Organic Smallholder Farming in Northwest Vietnam: A Case Study from Tan Lac District, Hoa Binh Province
This study asks whether organic vegetable production is a suitable alternative farming practice for conventional vegetable farmers in Tan Lac, a mountainous area in the North of Vietnam. The study is motivated by three questions: (1) who among the vegetable farmers in Tan Lac tended to switch to organic vegetable production? (2) is organic vegetable production profitable, compared with conventional production? And (3), what could be done to make organic vegetable production a more sustainable source of income and to help farmers switching to organic farming be more successful? These questions are answered using quantitative and qualitative data collected from a household survey conducted in 2017 that included 95 smallholder farmers. Focus group discussions and key-informant interviews were also used to learn about farming practices and challenges in the area. A series of regressions are used to examine whether organic vegetable production is more or less profitable than conventional vegetable production, and what characteristics are common among farmers who tend to be organic adopters. The results show that organic vegetable production in the study site is less profitable than conventional production. One hectare of organic vegetables is about 42 million dong (1840 USD) less profitable than one hectare of conventional vegetables. To help organic farmers in the study site become more successful, (i) farmers need to be aware not only of the benefits but also the challenges when going organic before making the switch; (ii) production sites must be carefully chosen; (iii) a marketing plan should be established when production plans are developed; and (iv) smallholder farmers need to cooperate when producing and selling organic vegetables.
Shively, Purdue University.
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