According to a new World Bank report, low-carbon rice production offers great potential for Vietnam to achieve its target of reducing methane emissions by 30% by 2030 while improving the competitiveness of a strategic export product.
The report, titled “Spearheading Vietnam’s Green Agricultural Transformation: Moving to Low-Carbon Rice,” suggests that Vietnam can transform the rice industry through cutting GHG emissions, improving resource efficiency and yields, boosting resilience, and diversifying production.
Such transformation will require substantial investment and considerable regulatory reforms to align incentives and coordinate behaviors of stakeholders at all levels.
“The agricultural sector, despite all its successes, is an important contributor to GHG emissions in Vietnam,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam.
“It has reached a point where a transition to lower-carbon modes of farming is imperative—the longer it takes to switch, the higher the costs will be. Experience suggests that government has a catalytic role to play in driving the green transition through strategic allocation of public investment and strengthening the enabling environment for private sector participation in a modern, green agriculture sector,” she said.
Rice is Vietnam’s most important crop, covering more than half of its agricultural land area and accounts for 48% of the agriculture sector’s GHG emissions and over 75% of methane emissions.
Conservative estimates show that farmers could maintain or increase yields by 5% to 10% and reduce input costs by 20% to 30%, thereby boosting net profits by around 25% through improving water management and optimizing application of inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and pesticide.
More significantly, these improved methods would also help reduce GHG emissions by up to 30%. These methods have successfully conducted trial run in approximately 184,000 hectares of rice farming under World Bank’s Vietnam Sustainable Agriculture Transformation Project.
“These methods have been proven effective,” said Benoît Bosquet, World Bank Regional Director for Sustainable Development in East Asia Pacific. “If we can scale them up in the whole agricultural sector, they will help Vietnam progress towards its 2050 net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target.”
The report highlights five short- to medium-term policy areas to accelerate the transition to low-carbon agriculture, including ensuring policy coherence and plan-budget alignment, repurposing policy tools and public expenditures, promoting public investments, strengthening institutions, and enabling the private sector and other stakeholders to take part.