To promote regional knowledge exchange, Filipino and Thai experts interacted with their Vietnamese counterparts to observe the participatory climate-related risk mapping and adaptive planning (climate-smart MAP) in the Mekong River Delta.

Three staff from Thailand’s Department of Agriculture (DOA) and one from the Philippines’ Isabela State University (ISU) attended the workshop on the development of responsive plans to cope with drought, salinity intrusion, and flooding in agricultural areas of the Mekong River Delta (MRD). Held in Can Tho, Vietnam on 21 July 2017, they had chance to observe the climate risk mapping techniques and adaptive planning (Climate-Smart MAP) approaches used in Vietnam.

According to Dr. Leo Sebastian, regional leader of CGIAR Research Program of Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security in Southeast Asia (CCAFS SEA), the interaction program aims to show the collaborative activities CCAFS-SEA is doing with Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Through this interaction with Vietnamese colleagues, CCAFS SEA can implement similar activities and develop similar plans for Thailand and the Philippines in the future,” he stressed.

One of the participants, Dr. William C. Medrano, Vice President for Research Development, Extension and Training of ISU, was impressed by how risk mapping and planning of adaptation strategies in respect to climate change was done at the provincial level. He also showed interest in the administrative arrangements of the risk mapping project, such as the roles and responsibilities of the different levels of governance in the mapping and planning activities.

The group discussed Climate-Smart MAP and planned to develop similar activities in Thailand and the Philippines. Photo: Eisen Bernardo (CCAFS SEA)

Dr. Sebastian emphasized to the group the importance of climate-smart MAP. He said that “when thinking of solutions to climate-related issues, conflict arises. Maps inform the decision-makers and farmers of the risks. So, use them and take the risks.” The group was interested to conduct climate-smart MAP in the areas prone to climate-related risks in Thailand and the Philippines.

The group also had the chance to visit the Dinh Thanh Agricultural Research Center (CTARC) of Loc Troi Group in An Giang province. CTARC is a privately-owned research institute working on plant breeding for rice, upland crops and vegetables, and doing applied research on plant protection, agronomy, food processing, among others.

Dr. Duong Van Chin, Chairman of CTARC, showcased to the group their various products and technologies such as the Loc Troi rice varieties, rice-shrimp system, organic and bio solutions, and the Sustainable Rice Platform. He proudly shared the cooperation and extension activities of the company with the local farmer groups all over the country.

Dr. Duong Van Chin, Chairman of CTARC, showcased to the group Loc Troi’s rice varieties. Photo: Eisen Bernardo (CCAFS SEA)

Thai participant Dr. Pichet Grudloyma, director of the Field and Renewable Energy Crops Research Institute, DOA commended Loc Troi’s commitment in helping the Vietnamese farmers. He particularly emphasized that “the good extension services for the farmers might be the key factor in the success of adoption of new technologies.”

Based on his observation, Dr. Medrano stressed that “the relationship between the company and the farmers is mutually beneficial and reinforcing - the one cannot exist without the other. The company does not make money at the expense of the farmers. Rather, they make money together with the farmers. That is a perfect business model for the agriculture sector.”

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