – 10, 2015
Venue: Flower Garden Hotel, 46 Nguyen Truong To Street, Hanoi
—> Further reading for the program and etc.