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Plant Sciences Study Tour in Vietnam

During spring break in March 2016, a team of research and Extension students and staff from the Department of Plant Sciences participated in a study tour of the research and Extension activities in Vietnam that support the development of a climate resilient agriculture.
 
 

April 22, 2016

During spring break in March 2016, a team of research and Extension students and staff from the Department of Plant Sciences participated in a study tour of the research and Extension activities in Vietnam that support the development of a climate resilient agriculture. Participants were Ph.D. students Grant Mehring, Shana Forster, Aaron Hoppe and Lesley Lubenow; M.S. students Ben Cigelske and Calli Feland; and research specialist Chad Deplazes. Drs. Joel Ransom and Hans Kandel led the tour.

The group visited the Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry in the beginning of the week. Field visits to a Climate Smart Village (a project from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture) at Yen Binh District included a soil erosion research site, integrated fish farm, agroforestry, and home garden food production integrated with livestock.

A World Agroforestry Centre project was visited in Van Chan District and discussions took place at the Hanoi headquarters. The last main visit was to the Field Crops Research Institute, which included a focus on the work of the International Rice Research Institute. In addition, a number of local markets and water resource management sites were observed.

Participants gained new insight into the importance of agriculture research in the lives of small-scale farmers, how innovative Extension and development approaches can bring new technology to farmers in very different circumstances than those encountered in North Dakota, and an increased understanding of how climate change is impacting agriculture in the tropics/subtropics and how those impacts might be mitigated. Some of the students registered for educational credits for participation in the tour.

Vietnam was selected for the 2016 program because of the significant role that agriculture plays in the country’s economy, and the large proportion of the population involved in agriculture. Vietnam’s agro-economy consists of intense small-scale agriculture coupled with local markets and growing demand for both commodity and specialty crops. With a growing off farm economy, the need for innovations to meet the labor demands at the farm level is currently an interesting challenge being addressed by research and Extension. Furthermore, with climate change impacting traditional cropping systems, the challenge of mitigating the impacts of climate change is urgent given the important role of agriculture in the economy and the lives of the population.

Source: Joel Ransom () and Hans Kandel ()
Editor: Kamie Beeson ()

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