Vietnam has emerged in recent years as one of the world’s top producers and exporters of rice. From 15.7 million tons in 1985, the country’s rice production more than doubled to about 35.9 million tons in 2004. Rice production alone accounts for 45% of the country’s agricultural produce. A staple in every Vietnamese’s diet, rice comprises about 67% of daily calorie intake.
The onslaught of urbanization and industrialization, coupled with water shortage problems and salt intrusion, however, pose a threat to Vietnam’s booming rice industry and, consequently, the nation’s food security. Poverty incidence in the uplands of Vietnam is at an alarming 59%.
The map below shows the upland areas in Vietnam.
Upland areas in Vietnam
Moreover, rice production in remote regions in the country’s northern part is insufficient to meet the consumption requirements of almost 30% of the households.
About 75% of the people of Vietnam are poor and live off growing and selling crops, raising and selling livestock and fish, and from forest products. The agricultural sector accounts for 60% of the country’s labor force. The sector also accounts for 22% of Vietnam’s GDP and 30% of exports.
Some 156,290 hectares of total rice area in Vietnam are affected by submergence.
Flood-prone areas in Vietnam
Vietnam’s total rice crop area affected by salinity is estimated at 1,867,910 hectares.
Salt-affected areas in Vietnam
- Dr. Nguyen Thi Lang, CLRRI
- Dr. Pham Thi Sen, NOMAFSI
- Mr. Nguyen Van Chinh, NOMAFSI
Released rice varieties
| Name of variety|| Year released|| Ecosystem|
| OM 8928|| 2012|| Drought|
| OM 7347|| 2012|| Drought|
| OM 7398|| 2012|| Drought|
| OM 5629|| 2011|| Salinity|
| OM 5981|| 2011|| Salinity|
| OM 6377|| 2011|| Salinity|
| OM 6677|| 2012|| Salinity|
| OM 8927|| Recommended for release|| Submergence|
| IR64-sub1|| Recommended for release|| Submergence|
Submergence. In the last four years, CURE country partners worked on breeding for submergence and for anaerobic germination by using marker-assisted selection in breeding. For its expansion efforts, partners distributed seeds of submergence-tolerant elite lines for field evaluation in farmers’ fields. A total of 210 lines were evaluated for tolerance of AG. Five of these were found to be promising lines: OM10252, OM3673, OM10396, OM10033, and OM8900.
Participatory varietal selection (PVS). PVS activities were conducted in six provinces: Can Tho, Vinh Long, Dong Thap, An Giang, Kien Gang, and Hau Giang. BR11-Sub1 obtained the highest mean yield of 4.24 t/ha in on-farm trials.
A total of 210 lines were evaluated for tolerance of AG. Five of these were found to be promising lines: OM10252, OM3673, OM10396, OM10033, and OM8900. Participatory varietal selection PVS activities were conducted in six provinces: Can Tho, Vinh Long, Dong Thap, An Giang, Kien Gang, and Hau Giang.BR11-Sub1 obtained the highest mean yield of 4.24 t/ha (Table 6) in on-farm trials.
Salinity. Partners in Vietnam generated 100 crosses and 5 backcrosses by using salt-tolerant donors, and 1,911 selections from different generations. They also evaluated 40 breeding lines in OT and RYT in SocTrang and Dong Xuan, and selected 18 genotypes based on salinity tolerance, growth duration, yield, and homogeneity of morpho-agronomic traits.
Overall, partners conducted nine participatory varietal selection trials and evaluated the performance of 1,154 varieties and 605 lines.
In Ben Tre,13 of the most promising genotypes suitable for the saline-prone ecosystem were evaluated in mother trials. The experiment was conducted in Batri.
Upland. NOMAFSI partners further evaluated three lines (IR74371-54-1-1, IR82635-B-B-88-2, and IR82639-B-B118-3) out of 22 lines during the spring and summer cropping seasons in 2012. IR74371-54-1-1, IR82635-B-B-88-2, and IR82639-B-B118-3 yielded more than 5 t/hain the spring and more than 3 t/hain the summer.
Participatory varietal selection (PVS). A PVS trial of the three lines was conducted in Tram Tau, Yen Bai, in the spring crop season. The lines performed well in all farmers’ fields. IR74371-54-1-1 yielded the highest (4.54 t/ha). Support was provided to a farmer’s rice seed group in Dai Phac to produce, store, and supply good-quality rice seeds of local variety Chiem Huong and other pureline rice varieties for a 5-ha area. The group continued to function well and produced high-yielding and good-quality seeds.
Varieties released. NOMAFSI, in partnership with the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) of Yen Bai, Lao Cai, and Dien Bien, carried out activities to genetically restore and re-release some local rice varieties. As a result, Chiem Huong, a local variety of Yen Bai, was approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) for commercial production and was included in the list of rice varieties approved for large-scale production. Chiem Huong is now largely produced in Yen Bai and is well known as a local quality rice variety. Two other varieties, Nep Tan of Dien Bien and Khau Nam Xit of Lao Cai, have been purified and are in the process of being approved by MARD.
Demonstration. The demonstration model on upland rice cultivation using mulch and direct seeding was established in Van Chan, Yen Bai (5,000 m2). Results showed that mulch helped reduce weed problems (by 60%) and increased yield (by 20−25%). Using mulch and direct seeding on promising variety IR74371-54-1-1 resulted in yield higher than that of the local variety, Te Do. The increase in yield was attributed to better soil moisture. In the long term, vegetative mulch materials helped improve soil fertility.
The model on upland rice rotation with legumes (1 ha) was also developed in Cao Bang Province, in cooperation with a FAO project for integrating food security and nutrition for farmers.