Vietnam and IRRI explore collaborations to enhance rice sector productivity

vietnam riceDr Matthew Morell, director-general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) met with Dr Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Vietnam’s minister of agriculture, to discuss ways to increase the resilience of domestic agriculture to climate change, enhance the productivity and access to markets of rice farmers

Minister Cuong discussed with Dr Morell the priority areas where Vietnam, specifically the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and its attached agencies, would like support from IRRI.

Minister Cuong stressed, “MARD will coordinate with the IRRI Vietnam country office to work on our agricultural policies to help improve the lives of our farmers.” Several existing and pending collaborative programs between IRRI and MARD will also push through in the coming years.

To address the impacts of climate change, Minister Cuong commended IRRI for its continued support of the national breeding program of Vietnam to produce climate change-tolerant rice varieties.

Minister Cuong requested for IRRI’s help in studying and developing Vietnam’s rice market such as exploring non-traditional markets in Africa and Latin America.

Dr Morell shared that the 50-year longstanding partnership between Vietnam and IRRI has produced significant gains including boosting yields of southern Vietnamese farmers by an average of 9.8 per cent per year.

Minister Cuong agreed that IRRI’s support to Vietnam helped them achieve a lot of successes in the agriculture sector, particularly in increasing rice sufficiency and knowledge expertise.

Minister Cuong expressed to Dr Morell Vietnam’s gratitude for the 50 years of collaboration between IRRI and MARD, with the ministry agreeing to the joint hosting of an event in Hanoi to celebrate this fruitful partnership.

After meeting with the minister, Dr Morell proceeded to visit Dr Cao Duc Phat, the former minister of agriculture and a member of the IRRI Board of Trustees. They discussed several issues concerning the Vietnamese agriculture sector such as climate change impacts and rice production. Dr Phat suggested that IRRI should design a program package of research and technology development that addresses productivity as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation.

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