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Perennial crop systems in Dak Lak province, Vietnam: Practices and socio-economic analysis

  • thuy, phan thi
Publication Date
Feb 03, 2021
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Perennial crops play a valuable role in agricultural economics, as they provide goods for export and jobs for the workforce as well as contribute significantly to economic prosperity at the national level. Vietnam has a high potential for perennial crop development, and thereby achieve an explosive growth in agricultural commodities. In terms of perennial crops, Vietnam now ranks among the top five international exporters of coffee, pepper and cashew. Vietnam is the second-largest producer of coffee worldwide, while it is the leading exporter of pepper globally. In 2018, the planted area of the dominant perennial crops (coffee, pepper, rubber, tea and cashew nut) reached around 2.2 million hectares (ha) nationwide, an increase of 9,000 ha compared to 2017. The Western Highlands has the largest region of perennial crop production with an area of 1.151 million ha. Dak Lak province has favorable conditions of soil (1,450 ha of basaltic soils of volcanic origin, which equals two thirds of the total basaltic soil area nationwide), as well as weather and amount of arable land, which creates an advantageous situation for the culture of perennial crops. Remarkably, the planted area of coffee and pepper dominated production at about 30% of the whole country’s production in 2018, respectively. Over the years, perennial crops have changed considerably being usual dynamics of requirements. Despite its advantages and positive development trends, provincial perennial crop production has faced numerous constraints due to price fluctuation, unpredictable climatic trends, and incidence of pests and diseases. Thus, perennial crop production needs further research to ensure more evidence. Based on a systematic survey, focus group discussion, key informant interviews and participatory observation, this research project was undertaken to evaluate the practices and socio-economics of perennial crop systems in Dak Lak province, namely monocultures and intercropping systems. The aims of this project are to understand the distinct stages of perennial crop systems and to identify the socio-economic benefits of different systems concentrating on coffee and pepper crops. Additionally, the remaining aim of the study finds determinants affecting the farm’s decision of adoption. The results provide critical references for farmers and policymakers on implementation or decision to plant a particular perennial crop and strategies. The findings show that the type of crop that was planted by the farmers evolved considerably in terms of crop types, crops grown, farm size, type of system and an increase of total cultivated surface. In addition, under driving forces including socio-economic transformation, political changes and ecological movement, perennial crop systems are well changed. Indeed, for many years, perennial crop systems have experienced an evolution through five stages, namely large-scale coffee and rubber plantations; perennial crop systems which are state-owned farms and cooperatives; intensified perennial crop systems; mixed crop systems, and the specialized and diversified perennial crop systems. At present, perennial crop systems are put into practice which take into account climate change, marketing and losses of fertile lands. These systems include monocultures and intercropping, which are two representative models of perennial crop systems which are investigated in this study. Simultaneously, a comparative assessment of the socio-economic benefits between two monocultures (coffee and pepper mono cropping) and an intercropping system (coffee and pepper intercropping) is presented in which the intercropping is more efficient than the monoculture under the context of constraints on key resources, risk and uncertainty. Respectively, intercropping is not only demonstrated to have high economic returns and limitations of economic risk due to the volatile market but also to have the benefits of extended seasonal employment and attraction for women as farmworkers on small farms. In other words, coffee and pepper intercropping is the most desirable option to obtain socio-economic benefits in perennial crop systems. In addition, the classifications in different approaches and groups producing are also organized to clarify these economic performances by cost-benefit analysis. The further results are obtained that intercropped farm approaches, especially in intercropped coffee farms (ICFs) generate more economic earnings than intercropped pepper farms (IPFs) while group producing coffee (GpC) appears to be more appropriate for smallholders than group producing pepper (GpP) does. At the same time, conclusions from binary and multiple logistic regression analysis highlight factors affecting decision-making of farms’ decision in adopting. These factors include household characteristics, farm profits and crop profiles. This study supplies information that will allow farmers to develop productive planning with respect to choosing suitable perennial crop systems, and assist policymakers in forming small-scale perennial crop production strategies in Dak Lak province. In addition, the factors highlighted here are taken into account in the development of perennial crops.

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