Vulnerable Places, Vulnerable People
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Vulnerable Places, Vulnerable People

Trade Liberalization, Rural Poverty and the Environment

Edited by Jonathan A. Cook, Owen Cylke, Donald F. Larson, John D. Nash and Pamela Stedman-Edwards

While some argue that trade liberalization has raised incomes and led to environmental protection in developing countries, others claim that it generates neither poverty reduction nor sustainability. The detailed case studies in this book demonstrate that neither interpretation is universally correct, given how much depends on specific policies and institutions that determine ‘on-the-ground’ outcomes. Drawing on research from six countries around the developing world, the book also presents the unique perspectives of researchers at both the world’s largest development organization (The World Bank) and the world’s largest conservation organization (World Wildlife Fund) on the debate over trade liberalization and its effects on poverty and the environment.
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Chapter 7: Expansion of Shrimp Farming in Ca Mau, Vietnam

Mai Trong Thong, Hoang Xuan Thanh, Ha Thi Phuong Tien and Tran Tuyet Hanh


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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