Hybrid Rice: State Intervention, Minority Resistance, and the Future of Agriculture in the Uplands of Northern Vietnam
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Vietnam is among the world’s largest rice producers, exporting 6 million metric tons of rice in 2017. Much of this success is attributed to the doi moi reforms of the late 1980s, credited for decollectivizing agricultural lands, liberating markets, and improving livelihoods. However, some poverty remains, particularly among ethnic minority communities. Recent poverty alleviation efforts have consequently focused on ethnic minorities, as exemplified through policies encouraging the adoption of hybrid rice seeds and disuse of swidden cultivation. However, these policies are often met with resistance. In order to understand this tension, one must first understand its origins in Vietnam’s agricultural history. Spanning the origin of wet rice, waves of immigration into uplands, French colonization and resistance, and the myriad of land reforms within the last century, the agricultural history of Vietnam gives light to these policies and other modern complications regarding agricultural use and environmental concerns among minority communities.