Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Land reforms and poverty in the mountains of Viet-Nam

04.09.2006
In a context of declining agricultural productivity and food shortage, the economic reforms undertaken at the end of the 1980s in Viet-Nam were accompanied by a rapid transition from collective agriculture towards small-scale family farming.

The State, officially the owner of all land, allocated to each family a right of use on rice-growing land and then on forest land. One of the objectives of this land reform was to settle farmers who hitherto still practised shifting slash-and burn culture. The State put forward their responsibility in the destruction of the forests and the social insecurity associated with their way of life to encourage these peasant farmers to develop crops more remunerative and more respectful of the environment.

The reform, an instrument of agricultural policy, also aimed for a system of regional specialization of agriculture: the irrigated plains and deltas being given over to intensive rice production whereas forestry and stock-rearing were encouraged in mountain areas.

Since 1998, researchers on the project ‘Système Agraire de Montagnes’ (2), in partnership with authorities in Viet-Nam and international NGOs, have contributed to the identification, adaptation and diffusion of productive, ecologically viable cultivation systems, and are harnessing their efforts to understand the agricultural and environmental dynamics involved. The team of Jean-Christophe Castella, IRD geographer-agronomist, has analysed the impact of this land reform on the changes and developments in land use in four mountain villages in the province of Bac Kan, in the North of Viet Nam.

The farmers who have enough rice-fields to cover their family’s needs have not changed their production methods and try to gain extra income by means of fruit-tree plantations or stock-rearing. The others, who are not self-sufficient in rice, have been severely affected by a reform which leaves them no alternative but to cease abruptly the slash-and-burn culture their short-term food security depended on. Their forced settlement results from the impossibility of maintaining their former production methods owing to the sudden restriction on their living space.

These farmers react to this crisis situation by multiplying productive activities geared to generating supplementary income. However, this search for alternatives to slash-and-burn techniques can prove to be long and difficult in economic terms and is sometimes done to the detriment of forest resources. These farmers are then caught in the spiral of poverty. Many of them have joined and swelled the migratory flows heading for the mountains in the centre of Viet-Nam. Between 1991 and 1996, 1.5 million persons have thus migrated, shifting the process of deforestation from the North towards the South of the country.

The positive effects of the land reform on forest regeneration support the arguments in favour of individual property rights. The transfer of responsibilities to an individual is presumed to carry an incentive to make rational use of the land and to protect resources seeing that he reaps the benefit but also has to bear the possible costs associated with degradation.

Unprecedented economic growth and a reversal of the deforestation process have been concomitant with this policy. In effect, after a deforestation that was diffuse in character and difficult to control, forest regeneration developed in the space of a few years over large geographical areas. Nevertheless, the direct link with the land policy has not been demonstrated and in several cases, this tendency preceded its application. Field research showed that the land allocation finally reinforced most of the rice farmers in the customary rights they already possessed.

The forest regeneration would in any case have taken place owing to the combined action of three factors: intensification of agriculture in the low-lying rice-growing areas, extension of land clearance up to the limits of arable land and government forest-planting programmes. The former itinerant farmers, now restricted to a village territory too small for guaranteeing the durability of slash-and-burn culture systems, destroy the local forest cover or migrate to new pioneer fronts. The solution to an environmental problem has contributed to the emergence of poverty. It is now essential to come to the aid of populations marginalized by land reform in order to avoid local degradation of living standards and resources, and the possible transfer of such problems to other places by migration.

Marie Guillaume | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ird.fr/fr/actualites/fiches/2006/fas246.pdf

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>