Institutional reforms and trade liberalisation along with the expansion of rice harvested area and the growing use of fertilisers and pesticides encouraged Vietnamese farmers to produce more rice, which led to increasingly higher yields and significant improvements in the country’s rural economy.

However, this trend is unlikely to continue. Vietnam has already started to experience a decrease in rice output and export volumes since 2010. The continuous emphasis on the intensification of rice production has resulted in environmental degradation and overexploitation of resources that together with urbanisation, climate change and high emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) have started to negatively affect rice productivity. For this reason, the Vietnamese government has already adopted several measures to spur a transition towards more sustainable rice farming practices where improvements in rice productivity and quality are pursued together with enhancements of environmental protection, farmers’ welfare and consumers’ food safety.

Yet, simply adopting public policy measures and engaging farmers may not be sufficient in catalysing the transformation needed.