Adapting to climate change in the Mekong Delta

Boat sailing in the delta.

Vietnam is one of the world's leading exporters of agricultural products supplying rice, coconut, cashew nuts, black pepper, coffee, tea, rubber and fishery products globally.

The main source of Vietnam’s agricultural abundance comes from the Mekong river which originates in the high Tibetan plateau and runs through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The Mekong Delta’s biodiversity and cultural heritage is a source of beauty and wonder.

The tropical monsoon season, which runs from April to September, nurtures rice paddies and many other food crops across Vietnam’s delta region. However, climate change is increasingly putting pressure on this natural ecosystem and impacting the lives of the local community.

In 2015-2016, the Mekong Delta saw the largest freshwater drought and salinity intrusion in over 100 years causing the loss of one million tonnes of paddy in the delta, and 500,000 households suffered a shortage of daily use water.

Disaster struck again in 2020, when drought and salinity intrusion surpassed the 2016 record, causing even more devastation to farmland and livelihoods of the farming community. It  then became clear that these weather events are the new normal and an innovative approach is needed to help these communities withstand the impacts of climate change.

The Vietnamese and Dutch governments have joined forces to work on the Mekong Delta Agricultural Transformation plan (MD ATP), thereby taking a landscape approach to address climate change and support livelihoods. The Dutch fund for Climate Development represents one of many actions taken by the Dutch government to increase the resiliency of communities and ecosystems most vulnerable to climate change.

Salinity intrusion in Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Salinity intrusion in Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Salinity resilient crops

Salinity resilient crops

The DFCD is exploring solutions to address these challenges. For example, working with farmers in the Delta to help them grow more climate-resilient, less water-intensive fruits and crops.

The fund is also exploring the impact of switching farmers from rice to more climate-resilient fruits, such as dragon fruit, jackfruit, pomelo, coconut and cantaloupe. These fruits could reduce the risk of a failed harvest while at the same time boosting the total income earned by the farmers. In addition, the DFCD’s work seeks to bridge food science and market linkages to help Vietnam reach greater agricultural heights and prosperity for those communities who have had the least impact on climate change but who sadly will suffer the worst effects.

About the Dutch Fund for Climate Development

The Dutch Fund for Climate and Development is a 160 million euro climate and development fund sponsored by the Dutch government to implement climate change adaptation projects in emerging Asian and African countries.

The Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO) leads the fund together with Climate Fund Manager (CFM), World Wide Fund for Nature Netherlands (WWF-NL) and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation.

For more information contact

Business and Investment Officer: Alex Downs - adowns@snv.org  www.snv.org

Junior Business Development Officer: Yen Nguyen  -  ynguyenthihai@snv.org