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Fostering the adoption of sustainable rice straw innovations in Vietnam through private sector engagement

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Loc Troi Agricultural Research Institute signed an agreement on developing smart paddy logistics management and sustainable rice straw solutions at the Loc Troi Group’s 7th Science Café in An Giang Province. With this year’s theme, Solutions for sustainable, stable, and continuous agricultural production, the event attracted more than 70 representatives from various local and international private sectors and research and development agencies.

Organized by the Loc Troi Group, one of Vietnam’s leading manufacturers and distributors of seeds, crop protection chemicals, fertilizers, and food products, the Science Café aimed to tackle issues concerning agricultural production, particularly in the Mekong River Delta.

“The programs and activities in cooperation with the private sector make an important and effective contribution to achieving the goal of improving productivity and reducing environmental impact by scaling the application of new technologies, especially in mechanization and smart agriculture,” said Dinh Thi Kim Dung, office manager at IRRI-Vietnam.

Ms. Dinh also recognized the long-standing collaboration between IRRI and the Loc Troi Agricultural Research Institute, particularly the research and implementation of improved and sustainable rice farming practices, which has produced important achievements.

Part of the collaboration between the Loc Troi Group and IRRI will be testing and further development of  the app EasyHarvest. The app was developed by IRRI for smart management and optimization of the logistics of paddy grains from harvest to drying by enhancing management efficiency and reducing cost and postharvest loss in paddy grain transportation.

Nguyen Van Hung, a scientist at IRRI’s Mechanization and Postharvest Unit, introduced EasyHarvest as a potential postharvest solution. Sowing of rice in the Mekong River Delta is done at the same time for easy and optimal control of pests and diseases, Dr. Nguyen explained.

However, the practice causes postharvest problems since most of the rice crops are harvested at the same time. This also leads to paddy logistics problems and delays in the drying of paddy causing poor quality such as discoloration, presence of mold, and high broken grains. There is also loss in quantity from low milling and head rice recovery.

EasyHarvest supports increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the paddy logistics management,” said Dr. Nguyen. “Consequently, it helps in reducing postharvest losses caused by large-scale simultaneous harvesting in rice production in the Mekong River Delta.”

He also demonstrated mechanized rice straw composting, which was developed under a GIZ-funded rice straw innovations project. Mechanized rice straw composting is an innovation that combines physical and bio-chemical processes for optimizing rice straw decomposition efficiency and organic fertilizer quality. Nguyen said that using the  technology will speed up the composting process. IRRI will transfer mechanized rice straw composting technology and provide consultancy for Loc Troi Group to improve rice straw management tailored towards sustainability.

Tran Nguyen Ha Trang, vice director of Loc Troi Agricultural Research Institute, shared the group’s appreciation for IRRI’s collaboration, particularly with the recent interventions on sustainable rice production capacity building, mechanization and postharvest, and rice straw management.

“Through this collaboration on EasyHarvest we can significantly reduce our cost and postharvest losses,” said Ms. Tran. “The development of mechanized rice straw composting would help to promote sustainable rice production and to increase the farmers' income.”