Assessing the Potential of Climate Smart Agriculture in Large Rice Field Models in Vietnam

This study assesses the economic, social, and environmental impacts of Large Field Models (LFMs) and their potential for promoting Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA). In Vietnam, the government introduced the Large Field Model (LFM), a type of production organization, in which enterprises or cooperatives establish a cooperative relationship with farmers to apply a unification production procedure by providing production inputs (including material and technical support) and/or buying outputs from producers. These LFMs can be classified under three different forms based on the extent of those linkages: (1) farmers contribute land and/or labour to farmer cooperatives; (2) farmers sign contracts with cooperatives or enterprises and receive inputs; and (3) farmers lease out/sell their land to cooperatives or enterprises. Although the key objectives of constructing LFMs come from requirements in improving rice quality and rice production efficiency, these models also have potential for applying CSA to achieve three CSA pillars: productivity, resilience and mitigation. Productivity: the LFMs ensure integration between enterprises and farmers, wherein rice production is promoted, given that the output is sold at a more stable price. Therefore, farmers confidently manage their business to increase productivity. In addition, higher output price and lower production cost is observed from LFMs’ production. Better output price comes from the commitments of enterprises and higher rice quality produced from LFMs. The reduction in production costs is also achieved by taking advantage of economy of scale to apply modern agricultural machinery (such as tractors) and thus reduce labour costs. Resilience: this CSA pillar is created indirectly from LFMs. In general, as farmers use LFMs, they have a better chance to access certified seeds and follow the production procedures of enterprises under the direct support from technicians, and they are less likely to be exposed to disease epidemics than non-participant farmers. In addition, farmers who sign contracts with enterprises/cooperatives or work in LFMs tend to share their knowledge and discuss weather issues with technicians before deciding when to sow or harvest to reduce climate risks. Mitigation: the LFM production contributes to reduced GHG emissions. LFMs created a foundation to apply advanced cultivation methods and to follow strictly modern techniques such as: One Must Five Reductions (1M5Rs), Three Reductions Three Gain (3R3G), 4 Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD), System of Rice Intensification (SRI), and Deep Fertilizer Placement (DPF). The synchronized irrigation timing or flattened surface field of LFMs also contributes more efficient water use. Moreover, this model changes farmer behaviours toward more efficient and environmentally friendly paddy straw treatment to mitigate environmental impacts. In sum, there are potentials for promoting CSA application in LFMs. The integration developed through LFMs will produce friendly and mutually beneficial networks of farmers to share knowledge and modern techniques. This also encourages farmers to improve cultivating skills and output quality to sustain their contracts with better enterprises in the long run. In addition, the pressure from climate risks will push farmers to act collectively to adapt and mitigate environmental impacts. These potentials should be accompanied by the strong support from the government through its response to climate changes in the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs). However, there are still many constraints for expanding CSA application into LFMs. First, traditional cultivation and small landholding habits make it difficult for enterprises to accumulate land to form LFMs. Even when farmers agree to contribute their land to cooperatives, this model is still struggling to establish the appropriate benefit-sharing method in order to keep it working smoothly in the long run, especially due to land price fluctuations. Second, there are infrastructure-related issues. Some types of CSA practices require infrastructure support, for example irrigation systems for applying Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD). Finally, there is a need for a legal mechanism to bind contracts between enterprises and farmers, especially under high price volatility. Vietnam’s policy system to enhance CSA application and expand LFMs is still characterized by limitations related to effectiveness, validation and public-private participation. This requires a change to attract the participation of local government, enterprises, and farmers. For example, experience from other countries shows that in the case of small scale production, legal measures would not be feasible because of high transaction costs. Therefore, using community value to bind farmers to contracts is the most feasible measure that has been proven. In addition, support for developing agricultural insurance and infrastructure investment is important. However, before expanding CSA application into LFMs, detailed studies of LFMs in each region are required because each model might be more efficient for one specific region with a specific crop.
Working paper

Published on

2017-10-17

Author(s)

  • Thang, Tran Cong
  • Khoi, Dang Kim
  • Thiep, Do Huy
  • Tinh, Thai Van
  • Pede, Valerian Olivier

Citation

Thang TC, Khoi DK, Thiep DH, Lan VT, Tinh TV, Pede VO. 2017. Assessing the Potential of Climate Smart Agriculture in Large Rice Field Models in Vietnam. CCAFS Working Paper No. 211. Wageningen, the Netherlands: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

Series/Report No.

CCAFS Working Paper;211