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From "land to the tiller" to the "new landlords"? The debate over Vietnam's latest land reforms

To, Phuc Xuan; Mahanty, Sango; Wells-Dang, Andrew

Description

Between Vietnam’s independence and its reunification in 1975, the country’s socialist land tenure system was underpinned by the principle of “land to the tiller”. During this period, government redistributed land to farmers that was previously owned by landlords. The government’s “egalitarian” approach to land access was central to the mass support that it needed during the Indochinese war. Even when the 1993 Land Law transitioned agricultural land from collectivized to household holdings with...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorTo, Phuc Xuan
dc.contributor.authorMahanty, Sango
dc.contributor.authorWells-Dang, Andrew
dc.date.accessioned2020-04-22T23:39:15Z
dc.date.available2020-04-22T23:39:15Z
dc.identifier.issn2073-445X
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/203379
dc.description.abstractBetween Vietnam’s independence and its reunification in 1975, the country’s socialist land tenure system was underpinned by the principle of “land to the tiller”. During this period, government redistributed land to farmers that was previously owned by landlords. The government’s “egalitarian” approach to land access was central to the mass support that it needed during the Indochinese war. Even when the 1993 Land Law transitioned agricultural land from collectivized to household holdings with 20-year land use certificates, the “land to the tiller” principle remained largely sacrosanct in state policy. Planned amendments to the current Land Law (issued in 2013), however, propose a fundamental shift from “land to the tiller” to the concentration of land by larger farming concerns, including private sector investors. This is explained as being necessary for the modernization of agricultural production. The government’s policy narrative concerning this change emphasizes the need to overcome the low productivity that arises from land fragmentation, the prevalence of unskilled labor and resource shortages among smallholders. This is contrasted with the readily available resources and capacity of the private sector, together with opportunities for improved market access and high-tech production systems, if holdings were consolidated by companies. This major proposed transition in land governance has catalyzed heated debate over the potential risks and benefits. Many perceive it as a shift from a “pro-poor” to “pro-rich” policy, or from “land to the tiller” to the establishment of a “new landlord”—with all the historical connotations that this badge invokes. Indeed, the growing level of public concern over land concentration raises potential implications for state legitimacy. This paper examines key narratives on the government-supported land concentration policy, to understand how the risks, benefits and legitimacy of the policy change are understood by different stakeholders. The paper considers how the transition could change land access and governance in Vietnam, based on early experience with the approach.
dc.description.sponsorshipThis research was partially supported the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Projects funding scheme (project DP180101495).
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherMDPI AG
dc.rights© 2019 the authors.
dc.rights.urihttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
dc.sourceLand
dc.subjectland consolidation
dc.subjectsmallholders
dc.subjectcompany
dc.subjectland reform
dc.subjectVietnam
dc.titleFrom "land to the tiller" to the "new landlords"? The debate over Vietnam's latest land reforms
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume8
dcterms.dateAccepted2019-07-29
dc.date.issued2019-08-02
local.identifier.absfor160507 - Environment Policy
local.identifier.absfor160499 - Human Geography not elsewhere classified
local.identifier.ariespublicationu3102795xPUB4298
local.publisher.urlhttps://www.mdpi.com/
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationTo, Phuc Xuan, College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationMahanty, Sanghamitra (Sango), College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationWells-Dang, Andrew, Oxfam International
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DP180101495
local.bibliographicCitation.issue120
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage1
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage19
local.identifier.doi10.3390/land8080120
dc.date.updated2019-12-01T07:16:53Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-85071250269
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
dc.provenanceThis article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
dc.rights.licenseCreative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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