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Vietnam's Agriculture: Processes of Rich Peasant Accumulation and Mechanisms of Social Differentiation

Authors

  • A. HAROON AKRAM-LODHI

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    1. Rural Development, Environment and Population Studies, Institute of Social Studies, PO Box 29776, 2502 LT The Hague, The Netherlands.
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A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi, Rural Development, Environment and Population Studies, Institute of Social Studies, PO Box 29776, 2502 LT The Hague, The Netherlands. e-mail: haroon@iss.nl

Abstract

Vietnam's agrarian transition is reviewed and, against the World Bank view that land markets in Vietnam have been pro-poor, it is suggested that access to land has become stratified within specific provinces, districts and communes. Aggregate data and field research both demonstrate that the technical coefficients of production differ between farms when grouped according to a proxy for wealth, and that this is correlated with productivity per unit of land. It is therefore argued that there are emerging differences between farms that reflect divergence in the scale of production. At the same time, when grouped according to wealth there are differences between farms in terms of crop mix, the degree of market integration, and the extent of rural diversification. Holistic examination of the evidence suggests that Vietnam has an emergent group of rich peasants with relatively larger landholdings, amounts of capital stock, and use of hired labour-power; and higher yields per unit of land, a greater degree of market integration, and more marked productive diversification. This class can be set beside a numerically preponderant class of relatively small peasants, with smaller landholdings and amounts of capital, a heavier reliance on family labour, lower yields per unit of land, and less market integration and diversification. The evidence further demonstrates the rapid growth of a class of rural landless who are largely separated from the means of production, who survive by intermittently selling their labour, and who are the poorest segment of rural society.

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