A conference in An Giang province on September 4 examined how regional farming systems in the Mekong Delta can adapt to climate change.

Hosted by Can Tho University, the event aimed to review the implementation of the project “Climate Change Affecting Land Use in the Mekong Delta: Adaptation of Rice-based Cropping Systems” (CLUES) in the region.

Funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR- Australia), the 1.2 million AUD (1.1 million USD) project was carried out in the provinces of An Giang, Hau Giang and Bac Lieu, and Can Tho city from 2011-2014, focussing on developing new rice varieties for submerged and alkaline agricultural land, as well as areas affected by saltwater intrusion.

Experts and scientists analysed the impacts of climate change and sea level rises on the region’s rice production.
Le Van Hoa from Can Tho University highlighted the need to manage water resources and land for rice cultivation in ways adaptive to climate change, saying that this will contribute to increasing profits for farmers.

Participants said it is necessary to carefully tailor rice cultivation practices and crop varieties to each type of ecosystem, whilst also promoting biodiversity in the fields, which can prevent the spread of diseases. Overall, this approach will improve rice quality and output, they said.

Covering an area of 3.96 million hectares, the Mekong Delta has a population of approximately 22 million, most of whom live on farming.

Considered a granary of the country, the region usually suffers from floods, droughts and unusual weather patterns each year.

To counteract the impacts of climate change, the Mekong Delta is expected to refine its adaptation policies and plans, particularly with regard to sea level rises and saltwater intrusion.-VNA