Empowering Communities and Addressing Farming Challenges through Cooperatives in Vietnam

Empowering Communities and Addressing Farming Challenges through Cooperatives in Vietnam

Yen Duong commune, in the southern part of Ba Be district in the Bac Kan province of Vietnam, is about 10 kilometers away from the district center. It is composed of 9 villages with 630 households, of which almost 3% of the total population belongs to the 4 ethnic groups including Tay, Nung, Dao, and Kinh.

Yen Duong Cooperative, established in June 2018 with 7 members, was formed on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, autonomy, democracy, and operating in accordance with the national law. Its formation was catalyzed by the Vietnam Farmers’ Union with support from Forest and Farm Facility hosted by FAO. The cooperative has established a charter, operating regulations, and a basis for compliance and management to improve efficiency and economic outcomes.

Yen Duong cooperative focused on creating an environment in which both men and women from all ethnic minority groups could flourish and benefit from agricultural innovation, sharing knowledge and helping each other implement their agricultural initiatives. The cooperative actively participated in advocacy and policy-making activities in the locality. The cooperative was able urge the local government authority to build 5 kilometers of village road and forest road, which will support community forestry tourism in the future.

The number of members has gradually increased, with 25 members in 2019 and then 35 members in 2020. In 2021, the cooperative has 45 official members and 230 associated farming households (non-members but are engaged in the activities of the cooperative), in which women account for 80% of the total members.

Ninety percent of members are from various ethnic minorities – Tay and Dzao groups. These mountain communities differ from one another in terms of their way of living and family life, including customs and beliefs related to building a home, traditional clothing, culinary culture and marriage customs.

Read the full case study here.

(This article was originally published in the AFA website)

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