Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Vietnam: Social networking to deliver technologies to poor farmers

Farmers in the mountainous region of northern Vietnam have limited access to new varieties and management options. Considered the poorest among the poor, these farmers are the target communities of the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE).  CURE continuously develops and validates rice varieties and management options and mechanisms to be shared in the poor communities and, ultimately, to reduce poverty and raise productivity in these complex, diverse, and risky environments.

CURE coordinator Digna Manzanilla and assistant scientist Annette Tobias conducted focus group discussions (FGDs) and key informant interviews with tribal communities in the four rice-producing communes (Phu Nham, Tu Le, Nam Bung, and Suoi Giang) in the mountainous region of North Vietnam. CURE aims to get insights on their social capital and networks to help design technology delivery strategies for the target communities. Initial FGD results identified the critical role of the commune leader trained together with the village leader and the oldest man in the village (called gia lang). The leader and the oldest man in the village then share  the information to the households.

A team, led by Valerien Pede, an agricultural economist from the Social Sciences Division, will conduct a more in-depth study using spatial econometrics and qualitative research methods to analyze the nature and information flow of the social network. This will contribute to the design of technology delivery in hard-to-reach and resource-poor rice-farming communities in Vietnam and Laos.
Social network analysis aims to assess the actors, groups, nodes of information sharing, and the implications of neighborhood influence on direct and spillover benefits from adopting  new varieties and cropping practices. This activity is in line with the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) goal of contributing to raise productivity and ensure food security in upland communities, including women farmers.

IFAD is funding the CURE  project, Reducing risks and raising rice livelihoods in Southeast Asia through the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE 2). The project is in collaboration with the Northern Mountainous Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute in Vietnam and the Northern Agriculture and Forestry Research Center in Laos.

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