Vietnam Change Goal 4: Resource Rights

Farmer Bap in Ca Mau. Credit: Oxfam Vietnam

The aim of Oxfam’s sustainable food and fair sharing of natural resources programme is to ensure that an increasing number of marginalised smallholder producers are able to secure access to and control over land, water and other natural resources in order to safeguard their livelihoods. We focus our efforts on ethnic minorities and women in particular.

Current situation

Smallholder farmers and producers in Vietnam are finding it hard to sustain their livelihoods, particularly when faced with volatile prices, uncertain markets, growing competition over natural resources such as land and water, the unsustainable use of these resources, and the impact of climate change. For example, existing and planned hydropower dams in the Mekong region are threatening the sustainability of river resources, and this has a significant impact on local people’s livelihoods.

Furthermore, large-scale producers often dominate agricultural value chains and benefit most from economic growth, while small farmers and businesses are becoming further marginalised. Rural women and ethnic minorities in particular often benefit least from their involvement in agricultural value chains. The expansion of agribusinesses, for example in the seafood industry, is also leading to negative environmental and social impacts.

What we want to achieve

Oxfam’s sustainable food and fair sharing of natural resources programme is focused on achieving three objectives. These are:

  • Government agencies implement progressive policies that protect smallholder producers, especially ethnic minorities and women, promoting inclusive agribusinesses and value chain development and equitable, sustainable natural resource management.
  • Agribusinesses and water governance actors – both in the private and state-owned sectors – become more transparent and environmentally and socially responsible, and comply with Vietnamese law, international standards and safeguards, and voluntary guidelines for good conduct.
  • The national and international business sector meets international human rights standards.
  • Poor women living in rural areas obtain opportunities to increase their contribution to, and ownership of, family income generated from agriculture. A greater number of women are empowered within agribusinesses and natural resource management, and are better able to influence the decisions that affect them.  

How we achieve it

Together with our civil society partners, Oxfam conducts research and advocacy on laws and policies related to responsible agribusiness and investment, food security, biodiversity management, water governance and land tenure. We encourage agribusinesses and water governance actors to comply with Vietnamese laws and policies, as well as international standards and regulations on socially responsible behaviour. We also collaborate with the private sector through multi-stakeholder initiatives aimed at promoting corporate social responsibility. Furthermore, we document good practices of inclusive agribusinesses and sustainable management of land, water and other natural resources.   

Oxfam’s work is improves the access of small-scale farmers, in particular women, to resources, knowledge and bargaining power. We aim to strengthen the capacity of small producers, farmer organisations, and community-based civil society actors to have a stronger voice in business negotiations and policy dialogues. Finally, we promote women’s economic and political leadership in agribusiness and natural resource management, support women smallholders, and advocate for positive changes in policies and beliefs about women’s roles and capacities.                                              

Our partners

We work with a broad range of partners to achieve our goals and support multiple stakeholders to work together. This includes government ministries, local government agencies, and other policy makers, who formulate and implement regulatory frameworks on markets, trade, agribusiness expansion, and private sector development. We also work with mass organisations, such as the Farmers’ Union; business organisations, including the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and sector associations such as the Vietnam Association of Fisheries and the Vietnam Feed Association.

In addition, we collaborate with farmer groups, local NGOs and other civil society actors. We work closely with a number of partners in the private sector, including producers, processors and retailers, both on an individual level and through multi-stakeholder initiatives. Finally, we have a strong partnership with national and regional research institutes, and in the area of water governance we work closely with the Vietnam National Mekong Commission and the Vietnam Rivers Network.  

Our projects

We are currently implementing a number of projects that support sustainable natural resource management, help smallholder producers to safeguard their livelihoods and promote responsible corporate behaviour. These projects focus on:

  • Ensuring women and small-scale producers benefit from their involvement in the seafood sector; 
  • Promoting a responsible shrimp production and value chain;
  • Encouraging sustainable wild capture fishery;
  • Helping ethnic minorities and poor women to benefit from the rattan and bamboo value chain (and other commodities in the future);
  • Strengthening the position of small-scale pig farmers;
  • Supporting small-scale farmer innovation;
  • Promoting fair sharing of water resources in the Mekong region; and
  • Assessing labour rights in Unilever’s Vietnam supply chain

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