Organisations supporting low-carbon agriculture

April 20, 2022 | 10:00
With its strong commitment to the world to achieve net-zero emissions over the next few decades, Vietnam is cooperating with some international organisations on initiatives for low carbon imprints in the agricultural sector - one of the biggest emitters in the country.
Organisations supporting low-carbon agriculture
Organisations supporting low-carbon agriculture

The World Bank and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) are preparing to implement the “Developing a low-carbon agricultural value chain” project with a total estimated cost of $390 million. The project, which is expected to be implemented over six years until 2029, will contribute to realising Vietnam’s commitment to reach a net-zero emissions target by 2050.

The budget combines a loan worth $300 million from the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development, with counter funding from the Vietnamese government of $60 million and a grant of $30 million. The project is planned to have three aims of green and sustainable low-carbon agriculture; increasing the management of climate risk; and expanding the capacity to approach the carbon credit market and develop the market for green and low-carbon agricultural products. The project will also support agricultural enterprises to join the carbon market.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh said at a high-level agricultural forum between the MARD and the World Bank over a week ago, “Over the six years we should not only focus on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission target in terms of planting and livestock breeding, but also pay attention to developing carbon storage services and improving the awareness of people about the importance of low-carbon emission in agriculture.”

International support is crucial for Vietnam and other developing countries to unlock opportunities to pursue net-zero emissions targets, experts said, and greater technology transfer and financial assistance from developed to developing countries would speed up efforts to address global climate change.

At the COP26 climate summit last November in the United Kingdom, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh announced that Vietnam will make use of its own domestic resources, along with the cooperation and support of the international community through mechanisms such as the Paris Agreement, in order to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Vietnam can lower the amount of methane gas by 22 per cent thanks to domestic resources. The target of a decrease of 30 per cent would therefore be feasible thanks to international support.

Nguyen Anh Minh, deputy director of the MARD’s Department of International Corporation, told VIR, “At COP26, the international community highly appreciated Vietnam’s determination. After the conference finished, many nations expressed their readiness to provide technical and capital assistance for Vietnam to complete the target.”

Last year, Vietnam’s agri-forestry-fishing sector accounted for 12.36 per cent of the country’s GDP. Although agriculture has doubled in terms of value in the last decade, its share in GDP has witnessed an average annual decrease of 0.3 per cent.

In spite of the importance of agriculture in the country’s economic growth, the sector is responsible for a third of the country’s GHG emissions, with livestock and rice production being primary sources. According to the World Bank, the impact of climate change on agriculture may reduce up to 2.4 per cent GDP in Vietnam by 2050.

“Issuing solutions to eliminate GHG emissions is an urgent requirement. However, agriculture faces a lot of pressure to do this work due to fragmented farming, while agricultural enterprises have yet to pay much attention to this mission,” Minh explained. “At present, we lack the capital, technology, and techniques that are available in developed countries.”

Dina Umali-Deininger, manager of Agriculture Global Practice for the World Bank, said, “Despite the World Bank’s initiative being a major one, it is not big enough to deal with carbon emissions in terms of the agriculture sector in Vietnam, thus the country should receive international support from the likes of the Global Environment Fund and others.”

The international community had expressed their intention to support Vietnam in eliminating GHG emissions even before COP26.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) is supporting countries like Vietnam in promoting farming practices that reduce short-lived climate pollutants like methane. These practices include improving the efficiency of animals and herds with strategies such as using better feed and feeding techniques that can reduce methane generated during digestion, as well as the amount of methane and nitrous oxide released by decomposing manure.

The CCAC’s Solutions Centre has assisted the MARD to work with its Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development to update the agriculture component in Vietnam’s Nationally Determined Contributions, as well as develop the country’s plan to implement the Paris Agreement for agriculture over this decade. The support that it provides gives the institute the chance to have deeper insight and analysis, and a better scientific basis to support selecting appropriate measures for reducing GHGs.

By Oanh Nguyen

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional