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On joining the Coalition, Vietnam said implementing measures to reduce methane from rice production is a meaningful action it would take to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, and that Vietnam’s agriculture sector will work to contribute to global greenhouse gas reduction efforts.
Rice is a dominant and important crop for Vietnam, but traditional wet paddy rice production also emits a significant amount of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Vietnam harvests around 7 million hectares of rice annually, and methane emissions from rice production is responsible for 50% of emissions from agriculture, which in turn contributes 33% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
Vietnam’s rice sector is also vulnerable to climate change, particularly sea level rise and extreme climatic events. In 2016 severe droughts caused a more than a billion tons of lost rice production and GDP growth in the sector fell below 2%, the lowest in 30 years.
Vietnam is exploring ways to make rice production more climate friendly. Along with Bangladesh and Colombia, Vietnam participated in a Coalition project to reduce methane from rice production by using the alternate wetting and drying irrigation technique.
In order to develop the sector sustainably the government aims to move to low-carbon rice production as part of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). It is encouraging rice growers to apply climate change adaptation practices like alternate wetting and drying, and to reduce the use of water, seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides. Emissions from rice paddies can also be reduced by rotating the use of fields by introducing alternative activites like shrimp or fish farming. For example, instead of having three rice crops a year, a farmer could produce two rice crops and one shrimp harvest in the same paddy.
To implement their NDC Vietnam has developed a plan of action to apply alternate wetting and drying techniques in 200,000 hectares of rice paddies and, with international support, plans to increase that area to 500,000 hectares.
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