Agricultural Extension and Poverty Reduction

Strategic choices in ethnic minority communities

Ethnic minority woman harvests crops in Ninh Binh. Credit: Oxfam Vietnam
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Paper publication date: 
Monday, December 1, 2014

Vietnam’s ethnic minorities have achieved remarkable successes in reducing poverty. However, they still face difficulties and challenges in their everyday lives. The poverty rate among ethnic minorities remains high. In 2012 59% of ethnic minority people were living in poverty. Poverty in Vietnam is also becoming increasingly concentrated in ethnic minority communities. In 1998, ethnic minorities accounted for 29% of the total poor in Vietnam. By 2012 this number had risen to 51%3. Approximately 75% of poor ethnic minority people’s income comes from agriculture, a sector which has seen significantly slower overall growth than others in the economy.

In order to support discussions on policy reform that work towards sustainable poverty reduction in ethnic minority communities, Oxfam has analyzed agricultural extension and agriculture support policies in seven provinces across Vietnam. Each of the surveyed provinces has a high concentration of ethnic minority people. They include Lao Cai, Hoa Binh, Nghe An, Quang Tri, Dak Nong, Ninh Thuan, and Tra Vinh. This research was carried out as part of Oxfam’s “Propoor Policy Monitoring and Analysis” Project which is funded by Irish Aid and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The research focused on the challenges and limitations of current policies and good practices in the surveyed sites. The results were used to produce a comprehensive research paper and this policy brief. Both provide recommendations for policy reform at the central level and implementation solutions at the local level to ensure agricultural extension and agriculture production support is focused on achieving sustainable poverty reduction in ethnic minority communities.