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Agricultural Commercialization in the Uplands of Northern Vietnam: How to Achieve Both Poverty Reduction and Environmental Sustainability Goals?

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  • Keil, Alwin
  • Saint-Macary, Camille
  • Zeller, Manfred

Abstract

Income growth and urbanization in developing countries have enlarged markets for highvalue agricultural commodities. However, there are concerns that lacking access to physical, financial, and human capital, as well as infrastructure and institutions limit the ability of the poor to participate in and benefit from such commercial agricultural activities. There may further be a trade-off between wealth enhancing effects of intensive commercial agriculture and adverse long-term effects on farmers’ livelihoods due to natural resource degradation. This study provides empirical evidence on these crucial issues and derives related policy recommendations using the example of Vietnam. Here, economic growth has boosted the demand for animal products and, consequently, commercial maize production for animal feed purposes especially in erosion-prone upland areas. Using data from mountainous Yen Chau district in north-western Vietnam, the main objective of this paper is to investigate the degree of farmers’ engagement in commercial maize production and the determinants of their land allocation decision, whereby a special focus is laid on the poorest farm households. We find that maize covers most of the sloping uplands and generates the lion’s share of farmers’ cash income. The poorest farmers are particularly specialized in commercial maize production, but they are highly dependent on relatively disadvantageous input supply and marketing arrangements offered by maize traders. Although farmers in all wealth groups are well aware of soil erosion, effective soil conservation measures are rarely practiced. Due to the trade-off between short-term wealth enhancing effects of maize production and lacking sustainability we propose a two-pronged policy approach that comprises (1) measures aimed at enhancing the short-term profitability of maize production for the poorest farmers while reducing the associated market related risks and (2) measures aimed at enhancing both the economic and ecological sustainability of land use in the long run through the promotion of economically attractive soil conservation options that may gradually evolve into a more diversified land use system.Einkommenswachstum und zunehmende Verstädterung in Entwicklungsländern haben zu einer Ausweitung von Märkten für hochwertige Agrarprodukte geführt. Es gibt jedoch Bedenken, dass die Armen in ihrer Möglichkeit an derartigen kommerziellen landwirtschaftlichen Aktivitäten teilzunehmen und von ihnen zu profitieren durch mangelnden Zugang zu physischem, finanziellen und Humankapital, sowie Infrastruktur und Institutionen beschränkt sind. Zudem mögen die wohlfahrtssteigernden Effekte intensiver kommerzieller Landwirtschaft mit durch Degradierung natürlicher Ressourcen hervorgerufenen negativen Langzeitwirkungen auf die Existenzgrundlage von Kleinbauern konfligieren. Die vorliegende Studie liefert empirische Erkenntnisse zu diesen wichtigen Fragen am Beispiel von Vietnam und leitet entsprechende Politikempfehlungen ab. In Vietnam beflügelt Wirtschaftswachstum die Nachfrage nach Tierprodukten und damit den 2 kommerziellen Maisanbau zu Futterzwecken vor allem in erosionsanfälligen Bergregionen. Das Hauptziel dieses Aufsatzes ist es anhand von Daten aus dem bergigen Distrikt Yen Chau in Nordwestvietnam zu untersuchen, in welchem Umfang die dortigen Bauern kommerziellen Maisanbau betreiben und welche Faktoren sie bei ihrer Landallokationsentscheidung beeinflussen, wobei spezielles Augenmerk auf die ärmsten bäuerlichen Haushalte gelegt wird. Unsere Ergebnisse zeigen, dass Mais auf einem Großteil der Hanglagen angebaut wird und den Löwenanteil der bäuerlichen Bareinkommen generiert. Die ärmsten Bauern sind in besonderem Maße auf den kommerziellen Maisanbau spezialisiert, sie hängen jedoch stark von relativ nachteiligen Vereinbarungen mit Maishändlern für die Bereitstellung von Inputs und der Vermarktung ab. Obwohl Bauern aller Einkommensschichten sich der auftretenden Bodenerosion sehr wohl bewusst sind, werden effektive Bodenschutzmaßnahmen kaum praktiziert. Aufgrund des Zielkonfliktes zwischen dem kurzfristigen, wohlfahrtssteigernden Effekt der Maisproduktion und ihrer mangelnden Nachhaltigkeit plädieren wir für einen zweigleisigen Politikansatz. Dieser umfasst (1) Maßnahmen, die die kurzfristige Rentabilität des Maisanbaus für die ärmsten Bauern erhöhen, während gleichzeitig Marktrisiken vermindert werden, und (2) Maßnahmen, die die ökonomische und ökologische Nachhaltigkeit der Landnutzung langfristig durch die Förderung wirtschaftlich attraktiver Bodenschutzoptionen erhöhen, die sich schrittweise zu einem diversifizierteren Landnutzungssystem weiterentwickeln könnten.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA) in its series 51st Annual Conference, Halle, Germany, September 28-30, 2011 with number 114487.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ags:gewi11:114487

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Keywords: Agricultural commercialization; maize cultivation; sustainability; Tobit regression; Vietnam; Landwirtschaftliche Kommerzialisierung; Maisanbau; Nachhaltigkeit; Tobit-Regression; Vietnam; Agribusiness;

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