Legal and policy frameworks

Legitimate closed-cycle reptile farming is a relatively new phenomenon. Many Vietnamese reptile farmers were subsistence farmers who shifted over to reptile farming by modifying traditional poultry- and pig-type systems. The trade in wild caught reptiles was rife up until the early 2000s, and laundering through so-called ‘reptile farms’ was commonplace. However, as technological knowhow advanced, legal and policy frameworks were established by the Vietnamese government to permit the establishment of legitimate reptile farms. Many of these farms remain small-scale and operate within the informal sector, but governance mechanisms and appropriate institutional capacity have been able to establish successful structural and functional outcomes in terms of legality, animal welfare, transparency, and environmental sustainability. Reptile farming in Vietnam is regulated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Farms must be registered to and supervised by Provincial Forest Protection Departments (PFPD). PFPDs inspect facilities on a regular basis. Permits and certificates are issued to verify responsible sourcing practices (e.g., captive bred) in compliance with the law. 

Consolidation and unification amongst stakeholders has strengthened institutional capacity. This has been complemented by support from key government departments and international organisations. Stakeholders include existing reptile farmers, national bodies responsible for wildlife conservation, agriculture/aquaculture, food standards and trade, and international organisations such as IUCN, CITES, and ITC.

Cooperation between small-scale farmers can be challenging. Willingness to participate and collaborate can be sporadic. Public perceptions of informal sector products linked to the wildlife trade can be negative.  Multi-stakeholder engagement – top-down and bottom-up – is important.