The Mekong Delta is Vietnam’s main rice area and accounts for half of the annual rice production. The Delta’s rice land use is divided into agro-hydrological zones which are controlled by the hydrology (especially the flood duration and depth), water availability and the salinity regimes. Over the last 30 years Vietnamese farmers have adapted to the changing environmental conditions by modifying and diversifying their production systems and water management. But recent and forecasted agro-hydrological changes threaten the viability of these farming and social systems and subsequently food security within South East Asia. Significant constraints that limit the ability of the farmers to adapt to the new hydrological regime include the availability of suitable cultivars, soil nutrient management options, the lack of knowledge of the potential threats from acid sulphate soil inundation, and planning tools.
This project builds on core work that has been undertaken by IRRI and its Vietnamese and Australian research partners - encompassing improved resilience in rice production and numerous nutrient-cycling projects in the region. The project is designed to increase the adaptive capacity of rice production systems in the Mekong Delta Region (MDR), and its overarching objective is to provide farmers and management agencies with technologies and knowledge that will improve food security in the Mekong Delta. There are five main project objectives: 1) to improve salinity and submergence resilience of locally adapted rice varieties and elite lines; 2) to build capacity for quantification of soil nutrient cycling (including the emissions of greenhouse gases) from rice fields; 3) to develop integrated soil, crop, nutrient and water management options; 4) to identify biophysical, social and economic factors determining the capacity of farmers to adapt to climate change; 5) to undertake in-depth analysis for land-use planning in coastal areas.
The initial year of CLUES covered establishing the physical as well as procedural requirements
for project operations as well as conducting initial research and training activities. Although the
implementation of the project has started with some delay due to contractual matters, the project
is basically on track with targets set for the 1st year.
In this initial year, all project themes have evolved with well-balanced teams composed of
national and international researchers with strong competence in the respective disciplinary
fields. Each theme went through a successful start-up period and has achieved initial data sets
according to the given workplans. Frequent project meetings as well as one semi-annual and one
annual meeting facilitated information flux among themes, although intertheme cooperation is still
recognized as one of the priorities for the next project phase.
Coordination and integration (Theme 0): The objectives of this theme is to create a sound
infrastructure for all project activities; ensure internal and external communication flow; supervise
progress of activities; organize in-country trainings, seminars, forums, and workshops; and
establish linkages and partnerships with relevant institutions (local governments, NGOs, etc.).
The project office (PO) was established at Can Tho University (CTU). The PO was officially
inaugurated on 22 August 2011. Annex 3 documents a few selected events organized by the
Coordination and Integration Group.
In the 1st year, activities of the PO included the following:
- Facilitated the organization of the operational team in August 2011. It is composed of the
national project director, national project coordinator, project facilitator, project assistant,
theme leaders, and Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
representatives from An Giang, Can Tho, Hau Giang, and Bac Lieu provinces. The team
meets monthly in CTU.
- Coordinated several operational team meetings, regular meetings of theme leaders and
members, and trainings and field visits.
- In addition to office equipment and a vehicle purchased through the project, a lecture hall in
the College of Environment and Natural Resources was renovated and provided air
conditioning and sound systems. This now serves as the conference room for regular
meetings of the project team.
- Pathways for visibility of project activities and dissemination of information have been
established through websites (http://irri.org/our-science/climate-change/climate…
clues-project and http://websrv.ctu.edu.vn/news_det.php?mn=4&id=619), news
articles, posters, and pamphlets. In addition, Google CLUES file sharing and drop box were
also created for sharing of documents and data among and within theme members. A small
reading room and library was organized in the PO where publication materials from all
international consultants (ICs) and partner institutions are being collected for easy access to
all project members.
- A semi-annual (18-19 October 2011) and an annual (19-21 March 2012) project review and
planning workshops were organized successfully at CTU, Can Tho City, Vietnam. About 60
and 80 participants joined the said activities, respectively.
- Farmers’ field days were also organized before crop harvest in coordination with Theme 2
and Theme 3.
The PO coordinated and facilitated the progress of the activities of the different themes following
the workplan submitted. Listed below are the different themes (highlights of accomplishments
of each individual theme are detailed in the Annual report).
Theme 1: Location-specific impact and vulnerability assessment
Theme 2: Improvement of salinity and submergence resilience of locally adapted rice varieties
and elite lines
Theme 3: Managing resources for resilient rice-based systems coping with rapidly changing
Theme 4: Analysis of farming systems and socioeconomic settings in rice farming households
Theme 5: Integrated adaptation assessment of Bac Lieu Province and development of adaptation
Theme 6: Capacity building for assessing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
The second year of CLUES generated adequate information from the field and laboratory activities by the different Themes. Regular project meetings, project field visits, semi-annual and annual meetings facilitated information flux and cooperation among themes and local partners. Capacity building for the project staff and local Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) partners was accomplished through degree and non-degree trainings in Vietnam and abroad. Training of the Department of Agriculture local staff and farmer partners as well as provision of technologies (i.e. alternate-wetting and drying (AWD); upland crop integration in paddy fields, nutrient management, greenhouse gas measurements and seeds of stress tolerant rice varieties were accomplished, thus contributing to greater success and visibility of the project. In partnership with GIZ Bac Lieu and Theme 3, AWD technology was established in 14 farmer’s fields in 5 districts during Dong Xuan 2012/2013 cropping season. Apart from beneficial water saving (translating into fuel savings due to lower pumping requirement), AWD also represents a promising option to reduce methane emission from paddy rice fields. In comparison to continuous flooding (CF), methane emission rates can be reduced by up to 50% under AWD condition. This reduction effect are observed irrespective of P treatments based on the experiments for Themes 3 and 6. An assessment of farmers’ adoption of AWD technology in the province is an on-going activity of Theme 4.
The development of improved rice varieties in Theme 2 is being undertaken by using the backcross method as well as through conventional bi-parental and complex crosses to investigate the underlying quantitative genetics and breeding value of parental lines. In total, 36 single and multiple crosses have been made to combine submergence, salinity tolerance, stagnant flood tolerance, and high grain quality into high yielding genetic backgrounds. Four crosses were selected and confirmed as true BC2F1 and BC3F1. Two crosses were made to combine genes for tolerance to both submergence and salinity stresses. Pedigree generations were grown under controlled submergence conditions at Cuu Long Rice Research Institute (CLRRI), and under natural stagnant water conditions. A second component of the project is to test breeding lines and varieties under a range of seasons and environments, to validate the performance of the new lines and to offer farmers the opportunity to participate in the observation and selection of new varieties. To date more than 22 participatory varietal selection (PVS) trials have been conducted using 41 varieties throughout An Giang, Hau Giang, Bac Lieu and Can Tho provinces.
Data and maps required for modelling and spatial analysis, as well as projections of climate change in the Mekong delta region were collected and a database for managing these data and maps of submergence and salinity of scenarios of sea level rise (SLR) was established by Theme 1. Based on detailed inventories of soils, hydrological features and land use, yields and financial returns, a climate change adaptation strategy plan for Bac Lieu province was accomplished by Theme 5. A conceptual model for land use analysis system, through a Multiple Goal Linear Programming (MGLP) approach, is an ongoing activity of Theme 5.
Pathways for visibility of project activities and dissemination of information are maintained through websites (http://irri.org/our-science/climate-change/climate… and http://websrv.ctu.edu.vn/news_det.php?mn=4&id=619), news articles, posters and pamphlets. In addition, web-based file sharing sites (Dropbox and Google) were also created for easing information flow among and within Theme members. A small reading room and library is also being maintained in the project office where publication materials from all international consultants (ICs) and partner institutions are being collected for easy access to all project members.
In its 3rd year, the CLUES project has further progressed in view of the goals and work plans stipulated in the proposal. Special emphasis was given to cooperation among themes as well as internal and external information flows. Six bimonthly project meetings, 20 field visits, one local workshop, two trainings, one semi-annual and one annual workshop were organized by the project office in 2013.. Capacity building for project staff and local Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) partners was accomplished through degree and non-degree trainings in Vietnam and abroad.
The reporting period encompassed the mid-term review in September 2013 which led to a detailed assessment of the status of the project alongside with suggestions on its continuation. While the CLUES team perceived the - by and large - positive assessment coming out this review as a vindication of past work, the team has also responded in detail to comments and suggested improvements in the review document. The review and the responses have been annexed to this synthesis report (for those comments pertaining to project coordination and all themes collectively) as well as to each respective theme report. The review requested some modifications in individual approaches as well as an improved strategy in communicating with local stakeholders. In the meantime, these suggestions - submitted in November 2013 – have been taken up by the project team although the implemented changes may only be fully visible at the time of concluding the project.
Theme 1 focused primarily on GIS mapping of flooding depths and salinity levels on comparative assessment and vulnerability of the Mekong Delta. The overlaying present land use map in 2008 with different generated maps of 12 proposed scenarios of climate change and sea level rise to find out potential “hot-spot” of flooding and salinity damages is about to be completed.
Theme 2 developed high yielding rice varieties tolerant to submergence, medium stagnant and salinity by using the backcross method as well as through conventional bi-parental and complex crosses to investigate the underlying quantitative genetics and breeding value of parental lines. Training courses for farmers and technicians were conducted in 2013 (total of 318 farmers in 4 provinces). Three varieties will be submitted for varietal release in 2014, OM3673 (short growth duration, tolerant to anaerobic seedling stage), OM10252 (submergence and salinity tolerant), and OM6328 (salinity tolerant and high yield).
Experiments of Theme 3 and 6 indicated that AWD is a promising climate change adaptation strategy to reduce methane emission from paddy rice fields. Methane emission rates can be reduced by up to 50% under AWD condition. The preliminary experiment concluded that short growth duration High Yielding Variety could give higher yield and could replace the traditional rice varieties Mot Bui Do in the shrimp-rice system in Bac Lieu province. Harvesting rice early could avoid salinity stress at the end of the season and give more time for land preparation for the next shrimp component. However, this findings need to be validated through field surveys in 2014.
Theme 4 progress against project milestones is on track. As part of fine-tunning the new technologies, the theme collaborated with themes 2 and 3 in the assessment of promising rice varieties and rice farming technologies with participation of farmers and extension staff in the study sites. A workshop on policy and stakeholder analysis and extension pathways of new technologies the project was held in target provinces. The theme also assessed modelling approaches in understanding factors influencing the out-scaling of promising technologies developed from CLUES project. This was done in collaboration with CSIRO.
A new conceptual model for land use analysis system, through a multiple-goal linear programming (MGLP) approach was developed by Theme 5. This was based on detailed inventories of soils, hydrological features and land use, yields and financial returns in Bac Lieu Province. The model will help to propose a climate change adaptation strategy plan.
The visibility of project activities and enhancing dissemination of information have been maintained through Web sites (http://irri.org/networks/climate-change-affecting-… -the-mekong-delta and http://websrv.ctu.edu.vn/news_det.php?mn=4&id=619. In addition, web-based file-sharing sites (Dropbox and Google) were also maintained for efficient information flow within the theme members. A small reading room and library is being maintained in the project. Publication materials from all international consultants (ICs), ACIAR VN and partner institutions are available to all project staff and interested individuals