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Climate smart agriculture – A pathway towards Saving Lives and Sustainable Livelihoods


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In respond to the 
World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought (17th June), as a CSO observer, The Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD), under the project “Agricultural biodiversity conservation and development for poor communities in response to climate change in Son La province” (2018-2020), organized the event of making business group in the project area (Muoi Noi and Bon Phang communes, Thuan Chau district, Son La province) from 9th to 12th June, 2020. The objective of the event is to facilitate cooperation between the local famers and stakeholders to sell the safe and organic products which come from the project’s climate smart agricultural models. Some highlights of the project’s results are in the below.



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Food shortages or food insecurity are always an issue concerning by many countries and territories around the world. Especially in the face of changes related to climate change, degradation of the living environment, erosion of natural resources, including the decline of agricultural land area and biodiversity imbalance which lead to failure of crops, animals and ethnic conflict. Ensuring food security in the context of climate change and degradation of the living environment, therefore is not only the responsibility of the governments but also of the United Nations, non-government organizations (NGOs) and other civil society organizations.


Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD) is a leading professional NGO in Vietnam, being established in 2006. The activities of SRD are multidisciplinary with a focus on agriculture and forestry, targeting vulnerable communities to support them controlling over resources and their own life in a safe environment. SRD’s mission is to work with all stakeholders from the central to local levels to create a real change in both policy making and implementation towards the vulnerable communities. The interventions of SRD have focused on supporting the communities to eradicate hunger and reduce poverty, environmental protection and climate change adaptation and mitigation, increasing governance capacity for the local people to better manage their development process, ensure food security and sustainable livelihood.


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 One of the outstanding projects of SRD being implemented based on the approach of nature-based farming, towards organic farming is the project “Agricultural biodiversity conservation and development for poor communities in response to climate change in Son La province”, funded by Bread for the World and Manos Unidas. The project’s activities include climate smart agricultural models (CSAs) such as climate smart rice cultivation, indigenous sticky rice rehabilitation, sustainable coffee farming, conserving and developing indigenous chicken breed by bio-method to enhance the knowledge of natural-based farming, using organic inputs to improve farming efficiency, increase income, ensure food security while minimizing environmental harm, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and coping with climate change.


The farming models which introduced to the community by the project have a common approach that is using indigenous crops and livestock to increase resilience and adaptation to climate change, increasing use of organic fertilizers which are made from the agricultural by-products, intercropping with legumes to improve and maintain the quality of arable land, reducing the use of chemical fertilizers and plant protection chemicals, feeding animals by agricultural by-products to save input costs and protecting the living environment. Thanks to persistence in application, after more than two years of implementation, the yield of rice cultivated in the environmentally friendly manner has increased by 26.2%, the yield of organic farming coffee has increased 19.01%, the scale of indigenous chicken raising has increased averagely 29.8% (the number of chicken raising before the project is from 20 to 50 heads per household per year while it is from 50 to 300 heads per household per year after the project). The growth in productivity and scale of crops and livestock production has enabled the local people in the project area to be proactive in local food and foodstuffs, increase their income and sustainability of livelihood activities. This makes special sense in the context of the recent Covid19 pandemic.


In addition to productivity growth, the application of CSA models also helps the local people creating the qualitative products, reducing emission of greenhouse gases such as nitrogen oxide (N2O), ammoniac (NH4), methane (CH4) from minimizing the use of hybrids, plant protection chemicals and industrial animal feed. Moreover, the CSA models contributed to increasing the diversity of natural enemies in the field (from 3 species to 11 species after two years of project implementation), protecting crops naturally, reducing chemical residues in the soil and water. This is very important issue for the long term because it will help the ecosystems (especially the agricultural ecosystems) to be diverse, balanced and sustainable at the same time with increasing capacity of local people in adapting to and mitigating negative impacts of climate change. Therefore, the living environment is improved and the local livelihood is more sustainable.

Sum up, development of climate smart agricultural models by promoting the use of the natural inputs, reducing and eliminating the use of chemicals step by step is a sustainable pathway to ensure a long-term life and livelihoods for people, especially those in pure agricultural countries which are adversely affected by climate change like Vietnam.


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