charles howie

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Royal Agricultural College (RAC), Cirencester and An Giang University (AGU), Vietnam


RAC Schools of Agriculture; AGU Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Institutional Website;

Personal Website

none at present


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Publication in Relevant Areas

Howie(2011)Cooperation and contestation: farmer state relations in the agricultural transformation of An Giang Province, Vietnam, PhD thesis, London: Royal Holloway, University of London (available at Howie (2011) Dike building and agricultural transformation in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam: dilemmas in water management, conference paper, International Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, Groningen, June 2011. (Available at

Countries of Research Interest

Asia. Deltas rice production livelihoods food security curricula development for young universities I have been working with An Giang University, Vietnam since 2001. I helped them to write Vietnam's first curriculum for Integrated Rural Development (2001-2003). In 2011-2013 I am helping AGU to develop a curriculum in Crop Science to educate scientists to cope with the drivers for change, described below. I passionately believe in education, and 'getting it right' for students the first time, rather than trying to sort it out later.

Statement of Interest in the Call

Research for my doctoral thesis (2011) in An Giang Province, Vietnam, raised questions about the sustainability of intense rice production there. Continuous cropping (up to 7 crops in two years), with no flood period, appeared to require ever larger amounts of chemical fertiliser to maintain high yields. Vietnam expects its population to grow from 90 to 110 million people by 2050, while projections by Wassmann et al(2004) ( suggest 15%-60% of the delta is likely to experience the effect of saline waters, depending on how the sea level rise proceeds. These two drivers for change, along with rising patterns of consumption as Vietnam becomes wealthier, prompted me to alert stakeholders to the importance of maintaining the good health of rice-land ecosystems at the back of the delta, away from the tidal areas. Rural poverty is still prevalent in the Mekong Delta, prompting questions about whether dike building and rice intensification has reduced poverty. Looking forward, other rice producing deltas in Asia will face similar challenges. To address these issues I have helped to devise a project to learn from Vietnam's experience (has intensive rice production reduced rural poverty?) and share this learning with other deltas that so far do not grow rice so intensively. Food security in several Asian countries depends on maintaining the use of river deltas.