The AgResults Vietnam GHG Emissions Reduction Challenge Project is a four-year, 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 plans to lower GHG emissions, protect the environment, and ultimately reduce poverty among smallholder farmers in the region. Focusing on the Thai Binh province in the Red River Delta, the project uses results-based prize incentives to attract a diverse pool of private sector actors, and is being conducted in two phases.
Current rice farming practices in South and Southeast Asia produce significant amounts of greenhouse gases (GHG), particularly non-carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions including methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). These compounds are potent contributors to global GHG emissions that drive climate change-related extreme weather events, including droughts and floods. Smallholder rice farmers contributing to these emissions, including those in Vietnam, are particularly vulnerable to climate-related shocks.
The project is designed to incentivize private sector rice companies to develop, test, and promote the use of improved rice farming technology packages that reduce GHG emissions and increase yields. Spurred by the prospect of prizes, companies will develop innovative strategies to market their solutions to as many smallholder rice farmers as possible. On average, successful packages will cost less (through reduced fertilizer use) and increase yields, raising incomes. Lower GHG emissions serve as a possible market opportunity for participating companies to capitalize on national or global demand for low-carbon agriculture, helping Vietnam reduce emissions across the country.
The prize consists of two phases, a testing phase and a scale-up phase, illustrated in the diagram below:
All proposed technology packages comprise elements that fall under the following categories, which are the most significant drivers of on-farm GHG emissions for rice.
Phase I verification employed a combination of direct measurements and modeling of GHG emissions and rice yields for each competitor technology and corresponding baseline.
The Verifier conducted a baseline survey in early 2017 to define the most common rice cropping practices in Thai Binh. These sets of practices serve as the baselines against which to measure a competitor’s GHG emission reductions and rice yields.
The Verifier set up control plots, one for each competitor, and managed the control plots per baseline management standards.
Following a detailed calendar, the Verifier took on-field GHG measurements for competitor and control plots weekly and at each major cropping event. The Verifier also made sure that competitors followed their proposed technology packages. Yield results at the end of harvest were obtained for each competitor and control plot.
The Verifier quantified GHG emissions reductions and yield increases compared to the baseline and, after uncertainty calculations, proposed awards.
The project is expected to engage private sector rice value chain actors to test and scale up the use of innovative rice farming technology packages that increase yields and reduce GHG emissions. Through this process, smallholder farmers will gravitate towards the most cost-effective technologies , increasing yields and improving livelihoods. The project will reduce GHG emissions, paving the way for wider uptake across Vietnam and potential monetization through carbon markets.
AgResults expects to achieve the following by the end of the project:
# of Competitors
Prize funds awarded (USD)
This table illustrates how our learning has evolved in Vietnam from project design through implementation. Further details can be found in the Learning Library.
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The evaluation for Vietnam is being conducted in two stages: The first stage evaluates Phase 1, which focused on developing innovative technology packages that reduce GHG emissions while increasing rice yields. The second stage of the evaluation focuses on assessing if the competitors increased adoption of those technologies by farmers and improved their incomes. The Evaluator plans to conduct a randomized control trial (RCT) by randomly assigning 50 communes to the control group. However, if the project does not scale enough to allow for an RCT, a quasi-experimental design will be used instead.
The Stage 1 evaluation is complete, including the baseline report and endline report. The baseline for Phase 2 of the project is also complete and awaiting approval before public dissemination.