CBA Viet Nam: Onion-Based Cultivation Crops to Adapt to Droughts and Saline Intrusion in Vinh Chau Commune


Vinh Chau Commune is located near Viet Nam’s Mekong Delta in Soc Trang province, one of the poorest provinces in the country. In recent years, the commune has been heavily impacted by saltwater intrusion and droughts, which seriously affects farmers’ lives and impede efforts to cultivate red onion, a key commodity in the area. Local soils have become degraded, results in low productivity.

This Community-Based Adaptation project seeks to enhance local adaptive capacity to minimize the risks and impacts of droughts and saltwater intrusion, and prevent and limit soil degradation by adopting suitable red onion-based cultivation models. To do so, it will raise awareness and knowledge about the impacts of climate change, droughts and saltwater intrusion on local residents’ production and lives, and on the natural resources for agricultural production (i.e. soil, water, and agro-biodiversity). The project will also improve the community’s technical capacity to implement sustainable land management practices. Lessons learned will be gathered and disseminate for replication.

This project is part of Viet Nam's Community-Based Adaptation portfolio. *

Project details

Vinh Chau Commune is located in the east of Vinh Chau district, Viet Nam, 7 km from the district center. In 2008, the Commune’s population was 22,814 with 77% of residents identifying as Khmer. The average income per capita in Vinh Chau is around 10 million VND/a year, and the main source of community income is the crop rotation of rice and cereals (red onions, aromatic rice, other cereals, and fruit trees), which accounts for 50% of local income, while aquaculture (shrimps – rice) accounts for nearly 50%. Vinh Chau has unfavorable natural conditions due to increasing saltwater intrusion. The many surrounding canals have enabled the intrusion of seawater into the fields.

Soc Trang is one of the coastal provinces that suffer most from climate change. Unfavorable weather tends to occur more frequently and severely than before. Locals consider droughts and saltwater intrusion to be the two most frequent and destructive disasters. High tides—with their subsequent coastal and river erosion—and storms happen more often. Saltwater intrusion and droughts are big issues in the province because the increasing frequency and scale of these disasters is seriously affecting the local people’s lives and livelihoods.

Rice is the main crop in Cuu Long River Delta and is the main income source for the local communities. However, 0.7 million hectares of rice are affected by saltwater intrusion, especially in the dry season when saltwater intrusion seriously affects agriculture. The economic damage due to saltwater intrusion in 2005 was estimated at 45 million dollars, accounting for 1.5% of the annual crop yield of Cuu Long River Delta as whole, which typically produces over half of the country’s rice.

In coastal districts, rice can only be grown in the rainy season, and rice growth greatly depends upon precipitation. In general, there is not enough freshwater for irrigation in the beginning and in the end of the rainy season when saltwater (concentration of NaCl around 0.3%, 5dS/m) can enter the fields and either directly affect rice yields or increase the amount of salt in soil and affect the following harvests. Therefore, rice cultivation has to be carried out in the rainy season to avoid freshwater shortage and saltwater intrusion. Vegetables like red onions, turnips, chili, Japanese yams, etc. are also affected although they are grown in the dry season to reduce the amount of irrigation water in the harsh conditions of droughts and saltwater intrusion in Soc Trang.

This Community-Based Adaptation project will therefore design red onion-based cultivation demonstration models to showcase the high quality, productivity and economic values of crops in appropriate rotation models despite drought and saltwater intrusion effects. Experiments with familiar plants like red onions, rice, vegetables and cereals right on farmers’ fields are the most effective and rapid method for farmers to adapt. The project expects to select 2- 3 breeds that can be tolerant with droughts and salinization. In addition, the project will train farmers in sustainable land management through demonstration cultivation models to improve fertility, prevent soil degradation and maintain productivity and economic values of crops by applying advanced technologies and local people’s traditional knowledge.

Thematic areas: 
Climate-related hazards addressed: 
Level of intervention: 
Key collaborators: 
Primary beneficiaries: 
Farmers; Women; Local Authorities
Implementing agencies and partnering organizations: 
Women’s Union of Vinh Chau District
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
The GEF Small Grants Programme
Project status: 
Financing amount: 

Key results and outputs

Outcome 1: Raise awareness of and knowledge about climate change, droughts and saltwater intrusion, and the importance of sustainable management of natural resources (water, land and biodiversity) for agriculture development.

Produce a flier and panels about the demonstration models to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change (Output 1.1). Facilitate 3 talks and discussions about the impacts of climate change and ways to adapt to it with the participation of local authorities, related departments and the local people of Vinh Chau Commune (100 people) (Output 1.2).

Outcome 2: Improved technical ability of the community in sustainable land use, especially techniques for sustainable land management and degraded land due to droughts and salt water intrusion.

Hold 2 to 4 training workshops and on-the-field practice sessions about quick assessment of soil degradation in cultivation models of red onions – other vegetables – red onion and red onions – other vegetables – aromatic rice (Output 2.1). Create a diagram of salinity levels in subareas of the commune based on a crop rotation model (Output 2.2).

Outcome 3: 2 to 3 cultivating models suitable to the degraded, dry and salt-contaminated soil are chosen and experimented with.

Design demonstration fields of red onions – other vegetables – red onion and red onions – other vegetables – aromatic rice, with a diversity of red onions and other vegetables that can adapt to droughts and salt water intrusion (Output 3.1). Test a total of 200 hectares of intensive farming of red onions – other vegetables – red onion and red onions – other vegetables – aromatic rice (other vegetables being turnips, Japanese yams and chili) (Output 3.2). Organize about 6-8 training classes on the project models for 400 participants (Output 3.3).

Outcome 4: Monitor and assess the results of the project models, draw lessons learned and suggest appropriate and adaptable models in red onion-based cultivation crops

Hold community meetings and conferences (Output 4.1) and produce technical materials (Output 4.2) on the project’s tests and demonstrations. Form and train 2-3 groups of farmers to produce and provide seeds for the models of red onions – other vegetables – red onion and red onions – other vegetables – aromatic rice models (Output 4.3).

Reports and publications

Monitoring and evaluation

Project midterm and final evaluation is conducted in the middle and by the end of the project. The purpose of the evaluation is aimed at:

  • Evaluating the progress and extent of achieveing the project outputs and outcomes and objective
  • Evaluating the potential for project expansion and replication, making the recommendation about project sustainability and expansion and replication based on the project’s results.
  • Revising the project if necessary so as to best achieve the project objective.
  • Drawing experience and lessons learned in project management and project models.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of projects design and efficiency and effectiveness of using the project resources.

The content for evaluation is based on the objectives, outcomes and outputs, and success indicators stated in the project document. Participatory methods will be adopted on project monitoring and evaluation. To have information for project monitoring and evaluation, baseline data will be collected during the project inceptions.

The Vulnerability Reduction Assessment (VRA) will be measured at the planning stage of the project, at the mid-point, and at the end of project. Given that the VRA is qualitative and is based on the community perceptions, the first VRA was conducted to establish a baseline during the Project planning phase as described above. A second VRA will be done at mid project after all the project model building activities have been completed. A final VRA will be done at the end of the project to assess the overall impact of the project on the community adaptive capacity.

The VRA questions that will be used are as follows:

1. Rate the impact of climate change (droughts, saline water intrusion and land degradation) on your income in agriculture, especially on red onion cultivation

2. Rate your ability to cope with the negative impacts of climate change in your local context 3. Rate the impact on your livelihood if climate change impact doubles

4. Rate how effective you think this project will be in reducing your risks from increasing droughts, saline water intrusion and land degradation

5. Rate your confidence that the project will continue to reduce climate change risks after the project ends.

The Impact Assessment System (IAS) indicator will be measured at the end of the project using the following components:

1. The number of hectares applying the project techniques in sustainable land management to adapt to CC impact

2. The number of innovations developed/applied under the project

3. The number of policy recommendations proposed in environmental protection and sustainable land management for sustainable agriculture in the climate change context

The targets for the above are as follows:

1. 200 ha of land protected and prevented from land degradation.

2. Two (2) models will be tested by the project.

3. Three to four recommendations on policies in sustainable agriculture in the climate change context will be proposed to local authorities


CBA Project Management Unit