I've just arrived in Hanoi and am traveling around Vietnam to get a sense for the agricultural scene and to see where organic fits in and how it is going. Essentially I have been planning this as a vacation with an eye to the soil and farms.
So far my impression is that Vietnamese farmers (and all agricultural actors) are in need of knowledge and fresh ideas about how to create a sustainable and safe agricultural supply. The farmers I have met are relying on chemicals but do not trust them and the consumers I have met want to buy safe food but cannot find it. The local Vietnamese NGOs I have met with do not have a clear vision for the kind of work that they want to do so they are waiting for donor funding and jumping from project to project (worm castings in one province and NTFP in another), more or less completely ineffective for the whole farm system and commodity chain.
The ADDA project seems to be making real changes on the ground and could be developed more.
Keeping in mind the social, ecological and economic aspects of the whole commodity chain. I'd like to spend some time with the farmers, on the ground, and see how the farms are being run. - The socialist system of agriculture calls for communal farming and prescribes a crop per region. Driving by motorbike on the dirt roads through the countryside one can find whole regions of tomatoes and elsewhere whole regions of corn. - It is clear that a diverse cropping system with utilization of organic matter for inputs and a spreading of knowledge for pest management and crop rotations would make a world of difference here.