organic rice production in the Mekong delta

In Vietnam, conventional rice cultivation is under strong economic and ecological pressure. At the same time, the domestic and global demand for organic products is increasing. OrganoRice has therefore set itself the goal of supporting the conversion to organic farming through close cooperation between German and Vietnamese partners. In addition to the purely agricultural framework, the entire value chain is made transparent, analyzed and optimized. Emphasis is placed on the integration of all relevant actors.

Organic rice cultivation in harmony with nature

The overall objective of the OrganoRice project is to support the expansion of organic rice cultivation in Vietnam, especially in the model province of Vinh Long in the Mekong Delta, and to scientifically accompany the conversion process from conventional to organic rice cultivation. For a successful conversion, in addition to scientific issues to be solved such as the reduction of soil and water pollution by pesticides and heavy metals, the introduction of optimal fertilization or ecological plant protection, all relevant socio-economic aspects such as the improved income situation of the rice farmers, the marketing of the products, etc. must be investigated. A particular challenge in the conversion process and for its success is the sufficient consideration of the cultural identity and integration of the individual farmers into the social structure of the village community. Therefore, the OrganoRice project relies on direct communication with the rural population. To ensure sustainable success of the conversion, both key local stakeholders (e.g. farmers, authorities, commercial enterprises) and local scientific institutions (Can Tho University) are strongly involved in the project.

Digital solution approaches

To help local farmers and political institutions for decision making which areas with the regions in Vinh Long province are suitable for conversion to organic rice production, a spatially explicit opportunity map with recommendations and detailed information for potential organic rice production areas in Vinh Long province will be developed. Overall, this map will identifying areas suitable for organic rice production and will be made available to stakeholders, including the regional administration, for further development of organic rice production in the region. In addition, an innovative knowledge-based digital information platform will be developed and implemented to support data flow and data visualization for all stakeholders, from farmers to traders to policy makers. Second, a traceability tool “WeTrace” is being developed for the specific needs of organic rice production in the Mekong Delta to build trust in the origin of products, to stabilize domestic demand for organic rice, and increase export opportunities. All data, the digital information platform and “WeTrace” will be made available to the public to help strengthen and expand organic rice production beyond the funding phase of the project.

Transparency as the key to success

The project involves scientific institutions from Germany (Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, University of Bonn, UNU Bonn) and Vietnam (Can Tho University) as well as companies that contribute their long experience in Vietnam to the project and local adiministration. Special attention in the OrganoRice project has been given to the collection and systematic analysis of data and information that identifies and verifies each step of the conversion process to ensure complete traceability of the organic rice production. KIAG, with its many years of interdisciplinary expertise in digital supply chain solutions for practical approaches to a global and sustainable economy, has a central role to play in this. The transparency gained in this way is intended to generate trust in all participants in the value chain and minimize risks.


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Institut Agrosphäre IBG-3, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (FZJ)

The IBG-3 aims to contribute to the sustainable use of the natural resources soil and water and to provide a better understanding of the functioning of terrestrial systems. IBG-3 has more than 50 scientists working on various national and international projects, including the fate of contaminants and the management of soil and surface water resources in various applications.


Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation University Bonn (INRES)

The INRES Institute of Soil Science (Prof. Amelung and team) is experienced in the study of soil regeneration and pollutant exchange processes through land use change in different environments. Current research on this topic relates to nutrient cycling in different paddy rice systems in the Philippines and related chronosequences in China and Indonesia. Together with UNU, there is also extensive expertise in risk assessment of antibiotics in soils and tracing of pesticides and human drugs in various peri-urban areas, for example in Mexico, China, and Vietnam. Professor Amelung coordinated the BMBF project DeltAdapt (Sustainable adaptation of coastal agro-ecosystems to increased salinity intrusion).


United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU)

The United Nations University (UNU) is the academic arm of the United Nations and serves as a bridge between academia and international policy. The UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS, Bonn, Germany) addresses current challenges of risk and vulnerability in socio-ecological systems, as well as the consequences of complex natural hazards and global change. UNU-EHS research improves the understanding of cause-effect relationships to find ways to reduce vulnerability for sustainable development. Research areas include climate change adaptation, environmental migration and social vulnerability, ecosystem services and resource conservation, and vulnerability and risk analysis models and tools. The goal of UNU-EHS’s research in this regard is to design solutions for risk reduction and sustainable development, taking into account future development pathways.


KIAG Knowledge Intelligence Applications GmbH (KIAG) KIAG was founded in 1999 as a consulting company with an integrated software department and has established itself in various industrial sectors through special solutions. Transparency and traceability have always been important topics for KIAG, not only in the context of the logistics division. Through personal contacts, the idea of using process and IT expertise in the area of sustainable development developed. The assumption is that IT can generate information and applicable knowledge directly from data and thus support necessary analog processes. The Bonn-based company gradually began to apply its know-how combined with technical expertise, especially in agriculture. Through the new WeTrace division, KIAG started to leverage synergies with different partners in Asia and Africa in 2015. The aim is to efficiently interlink all available resources for sustainable, market-oriented production and make them transparent. The implementation of this long-term project is taking place with different partners. These are the private sector on the one hand, and the public sector such as national and international development organizations on the other. Due to its interdisciplinary, experienced team, the company contributes the necessary knowledge in terms of IT, market and professionalism. At the same time, training is another core element of the WeTrace concept. Knowledge and

competence transfer are essential in this context. In this sense, WeTrace with its IT products and services is much more than just a business field. It offers a niche for rethinking economics for all stakeholders together. Especially for those at the end of the value chain.


Department of Cultivation and Plant Protection of Vinh Long province, Vietnam (DCPP)

The Department of Cultivation and Plant Protection of Vinh Long province currently has 52 employees and additional 183 employees work in decentralized subdivisions in communes, districts, and cities. Currently, the department manages 248 ha of farmland for the production of fruit trees and vegetables according to VietGAP standards. In addition, more than 165 ha of pomelo and 50 ha of sweet potato are cultivated to achieve VietGAP. Currently, 6000 ha of high quality rice cultivation has been registered and managed, including 43 ha of organic rice production in My Loc commune, Tam Binh district. In addition, 100 ha of rice field have been established and cultivated in Hieu Nhon commune, Vung Liem district.


Can Tho Universität, Vietnam (CTU)

Can Tho University (CTU) is the largest university in the Mekong Delta with the second largest agricultural faculty in Vietnam. Located in the heart of Mekong Delta, a delta fertile for agricultural production but exposed to the impacts of climate change, CTU has given high priority to education and research to promote sustainable agricultural production. The results of scientific research at CTU are widely recognized for their high efficiency and rapid application in agricultural production, which directly contributes to increasing regional food and nutrition production and adaptation to global climate change. Since 2007, the CTU has successfully collaborated with German partners through research projects. Examples include the project ‘Water-related Information System for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam‘ and ‘Sustainable adaptation of coastal agro-ecosystems to increased salinity intrusion’.


SERI Deutschland e.V. (SERI) associated member

The Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI Deutschland e.V. is a private, independent and non-profit research centre. It is dedicated to sustainable development research that is comprehensive, transdisciplinary and practically relevant, covering environmental, social, institutional and economic sustainability. SERI Germany is committed to high standards of research quality, as reflected in its participation in international research consortia and publications in internationally recognized journals. In addition to conceptual research, e.g. in areas such as ecosystem services and their valuation or sustainable consumption, SERI Germany emphasizes the need for knowledge transfer, interfaces between science, policy and society, and results that have to prove themselves in the real world.


L.U.P.O GmbH (LUPO) Contractor

L.U.P.O.. GmbH was founded in 1997 by the current managing director Dr. Jürgen Ott and is a team of experts from different disciplines of ecology and planning (biology, ecology, limnology, landscape and environmental planning, forestry, geography, etc.). Due to its interdisciplinary and flexiblility, it can cover work and planning from a wide range of disciplines, focusing on applied ecology and environmental planning. The most important taxonomic indicator group for inferring the ecological status of an ecosystem are dragonflies, on which L.U.P.O. has now been working for about 40 years. L.U.P.O. has been partner in the BMBF-funded interdisciplinary LEGATO project (Land Use Intensity and Ecological Engineering – Assessment Tools for risks and opportunities in irrigated rice based production systems), which was conducted in the Philippines and Vietnam, where they studied and analyzed dragonflies, which are considered as important elements of the zonosis in rice fields, and therefore, can be used as excellent bioindicators of different types of environmental impacts (pesticides, invasive species, etc.), thus providing information on ecosystem services.