The landscape of Son La province, an ILRI–Humidtropics project site (photo credit: VNUA/Ninh Xuan Trung).
A new report that explains how mixed (crop and livestock) farmers in Vietnam can raise their farm productivity and marketing practices to improve their livelihoods is now available.
The report identifies the challenges, such as farming in rugged, mountainous terrains with degraded and depleted soils that receive little rainfall, harsh environment and poor infrastructure, faced by smallholder farmers in Son La Province in the northwestern region of Vietnam. It also offers specific interventions they can use to improve maize, pig, plum and tea farming and marketing.
Funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics (Humidtropics), the exploratory value chain study was carried out by agricultural economists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Center for Agrarian Systems and Development (CASRAD) in collaboration with local Vietnamese partners.
The four commodities—maize, pig, plum and tea—play a critical role in improving smallholder farmers’ livelihoods, ensuring food and nutritional security and alleviating poverty. According to the report, a number of broad-ranging interventions could, however, boost the contribution of four commodities to the livelihoods of farmers in the province.
The researchers found linking upland farmers to markets as the main intervention, not only to increase their incomes but also to improve their market competitiveness. They also recommended supporting the vertical integration of value chain activities for the commodities.
Other interventions put forward by the researchers include improving inputs for production through improved varieties and breeds and services, improving food quality and safety, promoting environment-friendly technologies for sustainability, and supporting good governance and stronger rural institutions.
These interventions were based on consultations with smallholder farmers through a stakeholder workshop and a focus group discussion held in the province.
Download the project report.
This article is also posted on Humidtropics Virtual Community, a one-stop-shop for agricultural researchers and development professionals who have a keen interest in improving the livelihoods and living environment of people based on social and technical innovations at farm, institutional and landscape levels.