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Vietnam’s Informal Farmers’ Groups: Narratives and Policy Implications


  • Adam J. Fforde


The paper reports research on IFGs in Vietnam. It argues that these emerged into rural society from the early 1990s as the power of official cooperatives waned, and by the mid 2000s were an important part of farmers’ institutional capacity. As such, they generated a group of social leaders in the rural areas who were identifiable, experienced and outside the official structures, including the official cooperatives, whose leadership positions were part of the Leninist system carried over by the ruling Communist Party from the days of the planned economy. The paper reports on three research projects covering aspects of this situation covering the period from the mid 1990s to the mid 2000s. It argues that, for reasons not fully understood, donors have ignored these community-based organisations and, whether official agencies or INGOs, have operated with official structures in ways that contradict professional standards of aid as well as their corporate commitments to participatory and community-based methods. The report notes that a minority of Vietnamese officials appear to have supported farmers’ informal organisations in various ways, especially at local level. Thus the growth of Vietnamese informal farmers’ groups, which had become substantial by the closing years of the 2000s, had taken place despite policy opposition at national level and lack of support from donors and the Vietnamese authorities. Nevertheless, there were signs at the end of the 2000s that donors were increasingly frustrated by the contradictions implied by their position, and that Vietnamese national policy was perhaps changing to improve the situation facing informal farmers’ groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam J. Fforde, 2008. "Vietnam’s Informal Farmers’ Groups: Narratives and Policy Implications," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 27(1), pages 3-36.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:soaktu:v:27:y:2008:i:1:p:3-36

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    Cited by:

    1. Benedikter, Simon & Waibel, Gabi, 2013. "The formation of water user groups in a nexus of central directives and local administration in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam," MPRA Paper 49468, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Adam J. Fforde, 2009. "Luck, Policy or Something Else Entirely? Vietnam’s Economic Performance in 2009 and Prospects for 2010," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 28(4), pages 71-94.

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