February 24, 2020
Three years in, the AgResults Vietnam GHG Emissions Reduction Challenge Project has had the opportunity to reflect on its accomplishments testing climate-smart agriculture technologies that increase rice yields. On January 8, the project hosted a learning event with key stakeholders; shortly after, participating private sector companies received prizes for their Phase 2 Crop 2 achievements.
The January 8 learning event brought together key representatives from the Thai Binh People’s Committee, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Crop Production Department, Thai Binh DARD and its Extension Centre to reflect on the project’s efforts to drive down GHG emissions in rice production in the province. Also in attendance were four private sector competitors — An Dinh, Thai Binh Seed, FARI SEED, and Binh Dien Fertilizer — who are participating in the Pay-for-Results prize competition to develop, test, and scale up technologies and tools to reduce GHG emissions in rice production.
The event included remarks a Spring and Summer 2019 Crop evaluation from the Project Manager (SNV) and the Secretariat, as well as an overview of the verification and prize award calculation process. SNV also facilitated a discussion among the four competitors about their experiences as participants. These conversations highlighted the opportunities and challenges around encouraging smallholder farmers to adopt technological packages and modify their practices.
“I would like to thank the Project Management Board of AgResults for initiating this challenging yet meaningful project in Viet Nam,” said Mr. Tran Manh Bao of Thai Binh Seed Corporation. “Thanks to the project, at the corporate level, we have realized the importance of sustainable agriculture production and our own roles model to further enhancing it.”
The event, which was the project’s second Lessons Learned event, reflected the continued emphasis on openness and interaction among the competitors, government officials, and the project staff.
“All key technical and management challenges are regularly collected, documented, and discussed among all parties for timely solutions and appropriate refinement of rules,” explained Project Manager Lead Tran Thu Ha. “This complete transparency has helped the project move forward steadily and has been appreciated across all stakeholders.”
Following the event, AgResults finalized the awards to competitors for their work during Phase 2 Crop 2 of the project. This period covered the summer cropping season, during which the four competitors continued to scale their improved rice growing technologies with smallholder farmers; all four competitors were again successful in increasing yields and reducing rice emissions. These four received proportional prize amounts from a total prize purse of US $500,000 based on their results: Thai Binh ($301,111.49), Binh Dien ($75,820.17), An Dinh ($67,507.46), and FARI SEED ($55,552.88).
Overall, the four technology packages in Crop 2 resulted in an average yield increase of 23.19% and an average GHG reduction of 12.46% against baseline practices. To date, more than 7,000 smallholder farmers have participated in applying these technologies to their rice production processes. 2020 will see two more cropping seasons in which competitors attempt to scale their technologies to as many farmers as possible as they compete for the grand prize.
The AgResults Vietnam GHG Emissions Reduction Challenge Project (2017 – 2020) is a US$8 million prize competition that aims to develop, test, and scale up innovative technologies, tools, and approaches to increase yields and reduce GHG emissions in rice production. The project uses results-based prize incentives to encourage private competitors to deliver packages and training to smallholder farmers. These new approaches will help lower GHG emissions, protect the environment, and ultimately reduce poverty among smallholder farmers in the Thai Binh province in the Red River Delta.
Funded by USAID (US), DFID (UK), DFAT (Australia), GAC (Canada), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, AgResults has designed and implemented prize competitions since 2013 focused on spurring fundamental change in market relationships between the private sector and smallholder farmers.