Assessment of a farmer base network in promoting an Integrated Farming System at the Mekong Delta in Vietnam

This study analyzed forces driving the emergence of farmer networks in Vietnam and quantified the benefits of an integrated farming system (IFS) and the role of a farmer network in promoting IFS in the Mekong Delta. This case study applied a combination of literature review, participatory community assessment, and household survey approaches. The case study was undertaken in the My An commune, Cho Moi districtW of An Giang province. Findings from the study show that both networking and non-networking household groups recognize the important advantages of farmer networks, and that practicing IFS gives farming households economic, environmental, and social benefits and food security. Networking and practicing IFS are synergistic. By networking, farmers can gain better access to agricultural extension and credit services as well as improve their social networking, and hence adopt and practice IFS efficiently and contribute to rural poverty reduction. These benefits of networking and IFS practices should be considered at the community and regional levels rather than only at the level of individual households. Positive linkages and synergism should go beyond network or farm boundary (i.e., between specific networks or farms). Further development of farmer networks and IFS needs more effective policies and support from the government.