Rice harvesting in the Mekong Delta. (Photo: VNA)

Impacts of climate change and sea level rise on land use in the Mekong Delta and new rice farming techniques in the context of climate change were the focus of a seminar held in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on September 11.

The event was co-organised by Can Tho University and the management board of the “Climate Change Affecting Land Use in the Mekong Delta; Adaption of Rice-based Farming Systems” (CLUES) project.

According to CLUES Project Director Le Quang Tri, the project, funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), was carried out in Can Tho city, Hau Giang, An Giang and Bac Lieu provinces in the delta from 2011-2014.

One of the key components of the project was improving salinity and submergence resilience of locally adapted rice varieties and elite lines, which was jointly conducted by Can Tho University and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

The project has helped local farmers, particularly those with small-scaled farms, to increase adaptive capability by switching to better farming systems and widening variety selection to reduce risks, Tri said.

Prof. Dr. Nguyen Thi Lang from Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute revealed that the project has successfully developed and applied many high-yielding flood-tolerant rice varieties, such as OM 4900, OM 6876 and OM 5451, and salt-resistant varieties, for example OM 5629, OM 6677 and MNR4, alongside other alum- and drought resistant types, into local production.

It is estimated that the Mekong Delta contributes to roughly 55 percent of rice output and 90 percent of rice exports of the entire country annually. Rice farming accounts for between 50-95 percent of income for a majority (70-90 percent) of farmers in the region.-VNA