A workshop to kick off a project on developing a sustainable value chain of products from lotus silk in Vietnam to support the flood storage strategy for the Mekong Delta region was held by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in An Giang province on May 26.
In the 2018-2021 period, the IUCN piloted a project in support of a water retention strategy for the Mekong Delta in An Giang, Dong Thap and Long An provinces, helping over 1,000 farmers develop flood-based agricultural economic models.
Tang Phuong Gian, field coordinator of the IUCN, said the new project will also benefit farmers in these localities in the 2023 – 2025 period, focusing on providing farmers with technical support and training to implement lotus cultivation to increase flood retention areas; and building a sustainable supply chain for lotus silk products by supporting the livelihoods and improving economic conditions for lotus farmers and craftsmen in traditional villages.
According to Truong Kien Tho, Vice Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of An Giang province, the floodwater-based lotus cultivation model has contributed to helping local farmers shift to an "agricultural economy" mindset by integrating multiple values from lotus plants and diversifying products, thus improving incomes for locals.
The model also contributes to preserving and restoring the water storage capacity, increasing sediment deposition on farmland, reducing the use of fertilisers and pesticides, promoting natural aquatic species, and improving biodiversity and agricultural cultivation ecosystem, he went on.
According to Vice Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Dong Thap province Le Quoc Dien, the locality boasts great potential and advantages to produce and develop products from lotus, and lotus silk.
Lotus cultivation becomes one of the key industries of the locality and is expected to develop stronger in the coming years, he said.
Delegates also shared experiences and opportunities, as well as challenges related to market access, planning, and policy support for these models.
In 2017, the Government approved a resolution on sustainable development of the Mekong Delta in response to climate change, producing marked changes in the region’s development.
Agriculture based on the flood season in upstream provinces such as An Giang, Dong Thap and Long An is considered as a method of cultivation in harmony with nature.