[hepr-vn] Oxfam Consultancy study on "VIETNAM AND AGRIBUSINESS EXPANSION IN THE MEKONG REGION"
vern.weitzel at gmail.com
Mon Jun 28 02:28:45 EST 2010
From: Pham Thu Thuy <brissiesugar at gmail.com>
Date: 27 June 2010 3:21:15 AM PDT
Subject: Can you kindly help to post this Consultancy for Oxfam study on "VIETNAM AND AGRIBUSINESS EXPANSION IN THE MEKONG REGION"
Pham Thu Thuy
School for Environmental Research,
Institute of Advanced Studies,
Charles Darwin University, NT 0909
Email: pham.thu.thuy at cdu.edu.au or brissiesugar at gmail.com
School for Environmental Research: www.cdu.edu.au/ser
TERMS OF REFERENCE
VIETNAM AND AGRIBUSINESS EXPANSION IN THE MEKONG REGION
Agro-industrialisation is expanding rapidly across the Mekong sub-region, driven by a number of factors including:
· increasing demand for food, animal feed and bio-fuels globally, in the region and in China;
· rising prices for agricultural commodities and increasing investment in the commodities sector overall;
· increasing production costs and declining access to arable land and water in developed countries and in some developing countries such as Thailand, China etc
· the relatively low cost of land and water and weak regulation in Mekong countries
· Trade and investment liberalization and improving infrastructure within the Mekong sub-region.
· the prospect of increased foreign investment, technology transfer, employment generation and government revenues in recipient countries.
In response, many northern-based agribusiness companies are relocating their production bases to Asia, Africa and Latin America. In addition, a number of Asian companies are now expanding their reach in Asia and elsewhere, including groups such Charoen Pokphand Group in Thailand, San Miguel Foods from the Philippines, the New Hope Agricultural Company in China, the Salim Group in Indonesia etc. These groups are often highly vertically integrated, controlling the production, processing, distribution and marketing of agri-food commodities.
Agro-industrialisation is having both positive and negative effects on small farmers in the Mekong sub-region. Whilst some farmers, particularly those with secure access to land, capital and technology will benefit from increased demand and improved access to markets, smaller primarily subsistence farmers are losing access to land, forests and water through the expansion of plantations, speculative land grabbing etc. Many of those that are engaging in market-orientated production are being exposed to increased input costs and volatile farm-gate prices leading to increased indebtedness, increased risk due to reduced diversification, declining soil fertility due to mono-cropping etc
Some work is now being done to reduce the costs and maximize the benefits of rapid agro-industrialisation for small farmers. This includes a growing albeit still limited body of research on agribusiness expansion in the region. Another stream of work focuses on strengthening customary rights to land and natural resources, community mobilization to defend those rights, the promotion of alternative/integrated agriculture focused on household food security and food sovereignty, critiques of agro-industrialisation. Yet another stream focuses on improving contract farming, facilitating access to markets, value chain interventions, trade and investment liberalisation etc. There is often little cross over between these groups. Moreover, work on the policy level is very limited, particularly compared with work in sectors such as extractives and hydropower.
To address these gaps, Oxfam is undertaking a number of country studies across the Mekong region. These studies are of two types:
· recipient country studies: these are studies in countries such as Cambodia and Laos which are the recipients of large-scale inward foreign direct investment by transnational agribusiness companies, particularly those headquartered in other parts of Asia;
· home country studies: these are studies in countries such as China and Thailand which are home to the headquarters of transnational agribusiness companies with operations in the Mekong region.
2. PURPOSE OF THE VIETNAM STUDY
Vietnam is both the recipient of large-scale inward foreign direct investment by transnational agribusiness companies as well as being home to Vietnamese agribusiness companies which are now operating in other Mekong countries, particularly Cambodia and Laos. As a result, the Vietnam country study will have two foci: Vietnam as a home country and Vietnam as a recipient country. Given this, the Vietnam study aims to deliver a better understanding of:
· the nature, scope, drivers, modalities and impact of transnational agribusiness companies with operations in Vietnam.
· the nature, scope, drivers and modalities of Vietnamese agribusiness companies with operations in other countries in the Mekong
· what is already being done in Vietnam to minimise the costs and maximize the benefits for small-holder farmers of the operations of these companies both in Vietnam and in the Mekong and the strengths and weaknesses of this work
· the potential added value for Oxfam.
The key questions to be addressed by the study are outlined in more detail in Annex 1.
3. OVERALL APPROACH
Oxfam has commissioned a Mekong-wide regional desk review which will be completed by July 2010. The results of this review will be used to inform the home and recipient country studies, including the Vietnam country study.
The Vietnam country study will be overseen by a reference group made up of key Oxfam staff and invited experts
The Vietnam study will have a number of components as shown below:
National level research
The national level research will address Vietnam’s role as both a recipient country and as a home country for agribusiness expansion. The national level research will be conducted in two phases. The first phase will draw on a relatively small sample of existing literature and key informant interviews. The purpose of the first phase is to help the reference group determine the number and focus of in-depth case studies which will form the second component of Vietnam country study (see below). The second phase of the national level research will draw on a larger sample of literature and a greater number of key informant interviews and will be conducted in parallel with the case-studies.
The case studies will address Vietnam’s role as a recipient country only. The case studies will explore the nature, modalities, drivers, impact and responses to agribusiness expansion in Vietnam in more depth. These case studies will focus on particular commodities and/or geographic areas and/or companies. These case studies will be contracted out to consultants and will occur in parallel with the second phase of the national level research referred to above.
The preliminary findings from the national level research and from the case studies will be presented to a national workshop made up of Oxfam staff and invited key informants.
The findings from the Vietnam country study will be presented to a Mekong regional workshop to be held in October.
Following the national and regional workshops, a country report which draws on both the national level research, the case studies and lessons learnt from the regional workshop will be prepared by a consultant. This report will address Vietnam’s experience as both a recipient country and a home country for agribusiness expansion and its impact on poverty.
4. SCOPE OF THIS TOR
This ToR covers four of the five components referred to in section 4 above i.e. conducting the national level research, organising the national workshop, participating in a regional workshop and the preparing the final report on Vietnam as both a home and recipient country. A preliminary ToR for the case studies is included in Annex 2. The ToR for the case studies will be finalised following the first phase of the national level research.
5. KEY FOCUS AREAS
Review the existing Vietnamese Government laws, policies and programmes relating to agribusiness expansion and its impact on poverty both in and from Vietnam.
Review Government statistics and reports (central and provincial level) concerning agribusiness expansion both in and from Vietnam.
Review reports of business and donor-funded projects and programmes working in the sphere of agribusiness and its links to poverty reduction. Pay particular attention to lessons learned from various approaches, potential for new approaches, driving or facilitating the overseas investments of agribusiness companies and related enterprises that are based in Vietnam, and identify any gaps in information that prevent specific linkages being made between poverty and agribusiness parameters.
Identify any examples of best practice in linking agribusiness development/expansion and poverty relief in planning and practice, including especially best practice for successfully rolling out policy at local level.
Explore the perception of stakeholders who are based in Vietnam on agribusiness expansion and its impact on the poor both in Vietnam and in other countries in the region where Vietnamese agribusiness companies are operating.
6.1. Desk study
Search out and synthesise available documentation concerning agribusiness expansion and its impact on poverty in Vietnam and the expansion of Vietnamese agribusiness companies into other countries in the Mekong. As noted above, this will be undertaken in two phases with the first phase focused on identifying gaps and lines of inquiry which can be addressed through more detailed case studies. Key information sources include the following:
Ministries, departments responsible for poverty and agriculture sectors (e.g. MPI, MARD, MoLISA, MoFi).
Government and international institutions with research interests in poverty and agribusiness issues (e.g. The Vietnamese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hanoi University of Agriculture, University of Queensland and IPSARD).
Country policy papers, programmes and project reports from major donors (e.g. World Bank, UNDP, DANIDA, SIDA, ADB, DfID).
NGOs active in the field of poverty reduction and agribusiness (e.g. WWF, Ausaid, ACIAR, Oxfam, ActionAid, ILLRI).
6.2. Key informant interviews
The purpose of the desk study is to obtain a general understanding of the state of knowledge concerning agribusiness expansion and its impact on poverty both in Vietnam and in the region (both academically and within the policy environment). Further interviews/consultations with a limited number of informants from key stakeholder groups are needed to elucidate this. As noted above, this will be undertaken in two phases with the first phase focused on identifying gaps and lines of inquiry which can be addressed through more detailed case studies. The consultants are suggested to consult with the following groups:
· Partners and allies and other civil society groups working on agribusiness in Vietnam
· Representatives of agribusiness companies headquartered in Vietnam which have agribusiness operations in Vietnam and/or have agribusiness operations in other countries in the Mekong region.
· Representatives of relevant authorities at national level in Vietnam
· Academics working on agribusiness in Vietnam and in the region
6.3. Reference Group Meeting
OHK will organize a reference group meeting in Hanoi on completion of the first phase of the national level research. The consultant will present the findings of the first phase of the national research and propositions for case studies at this meeting.
6.4 National workshop
The consultant will organise a national workshop in order to review the preliminary findings from the national level research and from the case studies. The consultant will present the preliminary findings of the national level research, coordinate the presentation of the case study findings, facilitate discussion and capture the outcomes of the workshop in a workshop report.
6.5 Regional workshop
The consultant will present the findings of the Vietnam country study to a two day Mekong regional workshop which will be held in October (exact dates to be confirmed).
6.6 Final country report
The consultant will prepare a final country report which draws on the findings from the national level research, the case studies and the national and regional workshops. Outputs are to be submitted in both English and Vietnamese. The report outline is included at Annex 1.
7. MANAGEMENT AND GOVERNANCE
· The Vietnam country study will be project managed by Pham Thu Thuy and Le Thi Kim Dung
· An in-country reference group will oversee the Vietnam country study. The reference group will include relevant Oxfam staff from Vietnam and other key informants from Vietnam.
· The reference group will review and endorse the ToRs, assist in the selection of consultant/s, provide feedback on proposed research design/s, facilitate participation by key informants and review draft report/s and recommendations
· The final draft of the ToR, the selection of consultants and the final draft of the report must be approved by the Mekong Regional Manager.
8. AUDIENCE FOR THE REPORT
· The principal audience for the report is OHK and collaborating agencies.
· An edited version of the report focusing on agribusiness expansion and its impact on poor people in Vietnam may be made public. The decision to make the report public, and decisions on the scope, content and mode of distribution of this edited version will be made at the end of the study.
· Output from national research
· Output from national workshop
· Country study
· Power-point summarizing key findings and recommendations
10. INDICATIVE SCHEDULE AND DURATION
Formation of reference group
Development of Vietnam ToR
Call for Expressions of Interest
Completion of regional review
Not included in this ToR
By mid July
First phase of national research
By mid July
Recommendations for case studies
By end July
Undertaking case studies.
Not included in this ToR
Second phase of national research
By mid September
One day national level workshop
By end September
Participation in two day regional workshop
October (dates TBC)
Preparation of draft country study
By mid October
Consultant or research institute
By end November
All interested national candidates are invited to submit an application letter, an updated CV, expected payment level and number of days required to fulfill this ToR to the following email address: pham.thu.thuy at cdu.edu.au.au NO LATER THAN 4PM ON 3RD JULY 2010. Questions related to this study and ToR can be also sent to the above email address.
ANNEX 1: REPORT OUTLINE
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
4.1. The role of agribusiness in Vietnam Economy
· How significant a role are agribusiness companies playing in agricultural production and in economic development at national, provincial and local levels in Vietnam?
· What role is speculative investment – particularly in land – playing in this process?
· What are the key sub-sectors and/or crops which will dominate agribusiness expansion in the future in Vietnam at national, provincial and local levels e.g. bio-fuels, animal feed, food crops, rubber, pulp and paper, carbon sequestration etc?
4.2. The role of Vietnam agribusiness expansion in Southeast Asian in general and the Mekong in particular?
· What role is Vietnam playing in agribusiness expansion in Southeast Asia in general and the Mekong in particular?
· What is the scale and nature of overseas investment by agribusiness companies and related enterprises that are based in Vietnam? What in particular is the scope and scale of their investment in the Mekong sub-region?
· What is driving or facilitating the overseas investments of agribusiness companies and related enterprises that are based in Vietnam? What in particular is driving the expansion of their operations in other countries?
· What are the key sub-sectors and/or crops which will dominate the overseas operations of these companies in the future e.g. bio-fuels, animal feed, food crops, rubber, pulp and paper, carbon sequestration etc? Why is this the case? What sub-sectors and/or crops will dominate their operations in the Mekong?
4.3 Current legal framework in Vietnam for agribusiness development and expansion both in Vietnam and for Vietnamese companies operating overseas
· What are the existing legal framework/regulations for domestic and oversea agribusiness development and management in Vietnam? What are the gaps?
· What are legal factors that encourage and discourage domestic and oversea agribusiness development and management in Vietnam?
· What is driving agribusiness expansion in Vietnam at national, provincial and local levels?
4.4 Key actors/stakeholders driving agribusiness in and out of the country
· Who are the key actors involved in agribusiness expansion at the national, provincial and local levels (global-regional-national, private-public, large-small etc)?
· Who are actors that dominate the overseas operations of these companies in the future?
4.5 Impact of Agribusiness on the poor
· How are agribusiness companies gaining access to land and other natural resources in Vietnam in general?
· What are the preferred modes of operation of these companies once these resources are acquired? (Large-scale plantations vs. contract farming etc)? How in particular are Chinese, Hong Kong, Vietnamese and Thai companies doing this? How does this vary between sectors and localities?
· How are poor people – both men and women - engaging in or being affected by agribusiness expansion? How does this vary between sectors and localities? What are the consequences for men and women’s livelihoods strategies and for their well-being?
· How do agribusiness companies from Vietnam gain access to land and other natural resources in recipient countries?
· How do stakeholders perceive impact on poor people, particularly small holder farmers in upland areas?
4.6 Current efforts to influence agribusiness
· What is already being done at local, provincial, national levels in Vietnam and at regional levels by different actors (communities, civil society, academe, companies, industry-wide processes, government, multilateral processes etc) to reduce the costs and maximize the benefits from agribusiness expansion in Vietnam on poor people?
· How in particular is this expansion being regulated or otherwise influenced - if at all – by a) the government of Vietnam at national, provincial and local levels; b) the companies themselves and associated industry associations; c) the company’s home country governments?
· How successful have these efforts been? What are the strengths, weaknesses and gaps in these efforts to date?
· What is already being done in Vietnam by different actors (communities, civil society, academe, companies, industry associations, government, regional and global multilateral processes etc) to reduce the costs and maximize the benefits to poor people from the overseas expansion of agribusiness companies and related enterprises that are based in Vietnam?
· How in particular is this expansion being regulated or otherwise influenced by a) the government of Vietnam; b) the companies themselves and associated industry associations?
· How successful have these efforts been? What are the strengths, weaknesses and gaps in these efforts to date?
5. CONCLUSIONS/ RECOMMENDATIONS
· What can be done to increase the benefits and reduce the costs to poor people arising from agribusiness expansion in Vietnam at local, provincial and national levels?
· What strategies could be used to bring about these changes either directly or indirectly?
· What can be done in Vietnam to influence the overseas operations of agribusiness companies and related enterprises that are based in Vietnam?
· What changes can realistically be brought about in government and corporate policies and practice in Vietnam which will enhance the pro-poor impact of the agribusiness operations of Vietnam based agribusiness companies? How can these changes be brought about, either directly or indirectly?
6 . REFERENCES AND ANNEXES
ANNEX 2: PRELIMINARY TOR FOR CASE STUDIES
(to be added)
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