Australian Embassy

Media release - 14/09/2015

Project to present climate change impact assessment and possible response strategies for rice production in the Mekong Delta


Hanoi, Vietnam (14 September 2015) — Promising rice varieties and innovative farm technologies that could help farmers in the Mekong Delta (MD) adapt to crucial climate challenges will be presented in a workshop on 14 September 2015 at Daewoo Hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam.

The rice farming technologies were identified through field trials in different agro-ecological zones (An Giang, Bac Lieu, Hau Giang and Can Tho provinces) and are supplemented by GIS maps on hydrological impacts of sea level rise(SLR) to facilitate targeted interventions for maintaining high productivity of rice systems.

Vietnam’s rice granary, the MD accounts for half of the country’s annual rice production. But rice farmers in the region have been battered by varying climate change impacts like sea level rise (SLR), which causes salt-water intrusion in rice paddies. This imperils the sustainability of the country’s rice sector.

The workshop will feature in detail results of the 4-year project Climate Change Affecting Land Use in the Mekong Delta: Adaptation of Rice-based Cropping Systems (CLUES) funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and implemented by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), together with its partner institutes from Vietnam (Can Tho University, Cuu Long Rice Research Institute, Southern institute for Water Resource Planning, Institute for Agricultural Sciences) and Australia (CSIRO).

“The interdisciplinary approach adopted by the CLUES Project—encompassing hydrology, plant breeding, crop management and socio-economic approaches—yielded a range of tangible results on future risks stemming from sea level rise as well as possible response strategies in terms of adaptation and mitigation in rice-based systems of the delta,” says Reiner Wassmann, project leader and IRRI coordinator for climate change research.

Building on previous works undertaken by IRRI and its Vietnamese and Australian research partners, the CLUES Project aimed to increase the adaptive capacity of rice production systems in the MD and to provide farmers and extension agencies with technologies and knowledge that will improve food security, not only in the region, but globally as well— Vietnam being the second largest rice exporter globally.

The project generated the following research outputs and results, among others:

• The impacts of SLR have been mapped in a very high resolution depicting spatial and seasonal patterns of future flooding and salinity risks. In combination with improved technologies (see below), these maps can be used for targeted changes in the rice production systems of the delta.
• High-yielding, submergence- and salinity-tolerant rice varieties were developed, field-tested, and have been submitted for varietal release (2014).
• The alternate wetting and drying irrigation technique, which is simple and not expensive, holds high potential as adaptation and mitigation strategy. It saves on water use for rice production by 25% and reduces methane emission in rice paddy by up to 50%.
• Improved varieties with salinity-tolerance, short-growth duration and high-yield potentials could be introduced in the rice-shrimp system to increase rice production in the salinity-affected coastal zone.
• The project has yielded new data on emission and mitigation for one of the key areas within the Vietnamese Greenhouse Gas inventory.
The workshop will likewise serve as a platform for feedback from various stakeholders on how the research findings can be disseminated extensively and as a move to refine the outreach and exit strategy of the CLUES Project.

Know more about these important project results which may help curb the climate challenges confronting Vietnam’s rice industry.

Webpage of the CLUES Project

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research is a statutory authority within the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio operating under the ACIAR Act. The Centre was established by the Australian Government in recognition of the rare position Australia holds amongst industrialised countries, of having the range of climates—cool and warm temperate, subtropical and tropical—typical of the developing world. Australia also has exceptionally strong capacity in agricultural research and development, this combination offering a unique opportunity to utilise agricultural research to benefit developing countries. (

The International Rice Research Institute is a member of the CGIAR Consortium. IRRI aims to reduce poverty and hunger, improve the health of rice farmers and consumers and ensure environmental sustainability of rice farming through collaborative research, partnerships, and strengthening of national agricultural research and extension systems. (