To cope with climate change, farmers switch crops

As the effects of climate change and salinity intrusioncontinue to plague farmers in the Mekong Delta, they have begun to restructure their cultivation plans.

“The saltwater has damaged thousands of hectares of rice in An Biên and An Minh districts, and other Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces. So, farmers in An Minh and An Biên districts are now breeding shrimp along with rice,” Tấn said.

Local authorities have been encouraging many farmers in the Delta to combine aquaculture and the cultivation of organic rice.

Phạm Thi Chi, a farmer in An Minh District, who has shifted to a combination of rice and aquaculture, said: “Fifteen households, including my own, invested in an irrigation dyke around rice areas to create a water supply system to control salinity. Local authorities have also helped us find firms who will buy our produce at a higher price than the market price.”

In the past, farmers in coastal districts such as An Biên and An Minh grew two rice crops a year. One ha of rice produced only 2.5 to 4 tonnes and brought income of about VNĐ20 million (US$900).

However, the combination of rice and aquaculture can bring in VNĐ80 million to VNĐ100 million ($3,600 – 4,500) per ha, according to Tấn.

In An Minh District, Võ Thị Trà owns a 2-ha field. During the fresh water season, she grows rice but when saline water enters her fields, she raises blue-legged prawns.

Her profit has reached VNĐ200 million ($8,800) a year.

Trà harvests about three tonnes of rice a year, keeping one tonne for her family and two tonnes mixed with baby shrimp to use as feed for blue-legged prawns.

Huỳnh Văn Thanh, an official in An Biên District, said the income of local farmers had improved in recent years. An Biên District has around 30,000ha of rice fields, producing 150 thousand tonnes per year.

Under an agricultural restructuring programme, the district plans to reduce the area for the two annual rice crops to 2,900ha by 2020, and increase the combined rice/aquaculture areas to 25,000 ha, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“The new cultivation plans has also helped farmers save a lot on fertilisers,” Tấn said. “But I don’t have experience in growing vegetables, and lack capital to make certain changes.”

To help farmers, the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has been working with other agencies to organise workshops and has supported low-interest bank loans.

Raising mussels

Nguyễn Thanh Danh, a farmer in Kiên Giang Province’s An Biên District, said he began raising mussels instead of planting rice three years ago.

“My wife and I now own a 5-ha mussel farm, earning a profit of hundreds of millions of đồng each year,” he said. “Growing rice, we always worried how we would earn enough to cover daily expenses.”

Danh said that a decade ago local farmers cultivated rice for only six months and did not grow other crops for the remaining six months because salinity attacked their fields.

Many of the farmers were poor and had to earn a living during the salinity season in other provinces.

Mussels have high economic value and are mainly used as food for shrimp. They can be raised without being fed, so residents from An Biên and An Minh districts can place the traps and return two to three months later to collect the mussels, which are then sold.

The Mekong Delta, home to more than 17 million people, is Việt Nam’s most important agriculture region.

It is facing serious threats because of climate change. Last year, the severe drought and salinity in the southern Delta was a wake-up call for farmers, authorities and policymakers to take immediate action against the threat.

Read more at http://vietnamnews.vn/environment/425304/to-cope-with-climate-change-farmers-switch-crops.html#kCQF5RpLh5Y6TF44.99

Top legislator meets vietnamese community in the netherlands.

National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân has lauded the contributions of the 20,000-strong Vietnamese community in the Netherlands, especially the Vietnamese Association in The Hague, to promoting Việt Nam’s image to the world and social movements at home.

Meeting officials of the Vietnamese community and officials of the Vietnamese Embassy in the European country on March 26, the top legislator noted that the association had worked with the Vietnamese Embassy to organise Vietnamese classes in the country since late 2017, promoting national culture and traditions.

She affirmed the Party and State’s policy of considering overseas Vietnamese communities an inseparable part of the nation, noting that many policies had been designed to create favourable conditions for Vietnamese people abroad to return home and seek business opportunities, especially in science and technology.  A revised Law on Technology Transfer had been issued, aiming to encourage more technology transfer to Vietnam, she noted.

She also praised the efforts of the Vietnamese Embassy in the Netherlands in implementing tasks assigned by the Party and State, pledging that the NA would create optimal conditions for the embassy to operate efficiently.
She expressed delight at the sound friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and the Netherlands over the past 45 years, as well as strengthened bilateral political trust. Links in climate change response, water management, sustainable agriculture and food security had been fruitful, she added.

The Netherlands has become the largest export market of Việt Nam in the EU. Two-way trade in 2017 exceeded US$7.7 billion, while the Netherlands ranks 11th out of 126 foreign investors in Vietnam with total investment of US$8.17 billion.

Source: Vietnam News

VN hopes to learn from Netherlands’ delta development

THE HAGUE — Việt Nam wishes to learn from the Netherlands’ experience with planning strategies and mobilising finance to sustainably develop its Mekong Delta, said National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân.

Ngân made the remark while meeting Hermen Borst, Director of the Staff of the Delta Programme Commissioner, at The Hague on Monday, as part of her official trip to the European country.

Underscoring her visit’s aim of strengthening ties with the Netherlands and its parliament, the top legislator said Việt Nam–Netherlands relations have undergone 45 years of fruitful development across multiple fields, with increasing political trust.

The two countries signed strategic partnership arrangements on Climate Change Adaptation and Water Management in 2010 and on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in 2014, she noted, saying these are effective co-operation models capitalising on the Netherlands’ strengths and contributing to sustainable growth in Việt Nam.

For his part, Hermen Borst said he took part in a conference on the sustainable development of the Mekong Delta in response to climate change, held in Việt Nam’s Cần Thơ city last year.

He said he was impressed with the speech made by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc at the conference and with the local government’s issuance of Resolution 120/NQ-CP on the matter in 2017.

Both Việt Nam and the Netherlands are affected by climate change, the official noted, informing the Vietnamese NA Chairwoman of his country’s experience in the field, particularly its support for the Delta Act and Delta Programme.

The Delta Act constitutes the legal basis for the Delta Fund, which can be used to finance the projects of the Delta Programme.

The Delta Commissioner leads the Delta Programme, which includes research to identify climate challenges and potential solutions and the submission of recommendations to parliament for suitable financing.

With such experience, the Netherlands wants to stand side by side with Việt Nam in adapting to climate change and protecting water resources, he said.

Expressing her delight at the Dutch official’s speech, Ngân said it would be valuable knowledge for Việt Nam on its path to sustainably develop the Mekong Delta.

Source: Vietnam News

Viet Nams top legislator has talks with speaker of Dutch lower house

Chairwoman of the National Assembly (NA) of Việt Nam Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân had talks with Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands Khadija Arib in The Hague yesterday (local time). This is the first visit by a leader of the Vietnamese parliament to the Netherlands, and it is made amid the 45th founding anniversary of the countries’ diplomatic ties and their efforts to lift bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

At the talks following the welcome ceremony hosted by Arib, chairwoman Ngân expressed her hope that the visit would intensify the friendship and co-operation between the two countries in general, and between the Vietnamese and Dutch parliaments in particular, thus opening up new co-operation prospects in bilateral ties and between Việt Nam, ASEAN and the European Union (EU).

The two legislators noted with satisfaction the development of their countries’ friendship and co-operation in all aspects as well as their increasingly reinforced political trust. The Strategic Partnership on Climate Change Adaptation and Water Management, formed in 2010, and the Strategic Partnership on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security, formed in 2014, are effective co-operation models, which have helped capitalise on the strengths of the Netherlands and promote sustainable development.

Chairwoman Ngân informed her host about Việt Nam’s socio-economic situation and congratulated the Netherlands on serving as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2018. She hopes that with their sound co-operation at multilateral mechanisms, especially between the Vietnamese and Dutch missions to the UN, the two sides will continue successfully cooperating at the UN Security Council, thus contributing to regional and global peace, prosperity and stability.

She underlined that “maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation is the common interest of the international community, including the Netherlands”. She called on the country to support the peaceful settlement of East Sea disputes and the serious adherence to and enforcement of international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea.

Speaker of the Dutch lower house Khadija Arib agreed with her guest’s opinions, noting that the two countries share many similarities and boast huge potential for stronger cooperation in the time ahead.

Discussing bilateral co-operation in certain fields, the leaders expressed their delight at the outcomes in their countries’ economic, trade and investment ties. The Netherlands is currently the biggest export market of Việt Nam in the EU. In 2017, bilateral trade exceeded US$7.77 billion.

Chairwoman Ngân highly valued many effective investment projects of major Dutch businesses in Việt Nam such as Heineken (beer), Unilever (detergents, cosmetics), Royal Dutch Shell (oil and gas exploitation and distribution), Foremost (milk), Akzo Nobel Coatings (pharmaceutical chemistry), and Philips (electronics). With 305 projects worth nearly $8.2 billion, the Netherlands now ranks 11th among the 126 countries and territories investing in Việt Nam.

She also thanked the Dutch parliament for ratifying the EU-Vietnam Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Co-operation. Recently, Việt Nam and the EU agreed to separate the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) into two agreements, namely the agreement on trade in goods and the agreement on investment.

She asked the Dutch parliament to promote the signing and ratification of those agreements, voicing her belief that once the EVFTA takes effect, it would create a legal framework for bilateral trade and investment to make breakthroughs.

Regarding co-operation in environment and agriculture, the Vietnamese leader said the Vietnamese Party and State appreciate the Netherlands’ assistance within the framework of the Strategic Partnership on Climate Change Adaptation and Water Management, especially in building the Mekong Delta Plan which gives a long-term vision and recommendations for the sustainable development of this region amid heavy impacts of climate change.

She also applauded co-operation projects between the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. She asked the EU nation to continue supporting Việt Nam to carry out projects on enhancing the capacity of integrated water resources management, building pilot water supply models in areas with limited access to water, and making water resources planning in the Mekong Delta.

Regarding culture and tourism, the leaders agreed that the two sides will consider strengthening co-operation with other partners in protecting and promoting the values of cultural heritage so as to increase exchanges, cooperation and the sharing of professional experience.

The two sides will boost co-operation in researching museology, restoring masterpieces of arts, researching the preservation of relic sites, and promoting of the community’s role in protecting and promoting the values of cultural heritage.

The Vietnamese leader said a lot of potential in bilateral co-operation in tourism remained untapped, suggesting the Netherlands sign a bilateral tourism co-operation agreement as a legal foundation for the formation and deployment of specific programmes and cooperative activities in tourism between the two countries.

On security-defence ties, Ngân wished that the Netherlands would continue supporting and sharing with Việt Nam its experience in joining in UN peacekeeping missions and establishing the Peacekeeping Centre.

At their talks, the leaders reached a consensus that the co-operation between the National Assembly of Việt Nam and the House of Representatives the Netherlands has unceasingly been growing.

The two sides have maintained the exchanges of all-level visits, shared experience in parliamentary activities, while conducting meetings, coordinating and supporting each other at multilateral parliamentary forums.

The leaders agreed to continue exchange high-level visits, as well as visits at other levels, to promote mutual understanding and trust, making the activity as a foundation for the law-making bodies to expand their ties practically and efficiently in all fields.

They agreed to continue making the best use of the consultation mechanism, working closely at multilateral forums like IPU and ASEP, and coordinating in monitoring the implementation of co-operation agreements signed by the two governments, and exchanging information about activities of each parliament.

NA Chairwoman Ngân and Speaker of the House of Representatives Khadija Arib agreed to consider the establishment of a parliamentary friendship group which will serve as a platform for the two countries’ legislators to cooperate.

The Speaker showed her special interests in the role of women in the political life in Việt Nam, especially the female legislators’ contributions to the NA.

Ngân took the occasion to thank the Netherlands for having created favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community there, suggesting the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the parliament continue helping them integrate into the host society and contribute to its socio-economic development, and promote wide-ranging co-operation between the two countries.

She invited the Speaker to visit Việt Nam in the coming time and the host leader accepted the invitation with pleasure.

Source: Vietnam News

World Bank offers advice on reducing agricultural pollution in Vietnam

NDO – The World Bank has advised Vietnam to take action to address pollution in agriculture, warning that the problem could undermine the country’s success as an agricultural commodity export powerhouse.

The bank said in a new report that, over a 20-year period, Vietnam went from being a food-deficit country to being among the world’s largest exporters of rice, aquatic products, cashews and various beverages and industrial crops.

Agricultural output expansion has contributed to the plummeting rates of hunger in Vietnam, with the prevalence of food inadequacy falling by nearly 70 per cent since 1990.

But pollutions from farms has begun to tarnish the success story as intensive farming operations are a major and often under-recognised source of water, soil and air pollution in Vietnam.

According to the World Bank, surface water has degraded dramatically near intensively populated and farmed areas, while pesticides have been shown to affect groundwater extracted from wells and other drinking water sources.

In addition, manure and fertilisers were the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions between 1994 and 2010.

With such evidence, the World Bank has outlined a range of technical and policy solutions that are available to address the pollution in agriculture.

It stated that priority should be given to improving the livestock industry’s waste management, reducing fertiliser losses that harm the environment, and minimising the use of toxic substances in pesticides, among others.

In Vietnam, the World Bank will help to scale up innovative aquaculture practices which increase shrimp yields, while reducing water pollution on approximately 100,000 hectares in the Mekong Delta over the next 5 years.

The country is also scaling up the adoption of biogas digesters in livestock operations and promoting the use of more sensible fertiliser and agro-chemicals among rice farmers in the Mekong Delta region.

Source: Nhan Dan newspaper