THE 10 YEARS JOURNEY OF SRI IN VIETNAM

THE ACHIEVEMENT OF 10 YEARS CONDUCTING THE DECISION OF THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

“No. 3062 / QD-BNN- KHCN issued on October 15th  2007 in recognition of SRI as the technical progress”

(The report was presented at the event “ The 10 years Journey of SRI in Vietnam”

Coc lake Plaza, Thai Nguyen City, 27-28 Sep, 2016)

Mr. Ngo Tien Dung, The Deputy Director of the Plant Protection Department – Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

Assoc.Prof. Dr. Hoang Van Phu, Director of International Cooperation Center – Thai Nguyen University, The Coordinator of SRI Vietnam Network.

THE EVENT “ THE 10 YEARS JOURNEY OF SRI IN VIETNAM”

THAI NGUYEN 2016

  1. The origin of formation and development of the “System Rice Intensification (SRI)”

System Rice Intensification – SRI was studied by Henri de Laulanie Father, SJ from the early 1980s. He spent 34 years working with Madagascar farmers to improve their agriculture, especially rice production because rice was the staple food of Madagascar.

Although SRI was known in 1983; it took a long time for it to be recognized as a good method that helped increase the efficiency of rice production. In 1990s, he and his colleagues established Tefy Saina Association to improve agricultural production and rural livelihoods here with the farmers, the other NGO organizations, and agricultural experts.

In 1994s, Tefy Saina started cooperating with Pro. Norman Uphoff – Director of the Cornell International Institute about Food Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD), Cornell University, USA, to help farmers who live in the outskirts of Ranomafana – the National Park to find the solutions in order to replace the practices of burning uplands to make fields.

In this area, the rice production was just 2 tonnes / ha / crop; therefore,  people had to burn the forest for farming to ensure there was enough food . Then farmers were trained about SRI and then they applied SRI which helped increase the productivity up to 8 tons / ha. Besides, deforestation for production was controlled.

At the same time, there was a French project on improving irrigation systems of small-scale applying SRI. The project’s result was that rice yields reached 8 tonnes / ha (whereas traditional farming just got 2.5 tonnes / ha and the methods using mineral fertilizer just got 3.7 tons / ha). Therefore, SRI has quickly spread out to rice growing countries, and nowadays there are about 50 countries around the world accessing to SRI.

  1. The process of SRI formation and devolopment in Viet Nam

Being introduced about the SRI testing results at the exhibition of the International Conferences ” Field Class (FFS) – arising problems and challenges” organized by FAO in Yogyakarta – Indonesia from 21 to 25 / 10/2002) by an Indonesian farmer,  Mr. Ngo Tien Dung – Deputy Director, Department of plant Protection, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development, Coordinator of the National IPM Program had an idea to develop the idea of SRI in Vietnam.

This idea received support from Conservation and Biodiversity Applications Asia (BUCAP) Program. Mr. Dung has instructed officials together with 95 farmers from 4 provinces: Hanoi, Hoa Binh, Quang Nam and Thua Thien – Hue SRI to conduct experiments in 4 crops (from the Spring crop 2003 to the Season crop in 2004). Testing results have proved that farmers can completely apply SRI.

SRI farming can overcome the basic drawbacks of wet rice cultivation practices of farmers currently such as sowing ceeds, cultivating, abusing chemistry (fertilizers, plant protection products).

According to this result, in 2004 the Plant Protection Department built the SRI technical process applied in rice with different farming conditions, and popularized the SRI application in the other provinces. Since then, Department of Plant Protection appointed Mr. Ngo Tien Dung to be the focal point for SRI activities until the end of April 2016, including gathering, sharing information and application results, the study of the agencies and local officials .

In 2 years from 2005 to 2006, with the support from IPM component of Agricultural Sector Programme Support (ASPS) in Vietnam  of DANIDA, Plant Protection Department directed Plant Protection Departments in 12 provinces (Hanoi, Hoa Binh, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, Thai Binh, Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Ha Nam, Ha Tay, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Quang Nam) to guide farmers apply SRI with the scale of 2-5 ha / model. Simutaneously,  they conduct field studies in order to assess the effectiveness of SRI (Researching coordination group including: Plant Protection Department: Mr. Ngo Tien Dung, Mrs. Tran Thi Xuyen Mrs. Vu Thi Thang, Soils and Fertilizers Research Institute – SFRI: Mr. Tran Thuc Son).

The results presented that applying the SRI in a large field with active aspersing process and close cooperation with the community will be more favorable, compared to applying SRI in the individual production condition of each household.  Techniques data collected from model research  were summarized under the form of reports  and proposal documents by  Plant Protection Department, and sent to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to propose the recognition of SRI as a technical progress.

On October 15th 2007 The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development issued a decision on recognition of SRI as a technical advances.

In Thai Nguyen University (TNU), in November 2003, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hoang Van Phu – Director of International Cooperation Center  -TNU received information about SRI through email of his friend, Prins Klauz, agricultural specialist at (Mekean Rehabilitation Centre, Chiang Mai).

Mr. Phu began researching SRI since spring 2004. After that he developed it into a research subject at ministerial level (2005-2006):

“Study SRI rice cultivation techniques in Thai Nguyen (Code: B2005 -I-05) “.

From 2004 to 2007, Mr. Phu conducted many experiments on the age-plated, honey transplanting, fertilizing, weeding for both pure rice and hybrid rice, in both the spring and harvest. Results of experiments and production tests about advantages of SRI are very reliable.

In spring 2005, Mr. Phu deployed to build SRI model in Hong Giang village, Duc Giang Commune, Yen Dung, Bac Giang on an area of 0.36 hectares.

At the first time, people were very curious and doubtful (previously they used 30-35 days old rice plants to transplant, but they then transplanted with the young 14 days old rice plant;  the previous density of transplanting was recommendsed 45-50 groups/ m2 but then just implanted 30 groups/ m2). Gradually, confident people belived in SRI method and beame excited. In 2005, farmers in Yen Dung are spontaneous to apply SRI on an area of 1.76 hectares.

In 2005-2006, Dr. Phu has implemented various SRI experiments on the field SRI.  Farmers, achieved good and stable result. Untill 2007, SRI was deployed at a large area in Thai Nguyen Province (Dong Lien Phu Binh 70ha, Cu Van commune, Dai Tu 230ha.  DOST – Bac Giang province signed advisory cooperation to apply SRI into production on an area of 400 hectares.

The results of all the experiments and trials on the fields showed that the SRI rice yields increased from 13 % to 29%, saving 90% species, 50% of transplants, 40% water, not using herbicides, reduced the number of sprays from 3 to 5. Production efficiency increased 32-35%

In 2006, Mr. Ngo Tien Dung, Ms. Le Minh – Oxfam America, Prof. Norman Uphoff and Assoc.Prof.Dr. Hoang Van Phu created a connection to share the ideas about devoloping SRI stably in Vietnam. The four people regularly exchanged information, shared experiences and found the resources to support the promotion of SRI application in Vietnam. Especially, they connected SRI network at regional and global level.

In 2007, with the support of OXFAM America, Plant Protection Department coordinated with Ha Tay Plant Protection Department (and now is Hanoi Plant Protection Department) to successfully build the model of ” SRI application Community ” at the entire commune scale ( 170 ha) in Dai Nghia commune, My Duc district, ha Tay (Hanoi).

From this result of this model, the document set tittled  “Guide to Field Practice applying SRI ” was built to to train the lecturers and train farmers in applying SRI.

The implementation results of the SRI models (2003 – 2007) in 13 provinces (Hanoi, Hoa Binh, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, Thai Binh, Hai Duong, Hung Yen , Ha Nam, Ha Tay, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Thai Nguyen) and the model “Dai Nghia” have specifically proved the effectiveness and application capability of SRI in improving rice cultivation in Vietnam. It turned practices of rice farmers from “scattered, in small scale, chemical dependent” into “cooperative, sustainable intensive farming, adaptation to climate change”.

On September 15th 2007, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) issued Decision No. 3062 / QD-BNN-KHCN recognizing SRI as a technical progress and assigns Plant Protection Department to organize the application of SRI in the Northern provinces.

On September 10th 2011, at TNU, MARD collaborated with Oxfam and the International Cooperation Center – TNU solemnly held a ceremony to welcome 1 million farmers adopting SRI.

On December 14th 2012, SRI was rewarded “the 1st Vietnam Golden Rice Awards” by MARD, honoring its contribution to agriculture (Decision No. 2752 / QD-BNN dated 11/11/2012 on certification for SRI product awarded “the 1st Vietnam Golden Rice Awards”.

 

In June 2015, SRI Vietnam network (SRI-Vietnam) was formed with the participation of state agencies, provincial authorities, research and development organizations, international and domestic non-governmental organizations, farmers and individuals interested in SRI. This forum is an opportunity to share information and develop cooperation in both SRI Vietnam and SRI Global.

 

III. The basic principles of SRI applied on rice transplanting and direct seeding, farmers approach methods

  • Basic SRI principles

SRI principles applied on transplanted rice include 5 basic principles:

  1. Plant healthy rice seedlings, (2 to 2.5 leaves).
  2. Plant only 1 seedling for one clump, sparse transplanting, in squared shaped
  3. Irrigate so that the field is alternately flooded and non-flooded
  4. Aerate soil
  5. Intensify the use of organic fertilizer, bio-fertilizer to improve soil fertility.

SRI applied on direct seeding consists of 4 basic principles:

  1. Sow sparsely: disperse (without machine) less than 2 kg seeds/500m2 and less than 1.5 kg /500 m2 (with machine).
  2. Irrigate so that the field is alternately flooded and non-flooded: 4-5 times after seeding until growing stand. Ensuring to adequate soil moisture; maintaining water level 3-5 cm from initial formation until finishing the milky stage. From the dough stage until harvesting, keep the field dried.

 

  1. Aerate soil the first time soon after implantation. The second time should be conducted in 10 days later than the previous time. Together with soil, the water surface also needs to be aerated. Remove grass within the first 30 days.
  2. Ecological land conservation: Use organic and microbiological fertilizers, compost post-harvest crop residues and reduce the use of chemicals (fertilizers, plant protection products).

Water regulation process:

The way of regulating water in order to alternate flooded and unflooded mode for well-silty to moderate silty soil: flood the field surface with 3-5cm water in depth and keep this condition within 3-4 days, then unflood the field from 7 to 10 days until it is dry. Repeat this process continuously until the period of green grain. Maintain moisture during the period from green to harvest.

  • Farmers approach method

Organizing field school (Farmer Field School – FFS) for farmers to practice and explore the SRI principles so that they can apply them in the specific conditions of their land (seeds, soil, and cultivation conditions). FFS is also the environment for farmers to practice cooperation skills in the process of SRI implementation as well as in manufacture.

 

  1. SRI implementation results receive Decision No. 3062 / QD-BNN-KHCN of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in recognizing SRI as a technical progress (from 2007-2015)

After the 3062 Decision of the Ministry, the management agencies, research institutions and international organizations, non-governmental organizations and civil society have joined hands to promote SRI applications in different cultivation conditions. Meanwhile they continue to evaluate the potential of SRI in terms of reducing emissions, adapting to climate change, conducting sustainable intensive farming and use them as the base for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development to issue the policies to strengthen SRI applications. The information and propagation activities are also conducted by agencies and organizations in order to propagate about the effectiveness as well as experience implementing SRI according to the Decision 3062 of the Ministry.

The local authorities have guided farmers to adopt SRI in 2 different levels from simple (called partial application) towards full application of the principle (called fully applied). Partial SRI principles can start from the easy and simple stages which can be applied on any types of soil, seasonality or seeds but still achieve good effects such as remaining the implant density customs of farmers, but transplant only 1 or maximum 2 seedling/clump, transplant shallowly, avoid breaking roots, not use more than 4-leave-old seedlings and use technical measures (fertilization, irrigation water, care, pest control) applied under IPM.

By 2015, there were 35 provinces in Vietnam applying SRI, including 23 provinces from Red River delta, Northern mountainous and midland, 5 from North Central Coast, 3 from South Central and 4 from Mekong River Delta. 23 provinces from Red River delta, Northern mountainous and midland are Bac Kan, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, Ha Nam, Hanoi, Dien Bien, Hai Duong, Hai Phong, Hoa Binh, Hung Yen, Lai Chau , Lang Son, Lao Cai, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, Phu Tho, Quang Ninh, Son La, Thai Binh, Thai Nguyen, Tuyen Quang, Vinh Phuc, Yen Bai. Five North Central Coast provinces are Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien Hue. Two South Central Provinces are Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam. Four Mekong Delta provinces are Can Tho, Hau Giang, Soc Trang, Tra Vinh. The total area of ​​the 2015 SRI application is 436 377 hectares, including 48,000 hectares direct seedling accounting for 11%. The number of farmer households applying SRI is 1,910,255. There were 12 provinces of Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, Bac Giang, Tuyen Quang, Hung Yen, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Hai Duong, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Binh Dinh applying SRI on direct seedling.

Of the 35 provinces applying SRI, Hanoi is the leading province attracting the great attention from all levels of authorities in promoting SRI. With an area of ​​114 780 hectares of rice / crop (2 crops / year), from 2007 to now, the city has spent nearly 27 billion (26.792 billion VND) for farmers training activities and building large fields for SRI application, especially most farmers in the areas of specialty sticky rice “nep cai hoa vang” have accessed to SRI. So far, Hanoi has applied SRI on over 70% of area of each crop at the level of partial or full application. Compared to the other provinces in the whole country, Hanoi is one of the provinces using least pesticide chemicals on plants. The number of pests on the rice is always low because of the improvement in the ecosystem. According to the caculation of provincial average, the amount of seeds reduced from 2 kg/500m2 down to 1.

Phu Tho province also received the interests and support from levels of authorities in developing the SRI. In addition to efforts to mobilize local resources, Phu Tho was able to mobilize fundings from many organizations like Oxfam, the World Bank for the expansion of SRI. In 2015, there were up to 263 communes applying 25459.8 hectares including 3255.5 hectares of full application and 22204.3 hectares of partial application.

Thai Nguyen province instructed to integrate the SRI application into the programs of restructuring the agricultural sector, the new rural development and agricultural extension. Especially Phu Binh district mentioned SRI in economic social development resolution of the district and gave much priority in terms of resources to expand the SRI rice field.

In addition to the three above provinces, many other provinces People’s Committees such as Yen Bai, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Bac Giang, Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa had annual funding plan to expand the application of SRI , or integrated SRI activities in projects and programs related to sustainable rice production or coping with climate change.

The year 2011 marked an important milestone “a million farmers applying SRI”. After only 4 years of implementing the Decision No. 3062 (10/2007) recognizing SRI as a technical progress, more than one million farmers (1,070,384 people) of 22 provinces of Hanoi, Ha Tinh, Nghe An Phu Tho, Thai Nguyen, Yen Bai, Bac Kan, Bac Giang, Dien Bien, Ha Nam, Hai Phong, Hoa Binh, Hung Yen, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, Quang Nam, Thai Binh, Tuyen Quang, Vinh Phuc, Lang Son applied SRI on an area of ​​185.065 ha. The results have been achieved thanks to the efforts of the farmers from provinces, along with the invaluable support of Oxfam America, international organizations, related non-governmental organizations, and a number of research agencies.

On October 18th, 2011, Plant Protection Department cooperated with Oxfam America and International Cooperation Centre – TNU to solemnly hold  the event named “Congratulate the event that 1 million Vietnamese farmers applying System of Rice Intensification (SRI).

During the process of development in Vietnam, SRI received the enthusiatic participation from many organizations such as  the research institutions, international organizations and especially millions of farmers whose hard labour  and experiences made many precious contributions and SRI small-scale innovative improvements which is suitable for the conditions inVietnam and bring the success of SRI in Vietnam.

 

Mobilize resources to promote SRI

  1. From September 2007, OXFAM America has continued donate the Plant Protection Department to carry out the Program “SRI aims at the improvement of batch-productive farmers in Mekong subregion”, currently known as “The creative Agriculture and adaptable to climate change – FLAIR “, conducted in 6 provinces (Hanoi, Thai Nguyen, Phu Tho, Yen Bai, Nghe An and Ha Tinh). In this program, the models of raising community capacity about “Innovation in agriculture and adaptation to climate change” based on SRI has been tested as a basis for building long-term development strategy in order to better support for the farmers growing rice in the small scale.
  2. In 2008 and 2009, Vietnam Irrigation Science Institute has conducted the research on the irrigation system and irrigation techniques which are appropriate to the rice plant on a basis of SRI in Hong Giang Village, Duc Giang Commune, Yen Dung District – Bac Giang Province. The research contenti is the topic of Government level titled “Research application of scientific- technological solutions to prevent drought and serve sustainable agricultural development in the Northern mountainous provinces whose project leader is Assoc. Prof. PhD. Doan Tuan Doan. Based on the study’s result, Vietnam Irrigation Science Institute has built “The water saving irrigation process for the optimal cultivation for the rice plant.”
  3. From 2009 to 2014, the SRD Organization collaborated with Bac Kan Plant Protection Department to implement a variety of activities in order to support the farmers, helping them study the pure rice seed and apply SRI in Bac Kan province.
  4. In 2010, the International Cooperation Center -TNU won in the contest “Vietnam Innovation Day: Cope with climate change” held by the World Bank with the theme “Raising awareness of the environmental protection for the citizens by applying SRI”. This study was well conducted at Xuan Phuong Commune, Phu Binh District, Thai Nguyen Province. With the perfect results achieved on the research, the Centre has received funds from the Belgium Development Centre (BTC) to implement the project ” Training to raise the environment awareness, cope with the climate change through the application of SRI “. The project trained 315 commune leaders and, agriculture extension officers, key farmers from 62 communes in Thai Nguyen province.

5.Then from 2010 to 2015, Assoc. Prof. Phu and the collaborators developed a number of studies, such as the ministerial project “Study  the SRI application on land without water initiative ” (2010-2012); the theme tittled “Apply the advanced grass-raking in intensive farming according to the SRI ” (2012-2013); the experiment “Apply the SRI in Bac Tra Mi district, Quang Nam Province” (2011); the topic tittled “Integrate and implement the SRI in the new rural program in Vo Nhai District, Thai Nguyen Province” (2014); the topic tittled“Study  the SRI application on sticky rice variety  reacting to short-day light named “Thau Dau” in Phu Binh” (2014-2015); “Apply the SRI to Bao Thai rice variety in Bac Kan” (2013-2014) with Mrs. Pham Thi Thu – the staff of Plant Protection Department; or “Study the effects of water system on the development of rice roots” in collaboration with Dang Hoang Ha from International School, TNU since 2013.

6.From 2012 to 2015, the SRI has been tested, disseminated and applied widely in the production of rice variety sowed directly in Binh Dinh and Quang Binh provinces with the support from the Netherlands Development Organization SNV through the project “Sow the seeds for the change: Reduce the climate change through the sustainable rice production” funded by the Australian Government through the Grant Program to cope with the climate change based on the community.

  1. Evaluate the greenhouse gas emission in the rice cultivation in accordance with the SRI: In the framework of the project “ Sow the seeds for the change: Reduce the climate change through the sustainable rice production “of the SNV, Soils and Fertilizers Reseasch Institute- SFRI. (Dr. Tran Minh Tien and his peers) evaluated the reduction of the greenhouse gas emission in the rice cultivation in accordance with the SRI in Quang Binh and Binh Dinh provinces, from June to October, 2013. The conclusion of evaluation is: The application of the SRI significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions on the farm in summer, the reduction amount of CH4, N2O and CO2 emissions are 21-24%, 15-22% and 22-27% respectively, compared with the application of the traditional way (CP); GWP of the CP-based field is higher than the SRI-based field’s, from 26 to 32%.
  2. German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) gives the SRI-applied solution in the Mekong Delta (Tra Vinh province). In three years (2011 – 2013), GIZ has conducted the project “Poverty alleviation in rural areas (PARA)”, collaborated with the IFAD-funded project “Improving market participation of the poor” (IMPP) applied the SRI in Tra Vinh. The approach method “Farmer Field School – FFS” was applied in order that the farmers could access to the SRI from the experiment step to the application replication. The SRI is determined as the solution that can increase the productivity , adapt to the climate change, and reduce the dependence on inputs.
  3. Foundation for International Development/Relief (FIDR) collaborated with Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development in Quang Nam and Thua Thien – Hue conducted the Project of Improving Food Security for farmers with the small-scale production (CAL) in 6 mountainous districts in Quang Nam province (Dong Giang, Tay Giang, Nam Giang, Bac Tra My and Nam Tra My, Hiep Duc) and 1 mountainous district in Thua Thien Hue province (The Southeast ) from April, 2012 to March, 2019 with the aim at focusing on the solution of food security through the application of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). Until now, the SRI-applied area is 76 hectars, and the number of farmers learning and applying the SRI is 28 779 people.

10.Since 2011 until now, the “Buddhist Global Relief- BGR” organization has cooperated with the International Cooperation Center – TNU to carry out the project called “Supporting for poor farmers in applying SRI  and integrating with the New Rural Program in Vo Nhai District “. The product is conducted in three poor mountainous communes in Vo Nhai District, Thai Nguyen Province . The project “Expanding SRI application by creating a large sample rice field in Phu Binh District, Thai Nguyen Province”, implemented in three communes of Phu Binh District on a massive scale. These projects aim to support farmers in applying SRI on a large scale fields to increase rice productivity, produce products which are equal in quality , and increase the value of the product;  therefore farmers’ revenue would be increased. The activities of the project also help people enhance connectivity in production and promote resource management to minimize harmful impacts on the environment.

11.Since 2013 until now , The International Society of Environmental and Rural Development (ICERD), which approved the project organized by the Thai Field Alliance (TFA) called ” Rural Ecology and Agricultural Livelihoods (REAL)” under the program “Kemi – Towards a non-toxic environment in South-East” , has cooperated with the Plant Protection Departments in Bac Giang, Quang Binh and Yen Bai to do research in applying SRI principles in “rice- fish integrated” cultivation. In this farming system, farmers apply general knowledge and skills related to ecological agriculture (aquatic animal conservation, alternative chemicals input , applying SRI in rice cultivation, IPM …) in order to achieve sustainable rice – fish cultivation effects thereby reducing risks of using chemicals in agriculture.

 

12.Science and Technology Department – Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has implemented 2 projects related to SRI from 2011 to 2016:

Project “Applying 3 down 3 up and rice cultivation techniques SRI to improve efficiency and contribute to reduce  greenhouse gas emissions in rice production”. Implementing period: 2014- 2016 and the total budget: 14.933 billion. Implementing places: Long An, Dong Thap, Ben Tre, Tien Giang, Vinh Long, Soc Trang, Hau Giang, An Giang, Can Tho, Kien Giang, Bac Lieu, Tra Vinh and Ca Mau (13 provinces).Outstanding results conducted in 2014- 2015 (1700 ha): The amount of seeds used for row seeding is 80 kg / ha and 100 kg / ha for barges . It is down 15% on average. The amount of seed used in SRI model using Gasoline Tiller Cultivator is 40 -50 kg / ha.  Nitrogen decreased 20 -40 kg / ha; Plant protection products used 6-8 sprays / crop reduced to 4-5 times. Yield of rice reached 6.2 to 6.5 tons/ ha, increasing 4 kg/ ha on average compared to the mass.

Project “Applying 3 up and 3 down and the use of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) techniques in high quality rice production”. Implementing period is from 2011 to 2013 and the total budget is of 10.5 billion. Implementing places: Hai Duong, Nam Dinh, Thai Binh, Hai Phong, Thanh Hoa; Phu Yen, Binh Dinh, Tay Ninh, Ho Chi Minh City, An Giang, Kien Giang, Dong Thap, Can Tho, Soc Trang, Vinh Long, Tra Vinh, Tien Giang, Hau Giang, Long An, Ben Tre, Bac Lieu (21 provinces). Outstanding results: the yield of rice reached 6.26 tons / ha on average, increasing 6.49 million VND / ha compared to other models. Profits earned from SRI model is higher than farmers’ normal fields model on average is 53.5% (North: 57.5%, South: 49.7%).The SRI model projects has reduced the cost of production is 3.2 million / ha in which reduction in fertilizer: 38.5%; pesticide: 28%; seed: 20% and water: 13.5%. The cost of products applied SRI model is lower than farmer’s model 881 dong/ kg of rice (28.7%), in which the cost of product reduction in Northern is 865 dong / kg rice ( 26.7 %).

13.In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which has mobilized loans from the World Bank through the projects of renovating the irrigation system in this stage, has invested in the training farmers (IPM, SRI, 3G3T, 1P5G), creating sustainable model of rice production in order to cope with climate change in some provinces in the northern, central and Mekong delta. 

5.Developing initiatives applying SRI

5.1 Improving potato cultivation in rice cultivation system to increase efficiency of SRI (planting potatoes with minimum tillage methods).

Straw is no longer used strictly after crop harvest in agricultural cultivation. The farmers often burn straw directly in the field instead of using it as animal feed, compost or serving people’s daily lives (fuels). The burning of straw in field not only wastes nutrients in soil but also adversely affects the environment and ecological farming.  To overcome the situation, with the help of FAO, Mr. Ngo Tien Dung – Deputy Director of Plant Protection Department guided 3 Plant Protection Departments in Hanoi, Hai Phong and Thai Binh in collaboration with farmers conducted a study on “Growing potatoes by Minimum ground processing method  using straw” to reduce labor, and limit the burning of straw. Only after two years from 2008 to 2009, the study has proved the effectiveness of this new farming model. Specifically: 25-67% reduction of water, 75% reduction of plant protection chemicals , 28-47% reduction of labor (mainly in soil preparation), 8-25% increasing in yield, and 19-31 % increasing in economic efficiency.  In addition, this new farming methods also takes advantage of agricultural residues after harvesting, saves water for irrigation, protects environmental , reduces greenhouse emissions, reduces the harm incurred by the epidemic contributing to soil improvement . This method is under an urgent situation in the current potato production. With the support from Oxfarm America, this new farming solution has been popularized rapidly by the Plant Protection Department to the Northern provinces.

In 2013, the solution “ Growing potatoes by Minimum ground processing method  using straw”  was recognized as a technical improvement according to Decision No. 204 / QD-TT-CLT issued on May, 28th, 2013. In 2014, there were 22 provinces with 4,500 farmers to apply this solution.

Then, in 2014, it was awarded the title of ” Vietnam Environment 2014 ” by  the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the award ” Vietnam Golden rice in the second organizations in 2015″ by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

5.2 Applying SRI for direct seeding rice.

Direct seeding rice is mostly applied in the provinces of North Central Coast and South Central Coast , especially from Ha Tinh back to the South.  The habits of thick sowing (120-160 kg of seed / ha / crop, or more) , nitrogen abuse …are favorable conditions for pest development, accompanied by the abuse of plant protection chemicals that pollutes environment , leading to an outbreak of pests and reducing efficiency in production. From 2012 to 2015, the Netherlands Development Organization- SNV helped rice farmers in Quang Binh and Binh Dinh improve applying SRI techniques for direct seeding of rice , and encourage them to form groups using row sowing tools in order to reduce labor.  From experience in the two provinces of Quang Binh and Binh Dinh, other area also has been instructed to apply this method by the Plant Protection Department.

5.3 Applications SRI in the “system of rice cultivation – fish”

In recent years, some rice cultivation areas have been affected by extreme weather. For example, heavy rain caused flood which had a negative impact on rice producing. To compensate the revenue loss from rice due to floods, many farmers have adopted the model “intercropping rice and fish” However, the application of this model to cope with some obstacles, especially the abuse use of plant protection products impacted the development of the fish. From 2013 to now, the Center community capacity Building and rural development (ICERD) through a project organized by the Thai Field Alliance (TFA) coordinate ” rural ecological agriculture for their livelihoods (REAL)” under the program “Kemi – Towards a non-toxic environment in South-East” in collaboration with the Department of plant Protection 3 Bac Giang, Quang Binh and Yen Bai studied to apply “system of rice intensification (SRI) principles in ” farming “rice – fish intercropping”. In this farming system, farmers apply general knowledge, relevant skills in ecological agriculture (aquatic animal conservation, alternative input chemicals solutions, rice producing applying SRI, IPM) to achieve sustainable efficiency; reduce risks caused by chemicals used in agriculture industry.

SRI application makes the field a spacious place for fish to live. Beside, farmers no longer have to use chemicals. The rate of using chemical fertilizer reduced more than 50% which make SRI fish farming more efficient than the tradional way. This model not only conserse biodiversity but also get the income from conservation activities. In 2015, there were 60 farmers applying this model.

5.4 Using SRI transplanting machine

In 2 years of 2014 and 2016, Science and Technology Department – Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development deployed model using rice transplanters in accordance with SRI in 13 Mekong Delta provinces (Long An, Dong Thap, Ben Tre , Tien Giang, Vinh Long, Soc Trang, Hau Giang, An Giang, Can Tho, Kien Giang, Bac Lieu, Tra Vinh and Ca Mau). The results showed the potential of expanding this model in the southern provinces in the future.

5.5 Use the improved rake

Of 5 SRI rules, the principle of limiting the use of herbicides by cleaning grass and soaking mud was very difficult to apply because farmers were familiar with using herbicides.

In 2016, to be supported by Oxfam, International Cooperation Center – TNU improved the kind of rake to be able to paw mud well. It’s light, cheap and easy to carry. It was used in Dinh Hoa and Phu Binh district, Thai Nguyen province.

During the process, farmers could use, assess and raise ideas to improve it on their own. The result showed that the improved rake was suitable, light (3 kg), easy to carry and fast, which helped shortening time to paw grasses (every 35 minutes / rod). Besides, it had low cost (250,000 VND /one).  It was useful to prevent the grasses, help escaping toxic gases and increasing dissolved oxygen inside the soil, and allow the rice roots to grow well. It was appreciated and applied by production groups.

  1. The guidelines and policies promulgated by the Ministry to promote SRI applications from 2007 to present.
  2. The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) has been considered by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as a process of " Smart rice cultivation, coping with climate change". Therefore, SRI is one of the main cultivation solutions in the texts of production guideline, programs, schemes and projects related to sustainable rice production, coping with climate change, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically:
  3. On December 16 th , 2011, the Minister of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development promulgated Decision No. 3119/QĐ-BNN- KHCN on Approving the Scheme of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture and rural by 2020. In which, outlining a target to reach 3.2 million hectares of rice applying SRI techniques, 3 decrease 3 increase, 1 to 5 lower, agriculture-route- drying until 2020.
  4. On April 21 st , 2014, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development promulgated Decision No. 802/QD-BNN- TCTL to publish the Action Plan implementing the Scheme of Restructuring Irrigation Field. In particular, the "OBJECTIVES TO 2020" include completing irrigation infrastructure, associated with building infield traffic roads, consolidating land, leveling the field, serving large-scale production, strive to achieve the target that in 2020 there will be 30% of rice cultivation is made of advanced farming methods (SRI, 3 increase 3 decrease, 1 to 5 lower).
  5. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development: The Decision No. 2027/QD-BNNpromulgated on 02/06/2015 on the Scheme to promote the application of IPM during the period 2015-2020. The Plant Protection Department is assigned to direct and guide localities to deploy the implementation of Scheme Chapter IPM (3G3T, SRI, 1P5G, RAT, GAP).
  6. The Scheme on Restructuring Vietnam rice sector until 2020 and vision until 2030 (Issued together with Decision No. 1898/QĐ-BNN- TT dated May 23 rd , 2016 by the Minister of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development). Particularly:

            Specific targets by 2020:

-The area of IPM application reaches over 75%; area of sustainable cultivation process application (3G3T, 1P5G, agriculture-route- drying, SRI, VietGAP, other GAP, organic standards) accounts for at least 50%; reduce at least 30% of fertilizers and pesticides compared to present.

-Reducing post-harvest loss of less than 8%.

-Reducing emissions causing the greenhouse effect of 10% compared to present

– In the area specializing in commercial rice production, the area to link production, consumption, building large fields, raw material area accounts for at least 20%.

– Achieving 20% of the amount of exporting rice with Vietnam rice brand.

             Specific targets by 2030:

-The rate of using certified seeds accounts for 100% of area at specialized cultivation areas of the Mekong Delta.

-The area of IPM application reaches over 90%; the area of sustainable cultivationprocess application(3G3T, 1P5G, agriculture-route- drying, SRI, VietGAP, otherGAP, organic standards) reaches over 75%.

-Reducing post-harvest loss of less than 6%.

-Reducing emissions causing the greenhouse effect of 20% compared to present

-In the area specializing in commercial rice production, the area to link production, consumption, building large fields, raw material area accounts for at least 50%.

-Achieving 50% of the amount of exporting rice with Vietnam rice brand, in which 30% of exporting rice belongs to the type of fragrant and special rice.

  1. On February 22 nd , 2016, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development launched

to reduce the amount of rice varieties of sowing seeds at the Mekong Detal. In Hau

Giang, on February 19 th , 2016, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development coordinated with the Provincial People’s Committee of Hau Giang to organize a Conference on plant structural transformation, coping with climate change. On behalf of Leaders of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh launched the program to reduce the amount of rice varieties of sowing seeds at the Mekong Detal for the period 2016-2020 at the conference. The suggested target is to reduce the amount of rice varieties of sowing seeds to 80 kg/ha in 2020. The promotion solutions include the application of cultivation process “3 decreases, 3 increase; 1 to 5 lower, SRI process…

  1. The Dispatch No. 7208/BNN-KHCN dated August 25 th , 2016 by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on building the plan deploying the Implementation INDC in the agriculture sector for the period 2021-2030. Concretely, the plan to implement solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in INDC, agriculture sector; concretely including: Alternating dry irrigation and The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) carried out by the nation with the area of 1000ha (2000 billion) and donated by International Organisations with the target of 500.000 ha (4900 billion).

VII. Prize for the scientific product that contributed to the developing of agriculture and environmental protection

On November 14th 2012, the Plant Protection Department was awarded the prize “Vietnamese Golden rice” for the 1st time (Honor the contribution for agriculture) for SRI technique product.

(Decision No. 2752 / QD-BNN, issued on November 11th 2012 about certifying SRI product to be awarded the prize “Vietnamese Golden rice” for the first time)

In 2013, the solution Growing Potatoes by minimum tillage method covered by straw was awarded” Vietnam Environment Award 2013 “(Decision No. 832 / QD-BTNMT, May 31st 2014) by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

In 2015, the solution “Growing Potatoes in minimum tillage methods covered by straw ” was awarded the prize “Vietnam golden Rice Award” for the 2nd time from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

VIII. General assessment

The involvement of the local agencies and the national and international organizations

By 2015, there were 35 provinces applying the SRI, including 23 delta, midland and mountainous provinces in the North, 5 Northern Central provinces, 3 Southern Central provinces and 4 Mekong Delta provinces. Concretely as follow: 23 delta, midland and mountainous provinces in the North (Bac Kan, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, Ha Nam, Hanoi, Dien Bien, Hai Duong, Hai Phong, Hoa Binh, Hung Yen, Lai Chau , Lang Son, Lao Cai, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, Phu Tho, Quang Ninh, Son La, Thai Binh, Thai Nguyen, Tuyen Quang, Vinh Phuc, Yen Bai); 5 Northern Central provinces (Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien Hue); 2 Southern Central provinces (Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam); 4 Mekong Delta provinces (Can Tho, Hau Giang, Soc Trang, Tra Vinh). The total rice areage applying the SRI in 2015 was 436 377, in which the areage applied with rice variety sowed directly was 48.000 hectares (11%). The nunber of farmers applying the SRI was 1,910,255.

There were 12 provinces applying the SRI to the rice variety sowed directly (Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, Bac Giang, Tuyen Quang, Hung Yen, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Hai Duong, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Binh Dinh).

Many national and international organizations, and the research agencies join hands to support and develop the SRI: Biodiversity Use and Conservation in Asia Program (BUCAP) of SEARICE organization, Support IPM of Agricultural Sector Programme Support (ASPS) of DANIDA, IPM Vegetable Program of FAO in Asia, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Oxfam, SNV, SRD, GIZ, the World Bank, JVC, World Vision, ICERD, FIDR, BGR, International Cooperation Office, Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry, Hanoi Agricultural Academy, Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry, Institute of Crops and Food, Rice Institute of the Mekong Delta, Institute of Environment and Agriculture.

Effectiveness

The SRI brings the prominent effectiveness compared with the traditional farming methods, such as: The amount of rice seeds reduces 70-90% (the grown rice), 39-65% (the directly sowed rice); the amount of nitrate  decreases 20-28%, the average yield increases 9 to 15%, reducing 39-62% of plant protection expenses compared with the traditional manufacturing. Profit gaining from the fields applied the SRI’s principles increases 15-35% on average.

The SRI-based farming creates the ecological subregion which is detrimental for pestilent insects to grow, such as sheath blight, yellow snails, stuffy roots; and helps increase the resistance to insects as well as save about 30-35% of the used water.

In addition, applying the SRI significantly reduces the greenhouse gas emission compared with the traditional farming methods. The emission measurement result measured in the area applying the SRI and the area using the traditional methods by the Agricultural Research Institute in 2013 summer-autum crop in Binh Dinh and Quang Binh provinces shows that the greenhouse gas emission decreases ramarkably in the fields applying the SRI compared with the traditional cultivation: CH4 decreases 21-24%, N2O decreases 15-22% and CO2 decreases 22-27%; Global Warming Potential (GWP) in the fields applying the traditional farming cultivation is higher than the SRI fields from 26 to 32%. Emission reduction is because of the chemical fertilizer reduction and the water drainage by the method (shallow-expose-dry) to dry land in approximately 20-30 days through the growth periods of the rice.

Applying SRI, rice plant has better resistance to the bad effects caused by extreme weather because it has deep roots to stand more firmly in conditions of storm and drought. In SRI farming, irrigation requirements for rice fields decreases, which is very helpful in maintaining rice production in conditions of water scarcity nowadays.

System Rice Intensification (SRI) has been identified by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as a “smart rice cultivation, coping with climate change” process.

Therefore, SRI becomes one of the main ways of cultivation in directive documents, programs, schemes and projects related to sustainable rice production to cope with climate change, reduce gas emissions Green House.

Directing the implementation

Depending on the specific conditions of the locality, farmers can be guided to apply SRI under 2 different levels from simple (called partial application) towards full application of the principle (called total application).

Apply Partial SRI principles can start from the simple stitch, easy to carry in all the barefoot, seasonal, different varieties but still highly effective, such as: retaining transplanting density like farmers’ customs, but transplant only 1 strand / clump, the maximum is 2 strands / clump, ensuring farmers transplant by hands, avoid breaking roots, using the young rice plant with not more than 4 leaves, technical measures (fertilization, irrigation water, care, pest control) applying IPM.

In fact, 90% of SRI application area apply each part of SRI principles gradually. The most important reason is that irrigation process often have `many difficulties, not ensuring the maintenance of alternating wet and dry. In addition, ” increasing the use of organic fertilizer” is also difficult to implement due to the lack of animal manure and poultry.

Although partially apply the principles, SRI has brought many benefits such as reducing investment (especially reduction of seed, pesticides), increasing economic efficiency and resistance ability against pests and diseases.

If the process of alternating wet and dry water regulation is well conducted, SRI will bring greater efficiency such as increasing yield, resistance ability against fall as well as drought tolerance; and especially decreasing the greenhouse emissions (about 30%).

The difficulties  and limitations during SRI implementation process

When implementing SRI on the large scale fields, farmers often cope with common difficulties as follows:

The process of transplanting rice is not concentrated; rice varieties have different growth time; infield irrigation systems is not guaranteed; and the fields which are not flat enough are the basic reasons that makes it difficult to regulate the water to meet the demand of alternating wet and dry; famers are afraid of yellow snails when planting young rice plant; habit to use herbicide.

Some other related difficulties include: farming practices, awareness of the community on the technical requirements and the effectiveness of SRI, the lack of cooperation with irrigation officials, awareness of irrigation officials about love technical requirements of watering based on SRI.

  1. Some recommendations
  • Promote the program of managing Integrated Pest IPM / SRI
  • Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development of the provinces and cities directly under the Central Government will direct localities in the provinces to promote the application of SRI according to the content of Decision No. 3062 / QD-BNN-MOST, dated 15/10/2007 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on the recognition of “Applying synthetic intensive system in rice production in some northern provinces,” as the technical advance. Simultaneously, some related programs and projects should be conducted direct the SRI.
  • Improving infield irrigation system (irrigation and drainage) combined with renovating farm surface to conduct well the principle of alternating wet and dry irrigation (shallow-expose-drying); closely associating with irrigation management at the Cooperatives level to makes favorable conditions for water regulation based on SRI requirements.
  • Implementing SRI associated with “Program of building the large scale sample field”, or associate with community.
  • Training technicians who are proficient in SRI, IPM to guide and help farmers.
  • Each operatives need to train key farmers who have good skills about SRI to instruct other farmers.
  • Continue to study to exploit the potential in increasing rice productivity according to SRI principles, conduct research on sustainable development of “rice cultivation system” (rice – fish, rice – vegetables / soil improvement …) in order to promote the environment-friendly cultivation practices with the environment, improve production efficiency, study  alternative methods for chemicals…
  • Coordinate with agencies of public information to disseminate information, popularize, build and promote SRI model effectively.
  • International organizations, NGOs, civil society organizations continue supporting to expand SRI application.
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