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Household Livelihood Diversification as A Result of the High Modernism Development Project: A Case of Can Tho Bridge in Vinh Long Province, Vietnam. Student: Tran Thi Ngoc Trinh. OUTLINE. I. Introduction and Theoretical Perspectives II.Methodology and Case Study

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Household Livelihood Diversification as A Result of the High Modernism Development Project: A Case of Can Tho Bridge in Vinh Long Province, Vietnam

Student: Tran Thi Ngoc Trinh


I. Introduction and Theoretical Perspectives

II.Methodology and Case Study

III.Household Livelihood Diversification

IV. Conclusions


  • The strategy of Vietnamese governmentis to develop the Mekong Delta, the largest rice and agricultural product region of the nation to improve people’s living standard.

  • To achieve this goal, the government has been concentrating to develop Can Tho city as the center of economics, culture, politics, technology,trade, service, tourism ofthe MD and the Southern part of Vietnam.

  • The State has focused on developing infrastructure systems, in which constructing Can Tho Bridge and upgrading National Highway No.1 have been top priority project to connect the MD with other parts of country.

Model of Can Tho Bridge

  • The Can Tho Bridge construction is primarily set within developing plan of the State which is instituted to expand and improve the national infrastructure systems that was seen as a crucial plan for modernization and industrialization and the pride of the MD people.

  • However, the Bridge construction has displaced many households in this area. A large number of farmers have lost land and have to move to resettlement areas.

  • 670 households and 206 hectares of agricultural land of three villages including My Hoa, Dong Binh, and Thuan An have been taken over due to the building of the approach road on Vinh Long side.

  • In this paper, I would like to study how the farmers can survive and use their assets to create new livelihood strategies and diversify their livelihood to cope with changes in the new environment.

  • The study was explored on a group of farmers (about 30 households) living around the bridge construction area in My Hoa village.

  • The construction has disrupted life of 73 households and taken out 124 hectares of agricultural land in there.


1. High modernist ideology of development

  • Scott (1998) points out that high modernism is a particularly sweeping vision of how the benefits of technical and scientific progress might be applied in every field of human activity.

  • Leaders of developing states believe that the application of modernization will improve human living activities, particularly, the idea that transportation will aid in the economic development process of the country.

  • They would like to manage nature and society by imagining a sweeping, rational engineering of all aspects of social life in order to improve the human condition.

2. Household Livelihood Diversification

  • Theoretical standpoint is to study livelihood diversification of the local people in My Hoa village based on the works of Sen (1984), especially on the role that “endowment” and “entitlement” play in providing opportunities for local people to achieve their livelihoods and well-being.

  • It is also based on the importance of what they term “vital capital” (natural, physical, financial, human, social capital) in the everyday livelihood struggles of local people (Blaikie et al., 1994; Chambers, 1995; Chambers and Conway, 1992).

  • Sen argues that endowments of assets including human and social capital are the basis for capabilities which provide the chances for livelihood achievement.

  • From his analysis, each family has a series of entitlements made possible by endowments that determine the capability of the family to obtain its livelihood.

  • I employ Sen’s theoretical perspective to examine how different people in My Hoa village derive entitlements from their endowments which in turn provide capabilities in their struggles for everyday livelihoods.

Conceptual Framework

High Modernism Ideology of Development

Transportation Development Project

(Can Tho Bridge Construction)

Changes in Household Livelihood Diversification



1. The secondary data was collected from local administration authorities and official.

2. Fieldwork Data Collection

- Household Survey

- Participant Observation

- Key information interview and group discussion

3. Data Analysis and Interpretation

- Collected data was presented under tables and narrative forms. The analysis focused on the ways that are chosen by farmers to cope with changes in the live environment from daily livelihood practices.

CASE STUDY1. Research Site: My HoaVillage

- My Hoa is an isolated village of Binh Minh district, Vinh Long province.

- It is about 30 km far from the capital of Vinh Long province, and 175 km from Ho Chi Minh city to the south and 5 km from Can Tho city.

- The village is separated by the three main rivers named Dong Binh, Tac Tu Hai, and Hau rivers.

- Total natural area: 2,342.42 ha, including 52.40% agricultural land, 46.65% for non-farm land, and 0.95% of unused land.

- 84% worked in agricultural sector and 16% engaged in non-agricultural activities.




2. Household Livelihood Activities before Can Tho Bridge Construction

Household Characteristics

  • Before CTB construction, the farmers’ livelihood was mainly based on double-rice crops, vegetable cultivation, orchards, and husbandry.

  • Home-garden also played an important role in each household because it could not only supplement farmers’ income, utilize household labors but also create fresh atmosphere and nice landscape for rural area.

  • Although, farmers work very hard in their field, they earn little money supporting their daily need.

  • Farmers have shifted gradually from rice cultivation to orchard particularly pomelo garden to increase their income.

  • In brief, household incomes were generated from different and varied sources depending on the income-earning opportunities open to each individual or household. The main source of income was agriculture, involving crops, fruit trees and vegetables, and livestock sales in local market.

  • Other sources of household income were from waged labor, petty trading, fishing, and government employment. However, farming still remained the most important activity, which was combined with all the other activities mentioned.

3. Household Livelihood Activities during Can Tho Bridge Construction

  • Since 1999, with appearance of Can Tho Bridge project local livelihoods have significantly changed from on-farm activities to non-farm activities as they lost land. The local household strategies became more diversified and dynamic due to compensation money that was paid by the government for taking over local people’s land for the project.

  • Before constructing CT Bridge, farmland has been the most important natural capital of farmers’ livelihood. Under appearing of the Bridge, land has still been the crucial capital, however a part of land has been changed to financial capital via compensation policy of the government.

  • Livelihood diversification are shaped by a broad range of economic, political and social factors, and varied remarkably from economic necessity and the alternatives such as a way to further investment, savings and accumulation.

  • In order to achieve food security for household, farmers have different livelihood strategies to cope with changes in the new circumstance.The level of assets owned by each household and individual has a great influence on the livelihood strategies.

The changing of household livelihood before and during Can Tho Bridge construction

  • The diversification of household activities illustrates a clear picture in which local people engaged more in non-farm activities, although a high proportion of households still depended on agricultural activities for their livelihood.

  • The most common economic activities undertaken by households were wage-labor in the Can Tho bridge construction and trading activities in the majority households.

  • The different livelihood activities before and during the bridge construction appear to be common, as younger generations are likely to move from on-farm to non-farm activities.

  • It is interesting to note that three types of household have considerable proportions in both on-farm and non-farm activities. Diversification of non-farm activities included wage-labor in agriculture, working of the Can Tho bridge construction project, and running small business with various activities such as coffee shops, rice shops, sundry, vender, shops, barbers shops, boarding houses, motorbike taxis and so on.

  • The transition from on-farm activities to non-farm activities occurred significantly in which the contribution of non-farm activities in the total household’s income increased.

  • In order to cope with problems, farmers have used their available assets to overcome obstacles in life and, therefore, these household assets have also been altered concomitantly.

  • A number of households transferred their capitals from their land, the natural capital considered to be the most important means of household livelihood, into the financial capital.

  • The level of assets owned by each household and individual has a great influence on the livelihood strategies. The human capability to deal with stress is different in each situation. Each person has different capabilities to solve their own problem in specific cases.

  • The household’s capability to cope with stress also depends on the house location and the human assets.


  • The life of farmers have had significant changes since the CT Bridge construction in 1998. The appearance of Can Tho Bridge has created a new labor market for local people and changed in livelihood diversification of My Hoa’s farmers.

  • Household livelihood is more diversify and dynamic based on difference of household endowments. Particularly, cash compensation becomes the main capital for farmers to diversify their livelihood.

  • Household livelihood diversification has also based on combining of on-farm and non-farm activities, in which social relationship is considered as a key role in the process to cope with the changes of the new situation.

  • The individuals’ capability and household’s location have decided the success of household in the process of coping with changes in the development project.

Thank for your attention!

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