From August 22 to 24 2017, AgResults Vietnam GHG Emissions Reduction Pilot stakeholders met in Thai Binh City to hold the Phase I kickoff workshop. Although the Pilot’s Phase I has been underway since June, the Pilot Management Team, consisting of the AgResults Secretariat, SNV-Vietnam Pilot Manager, and Applied GeoSolutions-Vietnam Verifier (along with its partner, Institute for Agricultural Environment-IAE), organized the kickoff workshop at midseason to observe progress in prize contest implementer test sites.
The workshop began on Tuesday the 22nd, with a half-day event at which the AgResults stakeholders presented the overall progress of the pilot, and each implementer exhibiting their technology package and provided a short overview of their technology and participation rationale in the pilot. The AgResults stakeholders’ government partners, including representatives from the
national Crop Production Department (CPD) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Thai Binh People’s Committee, and provincial Agriculture Extension Center (AEC) under the District Agricultural and Rural Development (DARD) attended and gave remarks. In addition, key members of the Pilot Advisory Committee, including internationally recognized Green House Gases (GHG) experts and rice scientists as well as AgResults donor representatives from the Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Canada Global Affairs participated in the workshop and field visits. Finally, the AgResults External Evaluator, Abt Associates attended and presented on its overall role and their high-level approach to the Vietnam Pilot evaluation.
As part of their participation, all 11 Phase I implementers set up display booths at the workshop to highlight aspects of their chosen technologies. These included innovative slow-release fertilizers, soil health additives, organic matter decomposition agent as well as improved and specialized rice varieties. The booths allowed for a rich exchange of ideas and perspectives amongst implementers and Pilot stakeholders before, during, and after the event.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the AgResults Secretariat and PM, Advisory Committee, AEC, and the External Evaluator joined a trip to visit six of the implementer test sites. The stakeholders viewed the sites, witnessed the GHG measurement process, heard from the implementers and their farmer partners on field and crop management, and provided feedback on the progress of the fields to date. Particularly enlightening was the commentary by the senior scientists from Can Tho University, who analyzed and compared the growth of the rice plants in each test versus control plot. Although some implementer plots showed weaknesses due to weaker-than-expected water or soil management due to heavy rains, the scientists agreed that all six of the visited implementer test plots were outpacing their respective controls.
Despite the challenges in the pilot to date, including a relatively quick turnaround from pilot launch to the beginning of Phase I, all stakeholders and especially the implementers revealed their enthusiasm for the pilot so far. Implementers are hopeful that their soil and water management technologies will not only increase yields at harvest time – expected in October and early November – but also greatly reduce GHG emissions. After the conclusion of the first cropping season, AgResults is planning an interim review and lessons learned event in December, at which point the first prize results will be announced.