In Vietnam, the production of straw is increasing rapidly each year, while the demand for using straw as fuel is nearly nonexistent, and the demand for using straw as animal feed and composting is decreasing. As a result, most farmers opt for the quickest solution, which is burning it.
According to Mr. Tống Xuân Chinh, Deputy Director of the Livestock Department in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam generates a significant amount of straw waste, up to 47 million tons per year.
Among these, only about 30% of the straw waste is used for livestock purposes, while over 70% is burned. Burning straw not only wastes resources but also creates emissions that pollute the environment and cause soil hardening. As a result, on average, farmers waste 2-3 billion US dollars each year by burning straws.
This situation highlights the need for specific policies and technical guidance to manage and use straw in the direction of circular agriculture and low emissions.
Recently, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and relevant partners to implement technology solutions for high-quality and low-emission rice transformation in Vietnam. This includes organizing field demonstrations on mechanized precision sowing, circular agriculture-supporting technologies and equipment, such as a mechanized collection of dry straw and wet straw, and the production of organic fertilizers from straw.
According to the Department of Crop Production (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), the procedures and handbook for managing straw in the direction of circular agriculture and low emissions in the Mekong Delta will be published and launched. This will provide support for farmers, agricultural extension officers, cooperatives, research units, and those interested in rice production towards circularity and greenhouse gas reduction.
Additionally, recognizing the potential of straw in being recycled into green building materials, the Institute of Development and Applied Sound Materials (DASM) has collected straw samples and started researching this readily available agricultural by-product.
The initial research results show promising outcomes, in line with the expectations of DASM researchers. The research team has conducted decomposition, and fiber separation, and used hot pressing technology to create tightly bound straw panels. Depending on the purpose of use, such as acoustics, sound insulation, or thermal insulation, various chemicals, and construction materials will be added in appropriate proportions to enhance the effectiveness of the product.