Hang Thi Thu Truong (Lecturer, Faculty of Anthropology, University of Social Sciences and Humanities – Ho Chi Minh City; HYI Visiting Scholar)
Chair: Andrew Gordon (Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History, Harvard University)
Discussant: Merry White (Professor, Department of Anthropology, Boston University)
Co-sponsored with the Harvard University Asia Center
This talk presents my study on the development of farm tourism in three rural regions in Vietnam. Farmers who run the farms (grape, coffee and rice farms in Ninh Thuan, Lam Dong and Dong Thap provinces respectively) have been applying an eco-friendly approach as their strategic alternative agricultural production. Moreover, they have all converged in the idea of turning their farms into tourist attractions for both domestic and international visitors. Ethnographic research on farm tourism at these localities explores the ways in which the farmers mobilize their resources and create tour programs which make it possible for visitors to learn and experience organic agriculture, to understand this neo-traditional way of cultivation, to taste their produce and eventually possibly become their customers. These observations will reveal the dynamics and effects of farmers’ rationality on their farming patterns, and their perceptions of contemporary environmental and social issues in Vietnam. In conclusion, my research argues that agritourism in Vietnam is a locally constructed phenomenon emerging out of the farmer-hosts’ responses to local realities and domestic concerns over modernized food production and the forces of market economy in Vietnam.