The government of Vietnam has selected shrimp production and exports as the pillars of rural economic development. The targets set depend on high yields through production intensification. International and national public research communities have raised production intensification concerns related to environmental and climate change challenges, such as saltwater intrusion, water pollution, disease outbreaks, mangrove destruction, and natural resource degradation. Social snags such as user right conflicts of water resources, food safety problems, tariff barriers, and attempts to taint the industry’s image by competitors also plague the industry. These give rise to the problem of certification and questions about the influence of standards on the small-scale farming sustainability in a competitive global environment. The questions asked are, how can one bring together small-scale shrimp farmers to comply with international standards? Can small-scale shrimp farming co-exist with super-intensive producers to bring about a sustainable and competitive industry? A proposed model to horizontally organize the limited resource farmers into cooperatives to vertically integrate with large-scale firms producing shrimp using super-intensive production methods shows small-scale farmers adopting super-intensive production methods that can generate higher yields, income, profits, and is more environmentally friendly and requires less water and land. The capital requirements are high for limited resource farmers. However, with the interest showed by banks in financing models that are appropriate for small-scale farms integrated with larger firms engaged in super-intensive production systems, along with government assistance, these small-scale shrimp producing units can attain higher levels of sustainability than the open, less intensive production systems.
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