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Sustainable rice cultivation in the deep flooded zones of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta

Chapman, Alexander; Darby, Stephen; Tompkins, Emma; Hackney, Christopher; Leyland, Julian; Van, Pham Dang Tri; Pham, Thanh Vu; Parsons, Daniel; Aalto, Rolf; Nicholas, Andrew

Authors

Alexander Chapman

Stephen Darby

Emma Tompkins

Christopher Hackney

Julian Leyland

Pham Dang Tri Van

Thanh Vu Pham

Daniel Parsons

Rolf Aalto

Andrew Nicholas



Abstract

This paper explains how the management of the full-dyke system in the deep flooded zones of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta affects rice cultivation, and outlines how alternative dyke management strategies could offer more sustainable adaptations in the face of future environmental threats. The current management of the ‘full-dyke’ network has been successful in promoting triple-cropping rice cultivation, but this practice has prevented sediment deposition on the land surface. River-borne sediments deposited on the delta land surface have high economic value because they are (i) rich in nutrients (potentially 26 million USD/yr of free fertiliser to An Giang Province) and can (ii) help to maintain the Mekong Delta land above sealevel. Without a continuing supply of sediment to the delta, triple-cropping paddies may not continue to be sustainable or profitable for the majority of rice farmers over the next 10 to 20 years. The economic value of sediment as a free fertiliser is particularly important to poor farmers, as without sediment, they run a significant risk of debt due to fluctuations in rice, fertiliser, and other input prices. With incoming loads now declining, sediment must be managed carefully as a resource. Our projections show that the best use of the remaining sediment resource can be achieved by allowing full paddy flooding only in years of high sediment potential, and this would greatly increase the sustainability of rice agriculture in the face of future environmental change. This recommended policy is an option with few regrets, in that its other benefits include maximising groundwater replenishment, ensuring freshwater availability during drought periods (including countering salt water intrusion), cleansing rice paddies of pests and disease, and tempering downstream flooding. If triple-rice-cropping continues to have priority, financial support will particularly be needed to provide help to poorer farmers coping with increases in artificial fertiliser prices.

Citation

Chapman, A., Darby, S., Tompkins, E., Hackney, C., Leyland, J., Van, P. D. T., …Nicholas, A. (2017). Sustainable rice cultivation in the deep flooded zones of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. Vietnam Journal of Science, Technology and Engineering, 59(2), 34-38. https://doi.org/10.31276/VJSTE.59%282%29.34

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 5, 2017
Publication Date Jun 21, 2017
Deposit Date Mar 16, 2018
Publicly Available Date Mar 22, 2018
Print ISSN 2525-2461
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 59
Issue 2
Pages 34-38
DOI https://doi.org/10.31276/VJSTE.59%282%29.34
Public URL https://hull-repository.worktribe.com/output/678945
Publisher URL http://vietnamscience.vn/index.php/VJSTE/article/view/39
Contract Date Mar 16, 2018

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Copyright Statement
© 2017 Vietnam Journal of Science, Technology and Engineering

CHAPMAN, Alexander et al. Sustainable rice cultivation in the deep flooded zones of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. Vietnam Journal of Science, Technology and Engineering, [S.l.], v. 59, n. 2, p. 34-38, june 2017. ISSN 2525-2461.






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