Writer: Sieu Trinh, ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between German-ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (ASEAN SAS) project and a local partner in Viet Nam, Loc Troi Group to strengthen cooperation on sustainable rice production in Viet Nam. ASEAN SAS project is commissioned by German’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by German International Cooperation (GIZ).
According to the MoU, knowledge sharing and exchange of best practices and expertise between “Promotion of Integrated Pest Management to address Plant-hopper Outbreaks in Rice project” (Rice IPM project) and Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) programme, as well as enhancing Biocontrol Agent (BCA) application on rice would be the highlight.
Co-financed by CropLife International and the German government, Rice IPM project aims to adopt Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to prevent plant-hopper outbreaks in rice through demonstration and training of smallholder farmers and pesticide retailers. Rice IPM is part of Better Rice Initiative Asia in Viet Nam.
Co-convened by United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Sustainable Rice Platform is a multi-stakeholder partnership to promote resource efficiency and sustainability. SRP standard is described as ambitious since it contains eight requirements and 46 indicators covering wide varieties of factors including economics, social, and environment. Saving water resource and reducing GHG emission is also one of SRP indicator. As a result, a closely monitored water level in rice field as well as record volume of water supplied is needed, for instance.
The SRP standard currently is in pilot phase, and Loc Troi Group (LTG) is implementing a large scale pilot area of this standard to receive feedback for further fine-tune of the standards. In Viet Nam LTG is a key BCA producer and plays a lead role in the plant protection sector. LTG is an active member of SRP programme.
One best practice from Rice IPM to be shared with SRP is IPM training and practice for so called SRP farmers in SRP pilot areas. As the member of SRP, LTG supports farmers to follow the SRP standards. The knowledge sharing through IPM training is needed to assist farmers in making rational pest control decisions and, therefore, minimising pesticide application.
“Our SRP farmers need to be trained in IPM [Integrated Pest Management]. And, Rice IPM can support us on this knowledge,” said Mr. Vo Van A, Director of Dinh Thanh Agriculture Research Center (DT ARC) of Loc Troi Group.
Rice IPM project will support LTG by providing IPM training to farmers in SRP pilot areas in Kien Giang and Dong Thap provinces. Farmers will receive IPM training in 12 consecutive weeks of 12 farmer training modules using Rice IPM project’s training materials. The training model of farmer to farmer training will also be highlighted.
Moreover, in order to implement IPM training in other provinces of Viet Nam, a Training of Trainers (ToT) for LTG staffs will be organized in cooperation between LTG and SRPPC applying training material from Rice IPM project.
The MoU signing event was organized in Southern Region Plant Protection Center (SRPPC), Tien Giang province on 20 October 2016. Mr. Le Quoc Cuong, Director of SRPPC is present as witness.
The cooperation between LTG, SRPPC and the German government through ASEAN SAS Vietnam will fill the needs of IPM training for SRP programme in Viet Nam.
Mr. Le Quoc Cuong, Director of SRPPC said: “IPM [Integrated Pest Management] programme helps farmers protect their yield more effectively with lower cost. And, I am happy that we can support the SRP [Sustainable Rice Platform], which could help farmers in gaining better market and better price.”
Mr. Ambros Dotzer, Regional Coordinator of ASEAN SAS said: “Rice is an important commodity of Viet Nam. Currently, Viet Nam rice faces a lot of competition from global markets. This cooperation promotes sustainable growth and competiveness for Viet Nam rice”
In additional, the cooperation will foster the use of sustainable agriculture inputs. In cooperation with other institutions, LTG as a key BCA producer in Mekong Delta develops a wide varieties of BCA products for many types of crops, including using Trichoderma for faster rice straw decomposing, a sustainable alternative for rice field clean-up instead of burning. LTG will cooperate with ASEAN SAS for introduction of this technology to other IPM groups, those who have previous trainings through Rice IPM with field demonstrations and farmer field days. Trichoderma demonstrations will be organized in Dong Thap, Kien Giang and Hau Giang provinces for wide spreading of Trichoderma to IPM trained farmers.
Rice field clean-up: In many rice growing area especially Mekong delta, farmer burn rice straw after harvesting as part of land preparation. Field burning helps killing pest and diseases, and more importantly, prevent organic intoxication that causes damage to seedling of the next season. However, this is not a sustainable practice due to nutrition lost and greenhouse gas emission. Trichoderma is a benefit microorganism which can foster rice straw decomposing and can be used as an alternative solution for field clean-up instead of field burning.
The initiation for cooperation between German’s supported ASEAN SAS and LTG does not only enhance SRP activities in Vietnam, but also foster application of sustainable agriculture input and practice. Further cooperation opportunity are open for explore during activity implementation in a future.