The aim of this project was to increase smallholder engagement in competitive value chains associated with two farming systems, one based around maize and the other temperate fruit.
Lack of market integration, inappropriate and unsustainable land management and limited ability of poor smallholders (mostly ethnic minority people) to absorb risk have resulted in continued poverty within the north-western highlands region of Vietnam. Project work first focussed on promising locations where the two farming systems were practised and there had been recent improvement in market connectivity.
The project initially identified and analysed constraints, needs and opportunities for the target groups. Subsequent activities involved on-farm activities to introduce and evaluate improved crop management approaches and value chain development for marketing produce. Pilot trials enabled the research team to select promising methodologies that could be subsequently incorporated into government and non-government development strategies.
The project achieved a wide range of outcomes and impacts. In terms of scientific impact, it contributed to the introduction of a transdisciplinary and collaborative research framework in the Vietnamese research for development arena, the advancement of the Conservation Agriculture in Southeast Asia (CANSEA) network, and the establishment of the usefulness of the “pin” method (a modified profile meter method) to measure soil erosion under Vietnamese highland soil conditions.
The project had a significant focus on capacity building in order to draw together different Vietnamese organisations, target communities, practitioners and researchers from different disciplines as to foster collaborative work leading to tangible and sustainable impacts in the field. Capacity impacts resulting from the intensely collaborative approach and numerous training events were particularly apparent among project’s field researchers from partner organisations and farmer researchers.