Agricultural commercialisation: Balancing efficiency, equity, and justice (policy brief)

Agricultural commercialisation has significantly impacted the livelihoods of rural populations in the Mekong region since the 2000s. The cultivation of commodity crops has expanded across Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, aiming to improve livelihoods, alleviate poverty, and stimulate economic growth. However, this has led to conflicting views on its benefits and outcomes. The brief examines the competing objectives and outcomes shaped by three dominant research perspectives: efficiency, equity, and justice. Efficiency focuses on modern, technology-intensive farming, equity aims for fair distribution of benefits, and justice considers broader societal impacts and ethical considerations. The brief evaluates these perspectives’ influence on agricultural strategies and legislation in the Mekong countries.

This brief summarises findings published by the same authors in a research article published in the Journal of Land Use Science: Nguyen, A.-T., Oya, C., Beban, A., Gironde, C., Cole, R. and Ehrensperger, A. (2023). Agricultural commercialization in the Mekong region: A meta-narrative review and policy implications. Journal of Land Use Science. Special Issue: Agrarian Change in the Mekong Region, 128-151

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