Salt-tolerant rice variety adoption in the Mekong River Delta: Farmer adaptation to sea-level rise
Dung Thi Phuong Le
Lien Thi Nhu
Mills, Bradford Franklin
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Rice production in the Mekong River Delta of Vietnam (MRD) is endangered by sea-level rise and an associated increase in the incidence of salinity intrusion. This paper examines the diffusion of salt tolerant rice varieties in the MRD that were promoted through Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE) activities. Factors associated with adoption of CURE-related varieties are estimated using a random utilty model and a dataset of 800 farm households with rice fields in salinity prone areas of the MRD. Results suggest that there has been widespread adoption of CURE-related varieties in salinity-prone areas. Further, multivariate analysis reveals that environment and location characteristics, rather than household characteristics, are the most important determinants of adoption. In particular, CURE-related varieties are more likely to be adopted in high-salinity-risk areas that are not protected by salinity barrier gates. Neighbhors' adoption decisions also strongly influence household decisions to adopt CURE-related varieties. The contracting of mechanization, particularly for land preparation and harvest, requires the coordination of village households in timing of planting, harvest and varietal duration. This coordination appears to extend to choice of CURE-related varieties. Finally, CURE-related varieties and other varieties generate similar net revenues in a year with low salinity exposure, suggesting that CURE-related varieties are a low-cost insurance policy against salinity inundation in high risk areas. Combined, these results highlight the need to address complex factors beyond current economic profits, like environment, community choices, and risk mitigation, when designing technologies and policies that support farmer adaptation to climatic change.