Providing the knowledge and equipment needed to collect the data to monitor salinity was the focus of recent workshops by Graham Centre scientists in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.
Recently a project in Vietnam supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and led by Graham Centre Senior Research Fellow (Soils) Jason Condon, identified an urgent need to support Vietnamese Agricultural Department staff to build capacity to measure and monitor soil salinity in the Mekong Delta.
“Soil salinity is becoming an increasingly significant risk for farmers in the Delta due to salinity intrusion from the ocean as sea levels rise and river flows decrease,” Dr Condon said.
With financial support from the NSW and WA committees of the Crawford Fund an Australian training team travelled to Vietnam in March to conducted training workshops in four provinces of the Delta.
Graham Centre members Jason Condon, Charles Sturt and NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Charles Sturt PhD candidate Brooke Kaveney, Dr Susan Orgill and Dr Rajneet Uppal NSW DPI shared their expertise, along with Murdoch University salinity specialist Associate Professor Ed Barrett-Lennard.
“We worked with long term collaborators from Can Tho University to train 145 staff, advisors and leading farmers,” Dr Condon said.
“The workshops covered the effects of salinity on plants, possible soil management to mitigate salinity, measurement of soil salinity and the use of an app to georeference and log salinity data.
“Importantly the training participants were allocated the equipment to record data from their farmers’ fields so that the problem of salinity can be monitored and managed.”
This training was a pilot of a larger training program which will be part of a new ACIAR project led by the Graham Centre in Vietnam.