IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Agriculture Diversification in the Mekong Delta: Farmers' Motives and Contributions to Livelihoods


  • Roel H. Bosma

    () (Wageningen University, The Netherlands)

  • Cao Quoc Nam

    () (Can Tho University, Vietnam)

  • Henk M.J. Udo

    () (Wageningen University, The Netherlands)

  • Johan A.J. Verreth

    () (Wageningen University, The Netherlands)

  • Leontine E. Visser

    () (Wageningen University and Research Centre, The Netherlands)


Although specialization is the global trend in agriculture, integrated farming systems have emerged in Vietnam. An important motive was the desire to improve the livelihoods and the diet of the nuclear families; this was evident in the analysis using the household life cycle of five phases. Off-farm diversification was especially important for a new household. At the onset of expansion, the new mothers replaced off-farm with homebound activities. During expansion the farmers increased virtual farm size by keeping more livestock; during accumulation they invested in land or education, and during consolidation old couples adjusted farm activities to their labor capacity. Livestock, including fish, was essential for livelihood. The distribution of goats instead of cattle by credit or by "passing-on-the-gift" was far more effective for poverty alleviation. Technological innovations on the cultivation of rice and fruits, and the breeding of fish were essential for change. The improved food security and reduced cash income from rice after the 1986 reforms pushed farmers to take risks. The farm area and number of component farm activities providing cash determined the level of cash income from agriculture. Farms with at least four flows of biomass between components earned more, demonstrating that real integration improved profits. A minimum area of land in, or close to, the homestead, and know-how are required for an effective integration of components.

Suggested Citation

  • Roel H. Bosma & Cao Quoc Nam & Henk M.J. Udo & Johan A.J. Verreth & Leontine E. Visser, 2005. "Agriculture Diversification in the Mekong Delta: Farmers' Motives and Contributions to Livelihoods," Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), vol. 2(1&2), pages 49-66, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sag:seajad:v:2:y:2005:i:1&2:p:49-66

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sag:seajad:v:2:y:2005:i:1&2:p:49-66. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mariliza V. Ticsay). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.