Trade Liberalization, Rural Poverty and the Environment
Edited by Jonathan A. Cook, Owen Cylke, Donald F. Larson, John D. Nash and Pamela Stedman-Edwards
Chapter 7: Expansion of Shrimp Farming in Ca Mau, Vietnam
Mai Trong Thong, with Hoang Xuan Thanh, Ha Thi Phuong Tien, Nguyen Thu Huong, Tran Tuyet Hanh, Ngo Van Hai, Vu Ngoc Huyen, Le Dang Trung, Le Phu Cuong, Le Van Hung, Cao Chi Hung, Tham Thi Ngoc Diep and Jacques Marcille Vietnam has dramatically reorganized its economy over the last two decades, moving from a centrally planned, state-dominated model toward a market-based, open economy. The economic and social results have been remarkable: production of new export crops has soared and poverty levels have dropped substantially. The results for the environment have been more problematic, as changes in production have often moved ahead of environmental understanding and regulation. This study looks at the very rapid expansion of shrimp farming in Ca Mau Province in southern Vietnam, an expansion that occurred first spontaneously and then with government support in the wake of liberalization of trade and new farmer autonomy in production decisions. The growth of shrimp exports transformed the socioeconomic structure of Ca Mau. New economic opportunities were created for both landowners and landless in the region, and poverty levels have fallen. The sustainability of these improvements, however, depends on the adoption of appropriate shrimp-farming models and protection of the region’s remaining natural mangroves and freshwater systems. The authors of this chapter carried out detailed studies in three different sites in Ca Mau, representative of the three most common shrimp-farming models. Research focused on how trade liberalization and the resulting changes in production affected people’s livelihoods, with a particular emphasis on...
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