CSA for rice production in the Mekong DeltaSoutheast Asia


The Mekong Delta is Vietnam's main rice area and accounts for half of annual rice production. Use of rice land in the delta is divided into agro-hydrological zones controlled by flood duration and depth, water availability, and salinity regimes. Over the last 30 years, Vietnamese farmers have been adapting to changing environmental conditions by diversifying and modifying their production systems and water management. But recent and forecasted agro-hydrological changes threaten the viability of these farming and social systems and, subsequently, food security within Vietnam as well as rice-importing countries. The main constraints to farmers' ability to adapt to the new hydrological regime are availability of suitable cultivars, soil nutrient management options, insufficient knowledge of potential harm from acid sulphate soil inundation, and planning tools.

The CLUES project (Climate change affecting land use in the Mekong Delta: Adaptation of rice-based cropping systems) builds on core work that has been undertaken by the International Rice Research Institute and its Vietnamese and Australian research partners - encompassing improved resilience in rice production and numerous nutrient-cycling projects in the region. The project is designed to increase the adaptive capacity of rice production systems in the Mekong Delta Region (MDR), and its overarching objective is to provide farmers and management agencies with technologies and knowledge that will improve food security in the Mekong Delta.

Relationship to CSA

The mega-deltas of Asia are among the most vulnerable environments to climate change because these low-lying areas are directly exposed to impacts of sea level rise. The land use in the Mekong Delta as well as other deltas in the region is dominated by rice production. While no other crop can grow under water-logged conditions, increasing sea levels will aggravate salinity intrusion and flooding risks. Decrease in rice production in MRD will not only affect local food security, but also the economic development of Vietnam as well as the global rice trade.

The resultant approach for rice-based agriculture in the MRD encompasses a range of CSA components:

Impact and lessons learned

The complex interaction of climate change impacts in delta regions requires comprehensive approaches on adaptation covering many disciplines related to land use. Adaptation can be based on direct and indirect impacts on the hydrology of the delta. Thus, adaptation options have to be specified for the different agro-hydrological zones of the delta.

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CCAFS Climate-Smart Agriculture 101

The basics

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrative approach to address these interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, that explicitly aims for three objectives:

A. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development;

B. Adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and

C. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).

Entry points

Agriculture affects and is affected by climate change in a wide range of ways and there are numerous entry points for initiating CSA programmes or enhancing existing activities. Productivity, mitigation and adaptation actions can take place at different technological, organizational, institutional and political levels. To help you navigate these myriad entry points we have grouped them under three Thematic Areas: (i) CSA practices, (ii) CSA systems approaches, and (iii) Enabling environments for CSA. Each entry point is then described and analysed in terms of productivity, adoption and mitigation potential and is illustrated with cases studies, references and internet links for further information.

Develop a CSA plan

Planning for, implementing and monitoring CSA projects and programmes evolves around issues of understanding the context including identification of major problems/barriers and opportunities related to the focus of the programme; developing and prioritizing solutions and designing plans; implementation; and monitoring and evaluation. Most major development agencies have their own framework for project and programme formulation and management but CCAFS has developed a specific approach for planning, implementing and assessing CSA projects and programme called CSA plan. CSA plan was developed to provide a guide for operationalizing CSA planning, implementation and monitoring at scale. CSA plan consist of four major components: (1) Situation analysis; (2) Targeting and prioritizing; (3) Program support; and (4) Monitoring. evaluation and learning.


To meet the objectives of CSA, such as agricultural development, food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation, a number of potential funding sources are available. For instance, climate finance sources may be used to leverage agriculture finance and mainstream climate change into agricultural investments. This section offers an overview of potential sources of funding for activities in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) at national, regional and international levels and for a number of different potential ‘clients’ including governments, civil society, development organizations and others. Additionally, it includes options to search among a range of funding opportunities according to CSA focus area, sector and financing instrument.

Resource library

CSA Guide provides a short and concise introduction and overview of the multifaceted aspects of climate-smart agriculture. At the same time it offers links to references and key resources that allows for further investigations and understanding of specific topics of interest. In the resource library we have gathered all the references, key resources, terms and questions in one place for a quick overview and easy access that can be used as a part of or independently of the other sections of the website. The resource library is divided into six sections; (1) References – list all publications, links and blogs referred to on the website; (2) Tools – list all the CSA tools presented on the website; (3) Key terms – explains the most important and frequently used terms related to CSA; (4) Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – provides a rapid overview of the most common questions asked on climate-smart agriculture; (5) About – where you can find out more about the purpose and structure of, as well as on the organizations and authors behind the website; (6) Contact.

Case studies

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