FAO Representation
Viet Nam

Climate Smart Agriculture: Capturing synergies between mitigation, adaptation, and food security GCP/INT/139/EC

Donor :   European Commission, ENRTP, DCI-ENV/2010/23577, FAO
Government / Partner Agency: NOMAFSI
Duration: 3 years
Starting Date: October 2012
FAO Budget (or contribution) : USD 1,000,591

General Project Background

Food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation intersect in the agriculture sector. The Project examines them together in order to capture multiple benefits and manage trade-offs across these challenges. The Project builds an evidence base to support identification of:

a)    climate smart agricultural practices/technologies and barriers to their adoption by smallholder farmers
b)    policy and institutional options that could promote their uptake, including local institutional arrangements.
c)    investment proposals that cost and prioritize promising climate smart agricultural options, linking proposals to possible financing (ODA and climate)

The project will analyze climate smart agricultural options  to assess their contributions to food security and adaptation (with potential mitigation side benefits) in the Northern Mountainous regions of Vietnam.  The analysis will rely on large scale household data from repeated surveys (as many years as possible from the same sample of households) with detailed information on agricultural practices at the plot level, socio-economic data and other income generating activities. These data will be merged with historical climatic data and mitigation potential of practices to assess the interactions of climate change with the costs and benefits of climate smart agriculture (CSA) practices and serve as a basis for the identification of policy and institutional options for the uptake of priority practices.

The project is being funded by the EC, with a budget of 1 million USD for each partner country over three years.

The project is interregional and is also being implemented in Malawi and Zambia, which provides opportunities for the exchange of experiences and lessons learned.

Regional Focus

Vietnam is likely to be among the countries most affected by climate change, and its farmers are among the most vulnerable to climatic disruption, both in coastal areas and in the highlands. The choice of regional focus for the project is driven by two factors:

1.    Regions where agricultural vulnerability to climate change is a key risk to food security for households;
2.    Areas where suitable data is available  to analyze barriers to adoption of climate smart practices and provide evidence-based policy advice.

The first point tends to exclude areas where off-farm income from urban and non-farm sources is a major and increasing source of household income, since  the focus of the project is on managing agriculture for food security under climate change.  The second requirement will direct the project where there are data available on households and production decisions, and where there have been changes in adoption of new techniques.
With respect to these two criteria the Northern Mountainous region is suitable area for the project. In the Northern Uplands farming remains the most important economic sector and the population in this region is increasing. Currently, the Northern Uplands remains among the poorest regions in the country (29% poverty rate compared to 17% in the rest of rural Vietnam). Research indicates that in this area, food shortages and food insecurity due to climate shocks is already an issue (Fischer and Buchenrieder, 2010).

Despite the challenging situation farmers face in the Northern Mountainous region, considerable improvements have occurred in the last two decades in terms of intensifying production, reforesting degraded lands, adopting new crop varieties, and diversifying into other crops. Given the resources available for the project and the factors mentioned above, activities are undertaken in a limited number of provinces in the Northern Mountainous area.

The Northern Mountainous region has a considerable area of upland cultivation of maize on very steep slopes subject to soil erosion, and subject to landslides. With climate change the risks associated with soil erosion are likely to increase due to a higher frequency of extreme events.  Relevant topics that could be analyzed by the project as part of a CSA approach are (i) sustainable land management practices for maize systems in the uplands and barriers to their adoption, and (ii) diversification of productive activities into other crops (such as coffee and tea) and the investments necessary for diversification to occur. Aspects of value chain improvement could also be considered in this context, especially production and marketing as they relate to Arabica coffee and higher value tea varieties.

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