Large-scale sustainable rice project improves incomes of smallholder farmers and makes positive impact on environment

Ten thousand smallholder farmers have made significant improvement in farming practices and quality of rice as part of the Market Oriented Smallholder Value Chain (MSVC) programme. Established in 2018, MSVC is a multi-stakeholder initiative between Olam Agri, German development cooperation Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). Through this programme, up to 150,000 tonnes of rice that meets international standards is produced, creating new growth opportunities for Vietnam’s rice exports to markets such as the EU and US.

Most smallholder farmers in the programme recorded more than 50% increase in scores verified by the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP), the world’s first voluntary sustainability standard for rice production. Additionally, some farmers in the programme’s trial plots reduced their water usage up to 40% and N-P[1]K fertiliser up to 15% as they moved from traditional flood irrigation to more modern alternate wetting and drying (AWD) and drip irrigation techniques.

“We owe the great success of MSVC to the resilience of the farmers and the strong support we have received from the MARD, Department of Cooperatives and Rural Development and local government authorities. We are strongly committed to the development of agriculture in Vietnam, and we are pleased that the increase in quality and safety standards of the rice varieties produced has opened the doors to more markets globally, including EU and US,” said Mohit Agarwal, country head of Olam Agri Vietnam.

“Sustainable rice benefits farmers, communities and consumers, while providing nutrition for 97 million people in Vietnam. In line with our purpose to transform agriculture for a more sustainable future, Olam Agri is working closely with a consortium of partners to advance the quality of rice produced in Vietnam and improve the livelihood of Vietnam’s farmers by strengthening their links to the global value chain where there is strong demand for safe, high quality and responsibly-produced rice,” said Paul Nicholson, vice-president for rice research and sustainability at Olam Agri, one of the world’s largest rice merchants and a founding member of the SRP.

Olam Agri is one of the world’s largest rice merchants and a strong advocate of sustainable rice cultivation. In the MSVC Vietnam programme, Olam Agri provided farmer incentives and created market linkages between cooperatives and millers to buy paddy directly from the farmers in Mekong Delta. With proven expertise and knowledge in sustainable farming practices, Olam Agri will be producing and packing private-labelled rice that carries the SRP-verified Label1 from Vietnam‘s SRP-certified farms in the Mekong Delta.

“We highly appreciate the efforts of the partners in building a comprehensive set of solutions from improving farming techniques to access to markets, including developing the capacity of farmers, farmer organisations in improving the quality and value of rice. The successes and lessons learned from the project will contribute to supporting state management agencies at all levels in the process of directing, formulating and adjusting policies to promote the development of production and market linkages for agricultural products in the country,“ said Le Duc Thinh, general director of the Department of Economic Cooperation and Rural Development, MARD.

As an ongoing effort to continue advancing sustainable farming practices in Vietnam, Olam Agri will continue to work with the Vietnam government to train farmers on techniques to protect soil health and create more support for the inclusion of women in agriculture.


1 The SRP-Verified Label provides assurance on sustainable best practices claims