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Vietnam Today

Switzerland continues agriculture support project

Released at: 14:18, 12/11/2019

Switzerland continues agriculture support project

Photo: Vietnam News Agency

Project supporting use of satellite data for monitoring of rice production and crop insurance to continue to mid-2021.

by Le Diem

A Swiss funded project was launched in Hanoi on November 12 to support the use of satellite data for the monitoring of rice production and crop insurance in Vietnam until June 2021.

This is Phase 3 of the “Remote Sensing-based Information and Insurance for Crops in Emerging Economies” (RIICE) project being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). MARD also contributes counterpart funding.

As part of a larger global SDC project that covers several other rice producing countries such as Cambodia, India, Indonesia, and Thailand, RIICE has been implemented since 2013 in Vietnam.

RIICE benefits from the technical capabilities of sarmap, a Swiss remote sensing company, in processing satellite data, and the expertise of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), based in the Philippines, to estimate yields. RIICE also benefits from the valuable crop insurance knowledge of Swiss Re, the world leading re-insurer.

“We are very happy to see that the previous two project phases were a success,” Mr. Reymond Marcel, Head of Swiss Cooperation in Vietnam, said at the launch. “Our main counterparts, MARD, the National Institute for Agriculture Planning and Projection (NIAPP), and Can Tho University (CTU), have shown a high level of commitment and hard work in the implementation of this project. Building on past success, MARD and SDC have decided to continue Phase 3 to maximize the benefits gained and to ensure project sustainability.”

Phase 3 will focus on two major areas: fully integrating RIICE in the government rice monitoring and agriculture disaster management system, and supporting the government’s crop insurance program. The first component will support MARD to make advanced technology work smoothly and sustainably in the government system in aspects such as technically, institutionally and financially. Commercialization options will also be looked at to collect user fees to reduce government expenses. In the second component, RIICE will produce rice yield data at the commune level to support the implementation of the crop insurance program in seven provinces, as specified in Prime Ministerial Decision No. 22/2019/QD-TTg released recently.

“Our mandate is to implement the government’s agriculture insurance program successfully,” said Mr. An Van Khanh, Deputy Director of the Cooperatives and Rural Development Department at MARD. “This is a very new challenge for us. You cannot imagine how much data is required by the insurance industry. It’s fortunate that we can benefit from RIICE’s support in this regard. It also opens up a very promising opportunity to expand the government program.”

RIICE is a public-private partnership program sponsored by SDC with a view to supporting crop insurance systems for smallholder farmers through the use of technology. It is implemented by a consortium of the IRRI, sarmap, SDC, and Swiss Re in cooperation with MARD, NIAPP, CTU, and others.

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