Livelihood Capabilities and Pathways of Shrimp Farmers in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Ha Tran Thi Phung Ha, J.W.M. van Dijk, R.H. Bosma, L.X. Sinh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Shrimp farming is a major livelihood activity in the Mekong Delta in the southernmost part of Vietnam. The Vietnamese government has promoted shrimp farming as a way to reduce poverty, provide employment opportunities and increase exports to support economic development. The shrimp farming system, however, is economically and ecologically risky and may negatively influence the environment and the sustainability of local people's livelihoods. Because very little is known about the diversity of strategies people employ to deal with these risks, a study was performed in the Mekong Delta across four shrimp farming systems: (1) improved extensive non-forest, (2) mixed mangrove-shrimp, (3) intensive and (4) clustered intensive. The risks and livelihood strategies that were encountered differed systematically across the four farming systems. It was found that the uncertainties that the shrimp farmers faced include limited access rights to the mangrove forest, crop failure due to regular occurrence of shrimp disease, high investment costs and volatile markets for shrimp. Shrimp farmers have created several strategies for coping with these uncertainties, including redesigning farms, producing salt, changing the species farmed from Penaeus monodon to Penaeus vannamei, becoming involved in a cooperative cluster, integrating aquaculture and agriculture, and farming shrimp by organic standards.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
JournalAquaculture Economics & Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • coastal zone
  • management
  • aquaculture

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