CURRENT SITUATION OF CASSAVA IN VIETNAM AND ITS POTENTIAL AS A BIOFUEL
Cassava in Vietnam is among the four most important food crops. Cassava now an important source of cash income to small farmers. In 2008, cassava fresh root production in Vietnam was about 9.39 million tones, up from only 1.99 million tones in 2000 and marked increases in yield, from 8.36 t/ha in 2000 to 16.90 t/ha in 2008.
There are now 60 cassava processing factories in operation with a total processing capacity of 3.2 - 4.8 million tones of fresh roots/year. Total cassava starch production in Vietnam was about 0.8 -1.2 million tones, of which 70% was exported and 30% used domestically.
Vietnam has developed an E10 policy requiring the production of 100 to 150 million liters per year. Petrovietnam plans to build three tapioca-based ethanol plants in the northern (Phu Tho), central (Quang Ngai) and southern Vietnam (Binh Phuoc). Each costing $80 million which will use cassava as feedstock, is expected to open in 18 months with total annual capacity of 300 million liters per year. The first and second of which is already under construction in Phu Tho and Quang Ngai. The third plant will begin in Binh Phuoc in March next year and is due to be completed at the end of 2011.
Vietnam is now probably the second largest exporter of cassava products (chip and starch), after Thailand. Major markets of Vietnam’s cassava exports are China and Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and countries in Eastern Europe. Besides, animal feed factories also contributed significantly to the increasing demand for cassava roots. Although in Vietnam cassava processing is a relatively new business and export volumes are still low, the cassava processing factories are new and modern. That is why Vietnam’s cassava products may have a competitive advantage in the world market.
CASSAVA BREEDING AND VARIETAL ADOPTION IN VIETNAM
Vietnam has made the fastest progress in application of new technologies in breeding and new cultivar propagation in Asia. Such progress has been considered as a result of many factors, of which the success in breeding and application of new technologies were the main contributing factors. Cassava yields and production in several provinces have more than doubled due to the planting of new high-yielding cassava varieties in about 420,000 ha, mainly KM94, KM140, KM98-5, KM98-1, SM937-26, KM98-7 varieties, and the adoption of more sustainable production practices.
Since 2001-2007, a total of 24,073 cassava sexual seeds from CIAT and 37,210 seeds from 9-15 cross combinations made in Vietnam, 38 breeding lines (mainly from Thailand), and 31 local farmers’ varieties, have been planted. Of these, 98 of the best lines are now in the final stages of the selection process, and one of the most promising, KM140, has recently been released in 2007.
CASSAVA IN VIETNAM A SUCCESSFUEL STORY
In September 1988, Dr. Kazuo Kawano (CIAT cassava breeder) and Dr. Reinhardt Howeler (agronomist), both working at the CIAT Cassava Office for Asia in Bangkok, visited Institute of Agricultural Science for Southern Vietnam (IAS) in Ho Chi Minh city. They discussed with Dr. Tran The Thong, Director, Dr. Mai Van Quyen, Deputy Director of IAS, and Mr. Hoang Kim (Director of Hung Loc Agricultural Research Center belong to IAS), possible future collaboration. They also visited Hung Loc Center and cassava growing areas in Dong Nai and Tay Ninh provinces.
In May 1989, Dr. Kawano and Howeler visited IAS in HCM city again as well as the Department. of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Agriculture in Hanoi. They discussed with Mr. Nguyen Ich Chuong possible cooperation between CIAT and various Vietnamese institutions. They also visited the Food Crops Research Center in Hai Hung (up to now in Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Science – VAAS) and some cassava growing areas in Chi Linh district. During a subsequent visit in Octorber 1989, Mr. Nguyen Ich Chuong requested CIAT to coordinate a comprehensive national survey on cassava production and usage. Cassava breeding and agronomy trials in collaboration with CIAT were initiated in Hung Loc Center in 1989 and in Thai Nguyen University in 1990.
The cassava production, processing and marketing survey was conducted in 45 districts of 20 provinces from 1990 to 1992, in collaboration with VASI, Thai Nguyen University., IAS and Nong Lam University. A total of 1,117 households were interviewed. This culminated in a Workshop, held in Hanoi from Octorber 29-31, 1992. The Proceedings of this Workshop with all the survey data was published by CIAT in 1996.
Cassava Breeding and Varietal Improvement
Before CIAT collaboration was initiated in 1988, a total of 24 local cassava varieties had been collected and evaluated at Hung Loc Center. In year 1987, three cassava varieties HL20, HL23 and HL24 were selected from local cassava collections and released by HARC and they were grown in about 70,000 ha in South Vietnam. In 1989, 16 Thai varieties and promising lines were introduced in the form of stem cuttings. These were evaluated in Hung Loc Center starting in 1989, in Thai Nguyen Univ. in 1990 and in VASI in 1991. In addition, large numbers of sexual seeds were introduced yearly from Thailand and Colombia. From 1989 to 2008 a total of 139,598 seeds were introduced by CIAT. These were germinated by Vietnamese cassava breeders and the resulting plants were evaluated through many cycles of selection.
During the period of 1993-2008, nine new cassava varieties, namely KM 60, KM 94, SM937-26, KM 95, KM 95-3, KM 98-1, KM98-5, KM140 and KM98-7 had been released. KM 60 and KM 94 are basically Thai varieties (KM60 = Rayong 60 =MCol 1684 x Rayong 1 ; KM94= KU50= R1xR90 = MKUC28-77-3) , while the other seven are Vietnamese selections from sexual seed from either Thailand (KM 98-1 = Rayong 72 = Rayong 1 x Rayong 5) or Colombia. (SM937-26, KM95-3 = SM1157-3; KM98-7=SM17-17-12 or Vietnam (KM98-5 = Rayong 90 x KM98-1; KM140 = KM36 x KM98-1). All are crosses with Latin American germplasm introduced by CIAT.
A recent survey indicates that in 2007/08 about 420,000 ha, or 75% of the cassava area in Vietnam, were planted with these new varieties, principally KM 94. It was estimated by Hoang Kim, Nguyen Van Bo, Reinhardt Howeler and Hernan Ceballos 2008, that the planting of these new varieties will increase farmer’s gross income by 3.00 – 9.00 millions dong per ha (meaning 6.00 millions dong per ha) as compared to the traditional varieties. In 420,000 ha this would correspond to an increased farm level income of 2,520 billion dong or 140 million US dollars per year.
Cassava Agronomy and Soil Management
Cassava agronomy research in collaboration with CIAT commenced in Hung Loc Center in 1989, and in Thai Nguyen University in 1990. This included research on agronomic practices, such as planting distance, weed control, date of planting and intercropping, but it focused mostly on soil fertility maintenance, by the use of chemical fertilizers and animal or green manures, and on erosion control. Long-term fertility trials using chemical fertilizers have now completed 19 years of continuous cropping at Hung Loc Center as well as at Thai Nguyen University. Both these experiments highlight the importance of annual applications of N and K, with much less need for P. In the 12th year, the annual application of well-balanced fertilizers increased the average yield of two varieties from 3.19 to 23.1 t/ha in Thai Nguyen Univ., and from 11.3 to 29.7 t/ha in Hung Loc Center. A long-term green manure experiment conducted at Hung Loc Center indicates that in the 10th year the alley cropping system with Leucaena leucocephala or Gliricidia sepium could nearly double yields, from 12.10 to 21.45 t/ha, as compared to the check plot without green manure.
Numerous erosion control experiments conducted in Hung Loc Center and at Thai Nguyen University indicate that soil erosion can be markedly reduced by the planting of contour hedgerows of Tephrosia candida, Paspalum atratum, vetiver grass or pineapple, as well as by contour ridging, intercropping, closer plant spacing and balanced fertilization. A combination of these practices will often reduce erosion to less than 10% of that obtained using the traditional farmer’s practice.
Farmer Participatory Research
In 1994 CIAT obtained funding from the Nippon Foundation in Japan for a new project that had as the main objective to increase the adoption of more sustainable cassava production practices in Vietnam, Thailand, China and Indonesia. This was to be achieved through the use of various farmer participatory research (FPR) and extension (FPE) methodologies. Vietnamese researchers, extensionists and key cassava farmers received training in this new approach (see below). During the first phase (1994-1998) the project was executed in collaboration with scientists of Thai Nguyen University (TNU) and the National Institute of Soils and Fertilizers (NISF), and focused on two sites in Pho Yen district of Thai Nguyen province, and in one site each in Thanh Ba district of Phu Tho and in Luong Son district of Hoa Binh province.
In the second phase (1999-2003) the project quickly expanded to a total of 25 sites in 15 districts of 11 provinces, in collaboration with VASI, Hue University, IAS and Nong Lam University (NLU), in addition to TNU and NISF. In all these sites farmers were encouraged to conduct simple experiments on their own fields with the help of researchers or local extensionists on such topics as new varieties, balanced fertilization, erosion control, intercropping, weed control, as well as pig feeding trials using both cassava roots and leaves. In 2002 a total of 169 such FPR trials were being conducted in 25 sites in 15 districts of 11 provinces. A survey in these sites in 2002 indicated that a total of nearly 5000 farmers had adopted some or all of the improved practices in 1,411 ha of their fields, resulting in an increased income of 4,116 mil. dong or US$ 274,400. Many more farmers outside the 25 sites also benefited from the project after learning about the new technologies from extension workers, neighboring farmers, farmer field days, newspaper articles, TV programs etc.
Vietnamese researchers, extension workers and farmers trained in cassava research, cultivation practices and FPR. Since 1989 a total of 231 Vietnamese received training through various CIAT projects. In addition, three Vietnamese participated in the Regional Cassava Workshop in Indonesia in 1990, four in India in 1993, 11 in China in 1996, 25 in HCM city in 2000 and 17 in Thailand in 2002.
Vietnam Cassava Research and Extension Network
In 1991 a Vietnam Cassava Research and Extension Network was established with participation of researchers from institutions working on cassava, as well as extensionist from provinces with large cassava growing areas. Workshops have been held annually in different parts of Vietnam since 1996, usually with participation of CIAT scientists, to review the results of the previous year and to plan new activities for the coming year. This network has greatly contributed to the rapid spread of new varieties and improved cultivation practices in Vietnam, and this has indirectly contributed to the change of cassava from a poor man’s food crop to an important industrial crop for production of animal feed, starch and starch derived products, as well as for export.
On March 4, 1997, both Dr. Kawano and Dr. Howeler were presented with a medal in the name of the Government of Vietnam, by Mr. Nguyen Gioi, Vice-Minister of Agriculture, for their contributions to agriculture in Vietnam.
Key persons of VNCP & CIAT
Dr. Nguyen Van Bo firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Hernan Ceballos email@example.com
Dr. Rod Lefroy firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Kazuo Kawano Ke.Kawano@mist.ocn.ne.jp
Dr. Reinhardt Howeler email@example.com
Dr. Bui Chi Buu firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Tran Ngoc Ngoan email@example.com
Dr. Hoang Kim firstname.lastname@example.org
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