An integrated system for real-time monitoring of rice production and climate risks

In the Mekong River Delta of Vietnam, a map-based system is being develop for real-time monitoring of rice production and raising the alarm for various climate-related risks. Photo: Eisen Bernardo (CCAFS SEA)

For quick response to the climate-related impacts to rice production in the Mekong River Delta, an integrated GIS-based system is being developed.

In 2017, the Department of Crop Production (DCP) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) of Vietnam, in cooperation with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Southeast Asia (CCAFS SEA), developed and implemented the Climate-Smart Maps and Adaptation Plans (CS MAP) project. CS MAP maps drought, flooding, and salinity intrusion, and develop long- and medium-term adaptive plans in the Mekong River Delta (MRD). The methodology used promotes stakeholders’ participation in identifying feasible solutions to address specific local problems for sustainable rice production at provincial level.

Climate-related risks may have different impacts on crops depending on occurrence and intensity, and crop variety and development stage. There is a need for different management levels to provide short-term alerts and appropriate actions to respond to the risks through an integrated monitoring system.  

To address this need, the CS MAP system is being developed using a Web-based Geographical Information System platform (WebGIS). It includes modules for real-time monitoring of rice production progress and provides alerts for climate risks, pests and diseases at different development stages of the crop development. It is compatible with the current monitoring and reporting system of the DCP and its provincial units.

On 29 March 2018, a consultation meeting was organized by DCP and CCAFS SEA in Ho Chi Minh City with the participation of 15 officials from DCP, CCAFS SEA and the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) offices of An Giang, Dong Thap, Can Tho, and Long An. Meeting participants discussed the technical requirements, design, functions, and outputs of the system to ensure that it will effectively support their work.

Consultation meeting with officials from DCP, CCAFS SEA and provincial DARDs. Photo: CCAFS SEA

The integrated system

The integrated system includes three monitoring components: climate-related risks, rice growth, and pest and diseases. The system uses a weekly time interval for updating observation data and, thus, it can provide weekly risk alerts and inventory report. Alert levels and quick advisories will be associated with vulnerable rice areas,  based on participatory risk maps to be developed.

During the meeting, the participants agreed to use the flood-protected zone, a group of fields that is surrounded by dykes, as the smallest management unit for monitoring and reporting rice production and risks. The size of the zone varies from 50 ha to 250 ha depending on terrain and hydrological network.

Other details such as format of input and output data, reporting methods and management hierarchy were also determined by the participants.

Opportunities and challenges

Mr. Le Thanh Tung, the representative of DCP’s Southern office, shared that with their existing paper reporting system, DCP has difficulties in locating the climate-risk sensitive areas as well as providing spatial inventory of rice growth in the region. This leads to limitations in developing immediate responses in cases of natural disasters or pest and disease outbreaks. He stressed that there is a genuine need for a map-based and integrated system to better manage the rice production in MRD.

The integrated system is also a source of information that supports national and local government agencies, research and development organizations, farmers and other stakeholders in their related works. Currently, DCP is working with research institutes to develop a database needed for the system. Several follow-up activities including capacity building, system development, piloting and implementation of the system will be carried out in the coming months of 2018.

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Eisen Bernardo is the Senior Communication Specialist of CCAFS Southeast Asia.