Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam is receiving support to apply remote sensor technology in rice production.

Phase 3 of the project “Remote Sensing-based Information and Insurance for Crops in emerging Economies” (RIICE) was launched in Hanoi on November 12.

The Swiss-funded project will support the use of satellite data in monitoring rice production and crop insurance in Vietnam until the end of June 2021.

The project is worth 10.2 billion VND (442,083 USD), of which the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) will provide 8.4 billion VND (363,988 USD) and Vietnam 1.8 billion VND (78,095 USD) from the reciprocal capital of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The third phase focuses on improving the MARD’s rice monitoring system as well as capacity to manage natural disasters through institutionalisation of RIICE technology including the development of procedures, tools and products for the use of remote-sensing technologies in rice monitoring and crop insurance programmes.

The first component of the phase aims to support the MARD to make advanced technology work smoothly and sustainably in the Government system in all aspects of technique, institution and finance.

In the second component, RIICE will produce rice yield data at communal level to support the implementation of the crop insurance programme in seven provinces.

As part of a larger global project of the SDC that covers several other rice producing countries such as Cambodia, India, Indonesia, and Thailand, RIICE has been implemented since 2013 in Vietnam in cooperation between Vietnamese and international counterparts.

Vietnam gets help to apply remote sensor tech in rice cultivation hinh anh 1Delegates at the launch of Phase 3 of the project “Remote Sensing-based Information and Insurance for Crops in emerging Economies” (RIICE). (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Specifically, RIICE benefited from technical capabilities of Sarmap, a Swiss company, to process satellite data and those of the International Rice Research Institute based in the Philippines, to estimate yield.

RIICE also benefited from valuable crop insurance knowledge of Swiss Re, the world leading re-insurer.

“We were very happy to see that the previous two project phases were a success,” said Reymond Marcel, Head of Swiss Cooperation in Vietnam.

“Our main counterparts, MARD, NIAPP (the National Institute for Agriculture Planning and Projection), and Can Tho University have shown a high level of commitment and hard work in the implementation of this project,” he said.

“Building on past success, the MARD and the SDC have decided to continue phase 3 to maximise the benefits gained and to ensure the project sustainability," he added.

Prof. Vo Quang Minh, head of GIS, Remote Sensing and Soil Science Department of Can Tho University, said rice production plays an important role in ensuring food security, job and income generation in Vietnam.

However, the sector faces many risks of natural disasters, storms, floods, droughts, saline water intrusion and diseases, Minh said.

Thus, agricultural insurance is considered a way to help farmers face risks and minimise losses.

But, to sufficiently apply RIICE into rice sensors and insurance system, it was necessary to enhance management staff’s capability as well as set up an effective working process, he added.

“Our mandate was to implement the Government’s agriculture insurance programme successfully,” said An Van Khanh, Deputy Director of the MARD’s Co-operatives and Rural Development Department.

“This was a very new challenge to us. You cannot imagine how much data was required by the insurance industry.

“It was very fortunate that we can benefit from RIICE support in this regard. It also opens up a very promising opportunity to expand the government programme”, said Khanh.

The project's phase 1 was carried out as a trial in provinces of Nam Dinh and Soc Trang in 2012-2015.

Phase 2 was implemented in 10 provinces in the Red River and Mekong Delta regions in 2015-2017.

RIICE is a public-private partnership program sponsored by SDC to support crop insurance systems for smallholder farmers through the use of technology./.