Shrimping Horizons: How shrimp farmers are saving thousands of miles of mangrove in Vietnam

MFF
Published: 11 February 2019
Last edited: 24 June 2019
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Summary

Over the last three decades Viet Nam has lost most of its mangroves, primarily due to the expansion of shrimp farming, a major contributor to its economy.

 

To help the Vietnamese government address the issue, IUCN and Dutch NGO SNV Netherlands Development Organisation implemented the Mangroves and Markets project (funded by the International Climate Initiative) in Cà Mau, to help shrimp farmers get organic certification under the Naturland, EU Organic, and other organic labels. 

 

The certifications require at least 50% mangrove cover per farm. Farmers can then sell certified shrimp to the Minh Phu Seafood Corporation at a premium price. The project also supported Cà Mau in piloting a Payment for Ecosystem Services system and policy, requiring seafood companies to pay farmers an incentive of VND 500,000 (£17.77) for mangrove conservation and restoration per hectare for providing ecosystem services.

 

The success of the project has led to its replication in Ben Tre and Tra Vinh provinces.

Classifications

Region
Southeast Asia
Scale of implementation
Local
National
Subnational
Ecosystem
Agro-ecosystem
Agroforestry
Freshwater ecosystems
River, stream
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Theme
Agriculture
Ecosystem services
Fisheries and aquaculture
Mitigation
Restoration
Sustainable livelihoods
Challenges
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Ecosystem loss
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor governance and participation
Lack of food security
Sustainable development goals
SDG 4 – Quality education
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 14 – Life below water
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge

Location

Ca Mau, Vietnam

Challenges

  • In recent decades, Viet Nam has lost most of its mangroves, primarily due to the expansion of shrimp farming, a major contributor to its economy.
  • The loss of mangroves is problematic as healthy mangroves make important contributions to both climate change adaptation and mitigation. 
  • The loss of mangrove ecostems also means less natural habitat for aquatic and terrestial species, and fewer livelihood options for local communities. 

Beneficiaries

Phase 1

  • Cà Mau farmers and community
  • Minh Phu Shrimp export company 
  • Capacity building for local authorities; 

Phase 2

  • Farmers and community in Ben Tre and Tra Vinh provinces
  • Cuu Long Seafood Corporation
  • Capacity building for local authorities

How do the building blocks interact?

For this particular project, organic certification allows for mangroves to be protected and restored, and enables farmers to fetch a premium price for their catch, thanks to Minh Phu Seafood Corporation’s involvement in the project.

 

Providing incentives is the key here. The shrimp farmers have an incentive to conserve and restore mangroves and obtain organic certification, and Minh Phu Seafood Corporation is able to export the organic shrimp to the European market, thus expanding their market reach.

 

The project also successfully supported Cà Mau in piloting a Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) system. This system provides farmers with an additional incentive for mangrove conservation and restoration, by paying farmers an additional 500,000 VND (£17.77) per hectare of mangrove for providing ecosystem services.

 

For such an initiative to be successful, it is important that trainings are provided to most stakeholders involved, including the farmers and shrimp processing companies.

 

For this project, Minh Phu also invested in its own Internal Control System team, a supply chain from farm to factory, and financial incentives for collectors, collecting stations, and payments to support the FMB with monitoring.

Impacts

By the end of the first phase of the project, over 2,000 shrimp farmers were trained in certified organic shrimp production. Of these, over 1,000 farmers, managing 7,000 hectares of integrated mangrove-shrimp, had signed contracts to maintain 50% mangrove cover and over 500 farmers had been certified using the Naturland organic standard.

 

The first phase of the project received awards from the Cà Mau government for helping the province meet its socio-economic and environmental goals.

 

The project is also supporting Cà Mau Provincial Peoples Committee to pilot Decision 111 to regulate organic shrimp projects in the province. This decision was issued in 2016 and is being monitored by the Vietnam Administration for Forests as a pilot model of direct Payments for Ecosystem Services for aquaculture. 

 

As of June 2018, the project has trained over 5,000 farmers. The project has also contributed to the replanting of80 hectaresof mangrove forest and the protection of 12,600 ha Mangrove forest.

Story

Quotes from Farmers

 

“The Forest Management Board (FMD) designs plans for replanting of mangroves on the shrimp farms as well as supplies the seedlings. In the production forests, after 15-18 years, the trees are matured enough and the people are able to get 80-90% of the benefits,” said shrimp farmer Văn Công Tỏ. “Forest area in my land is still less than required (60%). Many shrimp died from disease, especially on the land not protected by mangrove forest. I could see then that the forest is very useful for raising shrimp.”

 

“All of the farmers give their opinions and discuss with their neighbours, then put what they’ve learned to use on their own farms,” said Shrimp Farmer Group Leader Trần Quốc Văn. “It has been really successful for us. Increasing the productivity, yields and income from joining the certification project means we’re able to sell our product for 10% higher than non-organic shrimp. Previously, farmers could make 60-70 million VND per year, and now we’re able to make 150-200 million VND per year after joining this project.”

Contributed by

Ann Moey

Other contributors

International Union for Conservation of Nature