Technical and environmental efficiency of eco-friendly rice production in the upstream region of the Vietnamese Mekong delta

  • Vo Hong Tu
  • Nguyen Duy Can
  • Yoshifumi Takahashi
  • Steven W. Kopp
  • Mitsuyasu Yabe


Although public policy makers, farmers, and agricultural experts have invested considerable efforts to promote environmentally friendly rice production methods, the adoption of these practices is quite low in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. One explanation for this is an underestimation of the environmental and economic values of these practices. The present study aimed at estimating environmental and technical efficiencies for all methods of rice production and then comparing each method in terms of efficiencies and economic benefits. Survey data included responses from farmers who used either eco-friendly or conventional rice cultivation methods. Latent class stochastic frontier analysis shows that the average technical efficiency across all methods was 85.02% and environmental efficiency across all methods was 22.58%. Among individual methods, floating rice had the highest technical and environmental efficiency scores. Ecologically engineered rice had the lowest economic and environmental performance. The average environmental efficiency of conventional rice production was 16.25%, which is significantly higher than that of ecologically engineered rice, large-scale rice, and GlobalGAP rice. The results indicate considerable overuse of agrochemical inputs and also point to other specific factors of production that influence these efficiencies. Several public policy and agricultural management recommendations are derived from the study.


Environmental efficiency Latent class stochastic frontier analysis Rice farming Sustainable agriculture 



We would like to express our deep gratitude to all farmers in the study sites who provided valuable information for this study. We are also thankful to the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on the manuscript. This study (ID number R11616) was funded by RONPAKU, JSPS.

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Rural Socio-Economics, College of Rural DevelopmentCan Tho UniversityCan ThoVietnam
  2. 2.Laboratory of Environmental Economics, Division of International Agricultural Resource Economics and Business Administration, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Faculty of AgricultureKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Marketing, Sam M. Walton, College of BusinessUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA

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