The aim of the project is to demonstrate the viability of organic rice production in the MKD in order to improve product safety, environmental sustainability and livelihoods through organic production and improved land and water management. OrganoRice will holistically analyze the opportunities and challenges for a transition to organic rice production including environmental, social and economic aspects. It will also demonstrate its viability in a pilot region (Vinh Long province) of the MKD (see Annex 2) Finally, OrganoRice will draw conclusions, which will help to successfully implement organic rice production systems in other Vietnamese regions. Our working hypotheses are:
Rice based organic farming is a means to improve product safety, environmental sustainability and livelihoods and will help to improve land and water management when measures are taken simultaneously on the farm, landscape and value chain scale.
Conversion from conventional to rice based organic farming can be accomplished faster than 3 years by adaptation of land and water management on the farm and landscape scale.
Suitable tools such as a digital knowledge platform can help farmers and authorities in the transformation process and will enable ecologically and economically sustainable farming in the long run
For hypothesis 1 we assume that the adaptation or implementation of rice based organic farming depends on the environmental (climate, soil, water quantity and quality, differences in management (e.g., rice shrimp (fish), rice-vegetables), social (farmer education, political conditions), and economic conditions (e.g. availability of storage facilities, transportation, wholesaler, market access, financial support), which may play a role either at the farm or at the landscape scale and might be also shaped by the actors of the value chain. For hypothesis 2 different adaptation strategies will be tested in the field and lab. Here, we test the hypothesis that e.g. the dissipation of pesticide/antibiotic residues from conventional farming can be accelerated by appropriate management and that soil fertility can be improved by organic fertilisers and silicon fertilisation and that yield losses caused by common pests can be minimised by biological pest control. Finally, for hypothesis 3 we expect that suitable novel tools like data visualization and digital traceability software optimized multi stakeholder platforms will help farmers and authorities to accelerate the acceptance for organic farming, to raise farmer’s income, and to increase the status of farmers in the rural community.