Urbanisation and rural development in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta: revisiting livelihood transformations in three fruit-growing settlements, 2006-2015
This article by IIED focusses on urbanisation and rural development in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. In 2006, the authors conducted a study of the social and economic transformations in three rural settlements in the area often described as Vietnam’s rice bowl and where livelihoods and the nature of the local economic base, including farming, had changed radically. Almost a decade later, this paper revisits the same settlements and describes their social and economic evolutions and the key factors that help decipher three distinct but similar trajectories. The overall trends noted in 2006, namely the strong complementarity between farming, trade and services supported by local traders with access to a wide range of markets, seems to have remained the basis for successful local economic development. At the same time, access to non-farm employment within the settlements and within commuting distance has reduced the need to migrate to the cities, while retaining the all-important access to non-farm income that supports investment in high value fruit production.The authors conclude that population and urbanisation pressures on land mean that if fruit production is to continue being the mainstay of local economies, some careful thinking on planning will be necessary to ensure that sufficient land is set aside for fruit production. Find the related briefing here.