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Can traders help farmers transition towards more sustainable maize based farming systems? Evidence from the Lao-Vietnamese border

Yadav L.P., Smith D., Aziz A.A., Le Thuy C.T., Thao H.X., Le H.H., Nicetic O., Quyen L.N., Vagneron I.. 2021. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 19 (3-4) : p. 234-254.

DOI: 10.1080/14735903.2021.1901466

Intensive maize cultivation in the uplands of North-west Vietnam has resulted in soil erosion leading to reduced maize yields along with negative impacts downstream. Despite the introduction of sustainable agricultural technologies over many years, adoption rates are low mostly due to their incompatibility with existing farming systems and lack of secure markets for alternative crops. In addition, the temporary nature of development programmes and limited capacity of government extension systems have resulted in limited spread of technology, and where they have been introduced, unable to secure long-lasting commitments from farmers. In this study, we explore an alternative model involving maize value chain actors for attaining more durable transition towards sustainable maize farming systems. We find maize traders operating at lower levels of the value chain with active engagement with the farming community to be best suited for engaging in technology dissemination. While their involvement may require additional incentives and oversight from the government it is imperative that support for commercialization through promising market links are established to achieve a more meaningful shift towards sustainable farming methods.

Mots-clés : commerce agricole; système de culture; agriculture durable; adoption de l'innovation; durabilité; chaînes de valeur; zea mays; commercialisation; république démocratique populaire lao; viet nam

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