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The declining role of ethnicity in farm household differentiation : a case study from Ngoc Phai Commune, Cho Don District, Bac Kan Provience, Viet Nam

Castella Jean-Christophe, Tran Quoc Hoa, Husson Olivier, Vu Hai Nam, Dang Dinh Quang. 2002. The declining role of ethnicity in farm household differentiation : a case study from Ngoc Phai Commune, Cho Don District, Bac Kan Provience, Viet Nam. In : Doi Moi in the mountains : Land use changes and farmers' livelihood strategies in Bac Kan Province, Viet Nam. Castella Jean-Christophe (ed.), Dang Dinh Quang (ed.). Hanoï : The Agricultural Publishing House, pp. 47-71.

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Abstract : Farming has changed dramatically over the last fifty years in Ngoc Phai Commune, as in all of Bac Kan Province. Historically, ethnicity has long been the key determinant of access to land in northern Viet Nam uplands, and thus the determinant of farmers' agricultural practices. However, major external policy changes have periodically altered the environment in which farmers plan their livelihood strategies. Agricultural cooperatives were established throughout the country in the 1960.'s, and then dismantled some twenty years later, returning the land to individual family farms. During the cooperative period, all ethnic groups contributed to the intensification of paddyland productivity, thereby limiting agricultural pressure on the uplands. Nonetheless, rice production was not sufficient to cover food needs because of management problems in the cooperatives. Therefore, upland rice production became indispensable to meet the deficit in paddyland production. In the 1990s, the allocation first of paddyfields and later of uplands helped to slow the deterioration of the mountain ecosystem. However, the local reinterpretations of national land polities resulted in further inequalities, placing certain ethnic groups into extreme poverty and food insecurity. Tay farmers who could reclaim ancestral paddy lands were often privileged over the Dao, who traditionally had been shifting cultivators and thus were forced to return to slash-and-burn cultivation systems that were no longer sustainable under higher population pressure and a new institutional environment. Ethnicity was a major determinant of livelihood strategy in the past, and contributed greatly to the household differentiation that exists at present. However, distinctions among livelihood strategies can no longer be drawn along ethnic lines. Farmers of all ethnicities share the goal of attaining food security through paddyland rice production. Farmers who lack paddyland fields, whether Tay or Dao, are turning to shifting cultivation on the hillsides. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Politique agricole, Politique foncière, Agriculteur, Groupe éthnique, Riz pluvial, Culture de moyenne altitude, sécurité alimentaire, Système de culture, Agriculture de montagne, Système d'exploitation agricole

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Viet Nam

Classification Agris : E10 - Agricultural economics and policies
E11 - Land economics and policies
F08 - Cropping patterns and systems

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