This Friday (November 5, 2010) I’m off to Vietnam on a fact-finding field trip. My journey begins in Ho Chi Minh city where we set off to Can Tho, the main city of the Mekong Delta. From here we will visit the Soc Trang Province where I’ll be meeting growers and dealers in rice and finding out how technology has helped boost yields of existing agricultural land.

In 20 years Vietnam has gone from being a net importer of rice to the world’s second biggest exporter and is leading the way in productivity. I’ll be looking at the drivers behind this, how it has been achieved and considering what this could mean food and water security. I’ll also be considering what other emerging markets,like those Africa where rice is fast becoming a major staple crop, can learn from a country like Vietnam.

From the Mekong Delta in the south-east I’ll be heading North to the Red River Delta for a vegetable seed demonstration with farmers present. My trip culminates at the International Rice Congress in Hanoi, where with any luck, I’ll be have a chance to meet and talk to scientists, businesses and policy makers.

With food security right back at centre of the development debate and with climate change, the depletion of natural resources – especially water – and the world population forecast to swell by 2 billion within 40 years, this is no time to be complacent. I’ll be blogging while I am away, and hope to take some interesting photographs, so watch this space for details…

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