Promoting Sustainable Agriculture Adaptive to Climate Change

11:10:24 AM | 9/8/2022

As a key economic sector bringing high export turnover, the agricultural sector in Vietnam as well as other countries is facing the challenge of climate change, requiring responsive solutions and joint efforts from all sectors of the economy.

Challenge of climate change

Agriculture plays a key role in Vietnam's economy, as a pillar to bring the economy through many of the most difficult periods. Especially in 2021, the growth rate of the agricultural sector was even higher than the GDP growth of the whole country reaching 2.9%, contributing 13.97% to the growth rate of the total added value of the whole economy. The General Statistics Office said that last year, the agriculture sector recorded high export turnover of US$48.6 billion, US$6.6 billion higher than the target. The trade surplus of the whole agriculture industry reached more than US$6.4 billion, making an important contribution to the country's trade surplus.

However, besides the achievements, the agricultural sector is also facing difficulties and challenges. The issue of climate change poses a major risk affecting the global agricultural industry, including Vietnam. Sea-level rise, floods and droughts are becoming more and more prominent. According to the analysis of the World Resources Institute on the impact of floods on GDP, Vietnam ranks 4th out of 164 countries surveyed in terms of the serious harm by floods to the whole economy, which cause a loss of 2.3% of Vietnam's GDP per year.

According to research results from the Institute of Agricultural Environment (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), climate change will shrink the agricultural area, reducing the yield of some key crops. Specifically, spring rice yield will decrease by 0.41 tons/ha in 2030 and 0.72 tons in 2050. Maize yield is likely to decrease by 0.44 tons/ha in 2030 and 0.78 tons in 2050.

In December 2021, Vietnam joined 150 countries to participate in the COP26 Conference. In the meeting, Vietnam made strong commitments that were of international interest, including two contents closely related to the agricultural sector: a commitment to join the initiative "Reducing global methane emissions" and a commitment to implement the "Glasgow Declaration on Forests and Land Use".

In January 2022, the Prime Minister approved the "Strategy for sustainable agricultural and rural development, period 2021-2030, vision to 2050". Currently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is developing a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture and rural development for the period of 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050.

Mobilizing all resources

To implement the Strategy for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development, and the above-mentioned international commitments, Vietnam needs great efforts, not only from the Government, but also from the private sector including businesses and producers at different scales, to unlock the investment resources of the whole society.

The Emissions Gap Report 2021 by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) shows that new national climate pledges combined with other mitigation measures put the world on track for a global temperature rise of 2.7°C by the end of the century. If implemented effectively, net-zero emissions pledges could limit warming to 2.2°C by 3030.

However, according to Dr. Tran Dai Nghia, Director of Economic Research Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, resources to realize these goals are very limited due to the financial needs for this project. The climate change response of developing countries is 5 to 10 times larger than the cash flows that current international public financial funds can mobilize for climate change response.

Therefore, to implement the plan, it is necessary to mobilize all resources and participation in all economic sectors, especially the private sector, in which the State prioritizes allocating resources from the budget, calling for international support and mobilizing resources from the private sector and social sources. Implementing mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions should be closely linked with the process of ecological agriculture transition, climate change adaptation, low carbon, circular economy, digital transformation - modern countryside - civilized farmers.

Sharing about the "role and efforts of the business community towards Net Zero commitment", Mr. Pham Phu Ngoc, Director of Nestlé Vietnam Agriculture Support Department, said that at the end of 2019, Nestlé Group announced a Net Zero commitment by 2050 along with a specific roadmap to achieve this goal. A tally of carbon emissions across the entire supply chain shows that nearly two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture. So addressing this emission is one of Nestlé's key areas of focus in achieving its Net Zero commitment, with regenerative agriculture as a key element.

“In Vietnam, regenerative agriculture is integrated and implemented within the framework of the Regenerative agriculture NESCAFÉ Plan with the aim of conserving and restoring agricultural land and ecosystems. Its ecology and vital resources include soil, biodiversity and water, benefiting farmers, the environment and society at large. These benefits include soil carbon capture and plant biomass; improve soil health and fertility; reduce the use of agrochemicals and reduce net greenhouse gas emissions," said Mr. Ngoc.

Giang Tu (Vietnam Business Forum)