Climate change poses many threats to agriculture, including the reduction of agricultural productivity and incomes in areas of the world that already have high levels of food insecurity and limited means of coping with bad weather. However, agriculture is also responsible for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions and more could be done to reduce this by a significant amount.

Vietnam, as an emerging economy with a strong agricultural heritage, has developed an ambitious Green Growth Strategy that aims to transform food production by 2020 to mitigate poverty, adapt to climate change and enhance economic growth and development. More productive and resilient agriculture will require better management of natural resources, such as land, water and soil through conservation agriculture, integrated pest management, agroforestry and sustainable diets. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Vietnam, in its Action Plan In Response To Climate Change, sets out three goals to be met by 2020: 20% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; 20% poverty reduction; and 20% increased growth.

To achieve these goals, Vietnam needs US$3.5 billion in investment. While public sources can play a catalytic role, it is clear that a large amount of private investment is necessary. To help close the investment gap, the World Economic Forum and MARD hosted a workshop on the occasion of the second World Bank Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change, in Hanoi, 3-7 September.

The event included more than 40 representatives from international and domestic banks, agricultural companies and donor agencies working to help understand the bottlenecks to the deployment of private finance for climate-smart agriculture in Vietnam. They discussed how to identify key interventions and explored existing pilot or planned solutions where public-private finance solutions can bridge the gap.

The discussions uncovered a set of promising ideas that can deliver bankable structures, such as a warehouse receipt financing programme that engages extension services to deliver money to farmers to help them improve efficiency and reduce waste. In the coming year, Vietnam will be working with the World Economic Forum to finalize, test and launch these new ideas. It is hoped that this innovative multistakeholder effort will serve as a model for other countries and help the world to accelerate a global transformation towards sustainable agricultural growth.

Author: H.E. Cao Duc Phat is the Minister of Agriculture for Vietnam

Picture: A farmer visits her rice paddy field outside Hanoi. Reuters / Nguyen Huy Kham