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Back to Nature-Based Agriculture: Green Livelihoods are Taking Root in the Mekong River Delta

Updated: Mar 31

New research article by Dr. Nguyễn Văn Kiền, Senior Research Associate at Health and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (HAPRI) in Journal of People, Plants, and Environment, 2021.

Lan, N. T. P., & Nguyen, V. K. (2021). "Back to Nature-Based Agriculture: Green Livelihoods Are Taking Root in the Mekong River Delta." Journal of People, Plants, and Environment, 24(6), 551-561.

Key words: eco-agriculture, organic agriculture, sustainability, traditional agriculture, Vietnam

Background and objective: Vietnam is prioritizing agricultural production for food export capacity in all national policies. As a result, for three decades, its agriculture has been making quite many remarkable achievements.

Methods: The most successful one is that the nation has become one of the world’s leading rice exporters and ensures its national food security. Through these endeavors, the Mekong River Delta (MRD), in particular, has emerged as a key region in ensuring national food security and rice export.

Results: The new era can now see Vietnamese agriculture turning to place special emphasis on commodity quality and the improvement of the living environment. This is evidenced, for example, by the phenomenon that the MRD, as a rice basket of the whole country, is making moves back to nature-based agriculture with attempts to restore the natural ecology, including preserving and restoring local traditional rice seeds, adopting natural farming practices and minimizing the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Conclusion: The case studies of nature-based farming practices in the MRD indicate that, while the national agriculture is generally developing large-scale production, the small-scale farming in the region, integrated with tourist and educational activities on-site, is meeting the demands of a highly potential domestic niche market. Moreover, this model appears to be a sustainable farming approach that defines itself as a working green livelihood for the region.

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