Date released
14 December 2023

Economic development, climate change and environmental sustainability are all key elements underpinning the Vietnam Government’s drive to develop its circular economy.

The Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) sits within the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and has a relatively independent think-tank role as an advocate for policy change. It is also a long-term partner with ACIAR on agricultural and forestry projects.

Over the past decade, these projects have focused on farmer responses to climate change, agricultural development and food security policy, and agricultural finance.

Recent projects on sustainable production systems for vegetables, coffee and black pepper incorporate circular economy principles.

Government priorities

IPSARD Director-General Dr Tran Cong Thang said there was a big push to develop the circular economy across Vietnam’s economy as a whole, particularly after a government decision in mid-2022 to develop national initiatives.

However, IPSARD has been actively promoting a circular economy approach to government for several years, and it is now a priority within the new national Strategy for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development to 2030 and vision to 2050.

‘Our first objective is to increase the value of agricultural by-products to increase incomes,’ explained Dr Thang. ‘We also expect that we can create more jobs by extending the value chain of by-products.

‘Our second objective is to use the circular economy to stimulate “green agriculture”, to improve the environment and reduce emissions.’

Circular economy initiatives are integrated into Vietnam’s National Climate Change Strategy to 2050, with the country committed to achieving net-zero by 2050. Agriculture contributes 33% to national greenhouse gas emissions and targets under the climate strategy will reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from agriculture by 43% by 2030 and by 63.1% by 2050.

Priorities for doing this include making better use of the estimated 100 million tonnes of rice by-products (husk and straw) (see story, page 10) and 75 million tonnes of by-products (mostly manure) produced by the livestock sector each year.

A man collecting straw in a field.
More than 100 million tonnes of rice husks and straw produced each year represent a resource for the circular economy in Vietnam. Photo: ACIAR

Science and technology program

Dr Thang said IPSARD has worked with the Ministry of Agriculture to develop a science and technology program to stimulate the circular economy for agriculture and guide government investment.

‘Capacity building is also an important part of the program. We need people who understand circular systems and thinking, as well as people who can produce the science and technology.’

This is something ACIAR has assisted with through John Dillon Fellowships awarded to researchers in Vietnam.

To support the science and technology program, IPSARD advocates for cooperation in research, both nationally and internationally, to facilitate the transfer of appropriate technologies.

It also recommends standardising technologies and practices to implement new circular systems at national, provincial and local levels.

ACIAR PROJECTS: ‘Towards more profitable and sustainable vegetable production systems in north-western Vietnam’ (AGB/2012/059); ‘Increasing the sustainability, productivity and economic value of coffee and black pepper farming systems and value chains in the Central Highlands region of Vietnam’ (AGB/2018/175)