The study assessed the impact of an adjusted cropping calendar on the welfare of rice farming households in the  Mekong River Delta of Vietnam in the 2019/20 Winter–Spring (W-S) crop season. Some farmers in the study area practiced early planting as an adaptation strategy to avoid the risk of saline intrusion during the 2019–2020 El Niño. The study randomly surveyed 1,176 rice farmers in three MRD provinces, namely, Long An, Kien Giang, and Soc Trang, of which 412 were early planters and 764 were nonearly planters. Propensity score matching was applied to explore the effects of early planting on the rice yield and rice farming income. Early planting during the 2019/20 W-S season produced (i) an increase in rice farming income of VND 22.8–24.6 million per farmer or VND 8.62–8.77 million per hectare; (ii) an increase in the annual rice farming income of VND 13.7–17.1 million per farmer or VND 3.2–4.3 million per hectare; and (iii) an increase in rice yield by 5.29–5.67 tons per farmer or 2.51–2.59 tons per hectare. The findings confirm that adjusting the rice cropping calendar as an adaptation strategy against salinity can improve rice farmers’ production and income. Based on the results of this study, the Vietnamese government in general and the leaders responsible for the agriculture sector in particular should engage in intensive research on the large-scale implementation of CS-MAP not only in rice farming but also in the production of other crops. This would enable both the central and local governments to effectively mobilize available resources and improve risk management modalities in adapting to climate change (IPCC, 2014). In addition, local leaders need to actively inform farmers of the benefits of crop calendar adjustment so the adoption of this strategy is accelerated.

Read the full paper: