Private Sectors Urged to Invest in Rice Farming in Vietnam

Climate change is threatening to upend Vietnam's centuries-old farming methods, causing a potential rice shortage, according to sustainable business expert, journalist Carlos Manuel Rodriguez of Triple Pundit.

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Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region has served as the country’s breadbasket for years. Known for its fertile soil, the area produces over half of all rice grown in Vietnam, a staple in the Vietnamese diet. However, in 2016, the delta experienced a devastating drought that left 600,000 people without access to fresh water. Rice yields had already been declining for several seasons, but the drought became a tipping point for many farming families. Degraded land, water scarcity, and pollution led to the migration of nearly 1.1 million people from the region.
Rice yields had already been falling for seasons, but the drought represented a tipping point for many farming families. Degraded land, lack of water, and pollution caused nearly 1.1 million people to migrate from the region.

Rice Farming in Vietnam Needs Investment from Private Sectors
A Vietnamese rice farmer weeds her field by hand (Image: Bryon Lippincott/Flickr) .

In a recent article on Triple Pundit, sustainability expert Carlos Manuel Rodriguez highlighted how traditional farming methods are at risk due to climate change.

“If we continue cultivating rice using these methods, climate change-related weather incidents and depleted resources will inevitably lead to a shortage, potentially causing a global hunger crisis,” wrote Rodriguez.

Rodriguez emphasized the need for the private sector to invest in sustainable rice production. This investment is not only necessary to meet global climate policy requirements, but also to ensure the adaptability of rice farming to our changing planet and to maintain profitability for businesses.

Rice Farming in Vietnam Needs Investment from Private Sectors
Former Costa Rican Environment and Energy Minister Carlos Manuel Rodriguez (Photo: Nature Markets).

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, former Costa Rican Environment and Energy Minister, was appointed as CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility in June 2020. Rodriguez is a pioneer in the development of Payment for Ecosystem Services and strategies for forest restoration, ocean conservation, and decarbonization.

During his tenure as Environment and Energy Minister, Costa Rica doubled the size of its forests, made its electric sector 100% renewable, and established a national park system that has made the Central American country a leader in conservation.

Rodriguez also served as Vice-President for Global Policy at Conservation International for 12 years, working in 30 tropical countries in Central and South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

“Conventional rice farming methods are a ticking time bomb. We have developed proven techniques, collaborated with governments to shift national policies, and trained farmers worldwide. Now, it’s time for CEOs to take action, not only to save their businesses but also to prevent climate and hunger disasters,” Rodriguez exclaimed.

To illustrate how climate change impacts rice cultivation globally, Rodriguez referred to Vietnam’s adoption of sustainable rice production methods that are resilient to climate change and yield comparable results to conventional cultivation.

“A study conducted in An Giang province in Vietnam, the world’s fifth-largest rice producer, compared harvests between farmers using the sustainable wetting-and-drying (AWD) field method and those using the conventional field flooding approach. The yields were almost identical, and the AWD method emitted fewer greenhouse gases while requiring fewer seeds and fertilizers.”

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