The International Livestock Research Institute recently published a ‘situational analysis of agricultural production and marketing, and natural resources management systems in northwest Vietnam’ for the Humidtropics CGIAR research program.
The situation analysis is a starting point for the program’s work in one of the four geographical ‘Action Area Flagships’ where innovations are tested to meet the challenges of stakeholders. It paints a comprehensive and broad picture of the current systems that are key to tackling the problems faced in the target field sites.
For the northwest Vietnam action site, the report aims to characterize broadly all important system aspects that are relevant to the Program within the target Action Sites. It also harnesses the various partner skills and experiences to develop a common and shared understanding of the issues that need to be addressed and potential solutions, particularly between international and national partners, allowing local and global expertise to play complementary roles. Finally, it helps initiate and facilitate engagement with stakeholders and partners as part of the R4D platform development that is needed for the long-term success and scalability of the Program.
In the Central Mekong Action Area, Humidtropics focuses on concerns that emerged from stakeholder consultations during the program’s development.
First, there is low or decreased productivity of smallholder farmers who practice maize monocropping, grow potato and banana, engage in homestead production of livestock and vegetables, and other products.
Second, smallholder farmers in the region continue to have little access to markets and have relatively insignificant influence on value chains. This is mainly because farmers (including women and ethnic minorities) have little institutional power.
Third, total farm income remains relatively low. In addition, environmental impacts are increasing in areas where farming practices are intensifying to boost yields. High chemical inputs and unsustainable farming practices have contributed to land degradation, soil erosion, decreased soil fertility and loss of natural forest ecosystems, thereby increasing the vulnerability of poor people.
Finally, household characteristics such as income, education and asset ownership may not effectively influence household well-being due to gender disparities and cultural norms that influence decision-making at the household level.
Concentrating on the major farming systems in the Northwest Vietnam Action Site, Humidtropics research is considering potential interventions that have been developed during the early stakeholder consultations process, but will still be subjected to the evidence gathered. These include integrated livestock systems, improved tree–crop systems (e.g., ‘green rubber’, shade coffee and more), improved rice production systems, conservation agriculture and sustainable food crop/multicrop systems (e.g., improved cassava-based and banana-based systems, maize/agroforestry-based production), among others.
The Northwest Vietnam Action Site is part of the larger Central Mekong Action Area that comprises several parts of Vietnam, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Thailand, and China. It is considered part of the Green Triangle zone of mostly upland mixed systems occurring in northwest Vietnam and southern China.