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Joint Initiative to Upgrade Agricultural Circular Businesses in Viet Nam

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) announced a joint initiative to assist smallholder farmers and small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the provinces of Can Tho, Dak Lak, and Son La to adopt circular economy models for the coffee and rice value chains. These models are expected to positively impact the agricultural ecology, enhance economic value and improve livelihoods for local communities.

In Viet Nam, rice production is responsible for 19 percent of the country’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (NDC, 2022). These emissions stem from various factors such as deforestation, intensive use of fertilisers and water for irrigation, and mismanagement of by-products like straws and husks. Similarly, coffee plantations pose significant risks of direct and indirect deforestation. To address these issues, a circular economy approach mitigates negative effects on agricultural ecosystems and improve economic performance.

The collaboration will identify and disseminate circular solutions associated with rural and peri-urban waste in selected sites through hands-on capacity-building workshops for 200 farmers’ groups. Additionally, two business models will be selected to pilot circular solutions to identified bottlenecks. Technical advisory support is expected to make these models more economically feasible, resource-efficient, and climate-smart. 

Underpinning these activities, the Viet Nam Circular Economy Hub will host the final sharing and learning workshop to disseminate improved business models for replication in other provinces and promote lessons learnt by facilitating the connection of stakeholders, including governmental agencies, private sectors and associations, academia, and development partners.

According to Ms. Ramla Khalidi, UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam, “There is great potential in applying circular economy principles in the agriculture sector. Application of circularity will help to reduce costs, enhance sustainability, and improve the competitiveness of Viet Nam’s agricultural products, while simultaneously reducing waste, mitigating the negative impacts on the environment, and offering effective response to climate change.”

Dr. Mark Smith, Director General at IWMI, emphasized, “Our overarching goal is to ensure that biocircular solutions are used more effectively to generate increased economic, environmental, and social benefits that can help farming households and SMEs in rural and urban areas and contribute to GHG emission reduction.”

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