In the uplands of Vietnam, mainstream agricultural interventions for supporting ethnic minorities have focused on the delivery of agricultural extension services and new technologies to close the technology gap between the Kinh ethnic majority and the ethnic minorities. However, these interventions tend to resonate with the interests and capacities of men who are better off, as adaptation of modern technologies often require scientific knowledge, financial investment, and experience of interactions with outsiders such as traders and extension workers. As a first step to design tailor-made agricultural interventions that fit well with the marginalized men’s and women’s interests and capacities, two case studies were undertaken in Northern Vietnam, focusing on a Dao ethnic group in Yen Bai and a Thai ethnic group in Dien Bien, respectively. The studies explore gendered ethnic identities, innovation processes and risk-taking behaviours and discuss their implications for agricultural interventions.
The briefs highlight the significance of the family and society as a collective institute of agricultural production where risks and rewards are shared among the members. This collective nature of those societies differs from the individualized society where an innovative individual is responsible for his/her own creative action. The shared responsibility nature of the collective society leads to a cautious attitude to innovation and more nuanced processes of decision-making and risk-taking for women and men in different ways. The briefs discuss what this means for agricultural interventions and provide a number of policy implications.
For more information, you can access the two briefs from the below links:
Brief 1: Understanding socially constructed challenges in cassava farming for ethnic minorities: a case study of a Dao ethnic group in Northern Vietnam
Brief 2: Gendered processes of agricultural innovation
The studies were conducted under the project ‘Transforming social inequality: advancing marginalized groups in agricultural research for development in the Central Mekong’ of Humidtropics Central Mekong Action Area, and co-funded by RTB and CIAT Asia.
This post was written by Nozomi Kawarazuka, Post-doctoral research fellow, International Potato Center (CIP) and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) based in Vietnam.