Mekong Region Land Governance Project

Supporting reforms towards more inclusive agricultural investments in the Mekong Region

Supporting reforms towards more inclusive agricultural investments in the Mekong Region

During 17 – 20 May 2022, MRLG and the Alliances on Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI) in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos organised the 2nd round of reflection workshops both in-person and online.  The workshops were to assess progress, challenges and set plans to achieve the goals of the alliances during the remainder of MRLG phase 2, which ends in December 2022. Additional objectives were to initiate sustainability planning, and solicit ideas for MRLG Phase 3.

With the rapid growth of agricultural investments in the Mekong region, regulatory frameworks for contract farming are a common priority for MRLG partners in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, aiming to improve benefits for farmers and companies.  Several key policy analyses have been prepared to support this work, including by the Centre for Policy Studies in Cambodia, titled “Making contract farming more inclusive for smallholder farmers in Cambodia”. In Laos, the Investment Promotion Department, Ministry of Planning and Investment, contributed to a study on “Contract Farming in Laos: Responding to A Rising Agricultural Trend”. In Vietnam, AgroInfo of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development supported analysis on the country’s policies on “Agricultural Land Accumulation and Concentration” (ALAC) and their implications for smallholder farmers, aiming to support the revision of the 2013 Land Law. 

A rubber farmer in Cambodia is collecting latex. Photo: Thinh Hoang Hai

In addition to ALAC, MRLG and the Vietnam Alliance members are working to advocate for protecting farmers’ tenure with regards to land acquisition, compensation and settlement, and strengthening the land rights of smallholder women. Through close partnership between civil society and government members of the MRLG Alliances, key issues, evidence and recommendations for the Land Law revision are being developed and promoted to decision-makers.   

A farmer in Vietnam’s Binh Dinh province is using a combine harvester as one of the productivity-boosting technology. Photo: Binh Dang

In Cambodia, Oxfam is currently preparing evidence and recommendations on procedures and on conflict resolution, while the Cambodia Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture, the Center for Policy Studies and others are providing case studies and inputs to draft legislation on contract farming. The dialogue in Laos was meanwhile aimed at supporting coordination between the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to prepare a high level report to the Cabinet on contract farming policy development.  The decision of the Cabinet will support the development of future legislation, for which MRLG will work closely with RAI Taskforce in Laos and provide appropriate supports throughout the process.

Group photo of Laos RAI Alliance during the reflection workshop in Vangvieng on 19 May 2022. Photo: MRLG

MRLG is supporting 9 workstreams focusing on Customary Tenure Recognition (CT) and Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI) across the region and in four countries: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. The reflection workshops run throughout May 2022.

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