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New findings of the doctoral thesis of PhD students Nguyen Thanh Hai
Updated: 11/14/2014 1:32:11 PM GMT + 7

 

Thesis topic: Agricultural Development in the Northern Mountainous Midland Provinces towards Sustainability

Specialization: Development Economics - Code: 62.31.01.05

Research student: Nguyen Thanh Hai

Scientific supervisors: Prof., Dr. Le Du Phong and Assoc. Prof., Dr. Pham Ngoc Linh

Training institute: The Institute of Strategic Development

I. Contribution to the literature

The thesis has successfully systemized the literature related to the sustainable development in general and sustainable agriculture development in particular, notably in:

+ Introducing some reliable indicators to evaluate the economic, social and environmental sustainability in agriculture production, especially in mountainous midlands region of Northern Vietnam.

+ Demonstrating key factors that have influence to the sustainable development of agriculture production with an emphasis on macro policies, mode of production among ethnic minority communities in relation to theirintellectualstandard.

II. Findings and recommendations

- The thesis provides a comprehensive evaluation ofsustainabledevelopmentinagriculture in Northern mountainous midland provinces of Vietnam in the period of 2001-2012, in 3 dimensions: Economy-Society-Environment. After the analysis, the author emphasizes the considerable achievements in sustainable agriculture development in these provinces. At the same time, it reveals weaknesses of the process and the main reasons behind them.

-The thesis analyses factors that have influence to the sustainable development of agriculture productionin mountainous midlands region of Northern Vietnam recently.

- Based on the forecast of international and domestic economic situation which can affectsustainable agriculture developmentin upcoming time, the thesis provides a direction for development of the region until 2020. In the mean time, a system of scientific and achievable interventions is proposed to guide those provinces toward this direction.

Scientific supervisor                     Scientific supervisor                                     Thesis author

Prof., Dr. Le Du Phong        Assoc. Prof., Dr. Pham Ngoc Linh           Nguyen Thanh Hai
===========================================
INTRODUCTION

1- The necessity of this research

The Northern mountainous midlands is the most majestic mountainous region of Vietnam where most of the ethnic minority people reside (35/54 ethnicities) and where exists the longest border land with the People's Republic of China (over 1500 km) and The People's Republic and Socialist of Laos (560 km). Therefore, The Northern mountainous midlands plays a key role in the socio-ecomic development, the environment protection and the country's defence as well.

Acknowledging the important location of the Northern moutainous midland provinces in the cause of building and protecting the homeland, in the recent years, especially since Đoi moi (Innovation), the Communist Party and the Government of Vietnam have always paid special attention to the comprehensive development of this area. Hence, the economy of the whole area has rapidly improved in many aspects like food, housing, transportation, study, electricity, water supply and media...; basically, the security in the area is stable.

However, as a mountainous area with poor infrastructure, scattering population and low educational level, the main and important production is agriculture despite the fact that industry, commerce and service have been developed. Agriculture, particularly cultivation, livestock and forestry, is the key for job and income; and ensure the lives of the majority of people in the area.

Currently, agriculture in the Northern mountainous midland provinces is facing serious challenges in its development, which are:

-Firstly, limited land for agriculture, only 1,571,100 ha, accounting for 14.94% of the total land for nationwide agriculture, but it is located in different levels of terrains; and the quality of the land is poor. It is noticeable that the total land area for agriculture has been narrowing down due to the changes in the purposes of land use (for indutrial development, such as hydropower, mining, commerce, services, tourism and urban development) and land erosion because of flood.

-Secondly, Northern moutainous midland provinces has the largest forestry area in the whole country (5,662,700 ha, accounting for 34.79% of the total land for forestry nationwide). Forests in the Northern mountainous midland provinces protect the land and water resources and regulate the climate not only for the area but also for the whole Northern delta. However, the forestry area has been quickly decreased over the past years; in Son La province, forest only covers over 10%.

-Thirdly, the Northern mountainous midland provinces is the region with rich water sources (many rivers, streams, ponds and lakes) but due to improper use of water, water resources in the region are increasingly exhausted and polluted, causing difficulties in agricultural production.

-Fourthly, due to objective and subjective reasons such as mass development, short-term benefits, limited understanding in agricultural production, farmers have used chemical fertilizers, pesticides for crops, preventive medicines for cattle and poultry, the chemicals in protection and storage of agricultural products that contaminates and destroys the land and water sources, which has been leaving greatly effects on agricultural production of the region in the future.

- Fifthly, with the poor and backward infrastructure of the whole socio-economic region in general, the infrastructure for the region's agricultural production in particular, it's very worrying that agricultural production methods extremely is outdated, mainly on household and extensive cultivation.

- Then, agricultural activities in the region mainly rely on human labour, but there is a limited number of qualified employees in all aspects, especially the level of knowledge of agricultural science and technology is limited; income and living standard are better than before but still among of the lowest in the country.

-Finally, border with China of over 1,500km, a market with over 1.3 billion people, is a significant advantage in the consumption of agricultural products. However, China is a complex market, their pressure on the agricultural development of the region is quite huge, especially in a complicated relation.

The difficulties and challenges mentioned aboves how that if maintaining the agricultural development methods in the Northern mountainous midlands as present, it will certainly bring serious consequences to the region in particular and to the whole country in general in many ways.

Accordingly, the researcher selected the topic of "Agricultural Development in the Northern mountainous midland provinces towards Sustainability" to conduct the PhD thesis in development economy.

2- Research objectives

Overall objective:

Systematizing the theoretical issues of sustainable development in general and sustainable development of agriculture in particular, the thesis analyzes, assesses the current agricultural development status of the Northern mountainous midland provinces in a sustainable way in the past years and proposes recommendations to promote the rapid development of sustainable agriculture from now until 2020.

Specific objectives:

-To present the theory of agricultural development towards sustainability.

-To analyze and assess the current status of agricultural development in the Northern mountainous midland provinces in a sustainable way in the past years.

-To propose direction and recommendations to promote the rapid development of sustainable agriculture from now until 2020.

3- Research target and scope

The research target of this thesis is sustainable agriculture development, in which, agriculture is defined as cultivation, forestry and fishery. However, due to the fact that the Northern mountainous midlands has limited water surface, the position of fishery in agriculture is low, this research thesis mainly focused on cultivation, livestock and forestry.

Sustainable development includes three aspects: economic, social and environmental. However, due tothe limitations of the materials, the social and environmental aspects are addressed at acertain level in this thesis, not strictly following the theory.

Location: the researchwas conducted in 14 provinces of the region (with comparison to other regions in the country). 3

Time: study and assess agricultural development in the Northern mountainous midland provinces in the period 2000 to 2012 and propose solutions to improve the sustainability of agriculture in the future period of 2013to 2020.

4- Research approaches and methodologies

*Research approach:

To successfully fulfill the set objectives, the researcher has applied the following approaches:

-Firstly, from theory to practice: the thesis followed the concepts, definitions, evaluation criterria that have been concluded and recognized by the international community for the review and assessment of the current situation of agricultural development industry towards sustainability in the Northern mountainous midland provinces of Vietnam, and for identifying successes and limitations as well as the root causes of this situation. From that, the thesis recommended scientific and feasible solutions for the sustainable development of regional agriculture in the coming period.

-Secondly,from macro to micro: from the directions and policies of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Government of Vietnam in developing a sustainable agriculture in order to analyze and assess the implementation of these directions and policies of the local authorities, production establishment sand people.

-Thirdly,from theory to practice, from micro to macro: from the situation of local agricultural development towards sustainability in The Northern mountainous midlands, the research concluded a number of issues to complement the theory for development of a sustainable agriculture in general, and amendment and improvement of directions and policies of the Party and Government on this issue.

- Fourthly,inter-sector and inter-region approach: research on the development of sustainable agriculture in The Northern mountainous midlands must be done in the context of close relationship with other industries and other sectors in the province, as well as with other regions in the country.

- Next, systematic approach: recognized the problem through a systematic and hierarchy structure, which is a comprehensive and dynamic approach. This approach helps to analyze the dialectical relationship between the elements of sustainable development including economic, social and environmental.

- Lastly, institutional approach is the approach that enables the analysis of the implementation of government policies and regulations, from that identifying the solutions that suitable with specific characteristic so The Northern mountainous midlands, creating driving force for the development.

*Research methodologies:

The key research methodologies in this research are:

-Data collection:

+ Data collection through reports and documents: Data was collected through statistic yearbooks, reports from Northern midland provinces and related studies in the area.

+ Field research: For a solid basis for the analysis and evaluation of the state of sustainable in Northern mountainous midland, which may suggest some recommendations 4

for the development process in the future, the researcher has conducted fieldwork in some areasthat have better agricultural development than other areas in the region.

+ Consulting experts:This is a way of data collection through consultation with experts, scientists, managers who are knowledgeable about the research topic.

- Data synthesis and cleaning:

The thesis have summarized theories and researches related to sustainable development and sustainable agricultural development in general, and agricultural development in a sustainable way for The Northern mountainous midlands of Vietnam in particular. Synthesis method was also be used in the collection and processing of documentation related to the content of the research thesis.

Data synthesis was conducted in following stages:

+ Searched and synthesized the research of international scientists and organizations about sustainable development of a specific country, region, or a specific industry and economic.

+ Collected researches of scientists, managers, research institutes, universities in Vietnam about sustainable socio-economic development of the country in general or sustainable development for the region, an industry or a certain sector in particular, that have been published.

+ Collected the doctoral and master thesis studied issues related to development of sustainable agriculture in the local Northern mountainous midlands (developed plants crop and livestock, and methods of agricultural production, training to farmers,etc.)

+ Gathered statistics on agricultural development to the country in general and of each province in the Northern mountainous midlands in particular. In addition, the researcher also visited some districts in the region to collect data on agricultural development.

- Data analysis:

-Dialectic methodology: This method is used throughout the thesis, especially when analyzing the interaction between socio-economics and environment in sustainable agriculture development, as well asthe impact of investing resources in that development process.

-Synthesis methodology: The thesis summarized theories and researches related to sustainable development in general and agricultural sustainable development in particular, to solve problems in agricultural development towards sustainability in the Northern mountainous midlands of Vietnam. Synthesis method was also used in data collection and processing.

-Historical comparision methodology: The stability-based process of agriculral development of the Northern mountainous midland provinces is not only analysed, collated and compared through each developing stages of this area but also compared with other areas over the country.

5- Contributions of this research

-This research paper systematizes and clarifies the concepts related to sustainable agricultural development, especially the concept, definition and evaluation criteria; develops a theorical framework for studies on sustainable agricultural development in the Northern mountainous midland provinces. 5

-This research paper applies the theorical framework that developed to analyze the situation of sustainable agricultural development in the Northern mountainous midland provinces from 2000 to now.

-This research paper provides a system of ideas, orientation and solutions to expedite the process of sustainable agricultural development of the region.

6-Structure of the research

Apart from Introduction, Conclusion, Reference and Annexes, this research paper consists of 4 chapters:

Chapter 1: Literature review of related national and international researches

Chapter 2: Theories and practices of the sustainable agricultural development

Chapter 3: Situation of the sustainable agricultural development in the Northern mountainous midland provinces in the period of 2000-2012

Chapter 4: Recommendations for improvement of the sustainability of agricultural development in the Northern moutainous midlands region until 2020.
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