Inland dry season saline intrusion in the Vietnamese Mekong River Delta is driving the identification and implementation of alternative crops to rice

Brooke Kaveney, Edward Barrett-Lennard, Khoi Chau Minh, Minh Dang Duy, Kim Phuong Nguyen Thi, Paul Kristiansen, Susan Orgill, Ben Stewart-Koster, Jason Condon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
91 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

CONTEXT: Inland saline intrusion is occurring during the dry season in the Mekong River Delta (MRD), Vietnam. Rising sea levels, tidal fluctuations, drought, and changes to upstream flow contribute to extensive salinisation of rice producing areas of the MRD, leading to substantial rice crop losses. OBJECTIVE: The identification, evaluation and implementation of alternative crop and soil management solutions are required to complement on-going rice production in the region. 

METHODS: A review of scientific and grey literature was conducted regarding the nature and extent of salinisation in the MRD and the adoption and management of alternative crops to rice. 

RESULTS: Familiar crops in Vietnam (e.g., maize, soybean), as well as novel crops to the MRD (e.g., quinoa, cowpea) were explored as potential options to replace dry season rice. Management options including surface soil mulches and plastic coverings help maintain soil moisture and reduce salinity damage to plants, and the use of drainage and seed preparation techniques can improve plant establishment and yield. Factors contributing to the success of alternative crops include salt tolerance, timing and efficiency of water use, ability to grow in the dry growing season, tolerance to pests and diseases, labour intensiveness and the crops' marketability. 

SIGNIFICANCE: The identification of suitable alternative crops to replace dry season rice in saline affected areas of the MRD, combined with management practices like mulching and soil moisture monitoring, could provide farmers with income opportunities to offset rice losses. Documenting the factors contributing to successful crop diversification can assist with decision-making and support initiatives among farmers, agribusiness, and government agencies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103632
Number of pages13
JournalAgricultural Systems
Volume207
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

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