Means and ways of engaging, communicating and preserving local soil knowledge of smallholder farmers in Central Vietnam

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Springer Nature
Increasing interest in farmers’ local soil knowledge (LSK) and soil management practice as a way to promote sustainable agriculture and soil conservation needs a reliable means to connect to it. This study sought to examine if Visual Soil Assessment (VSA) and farmer workshops were suitable means to engage, communicate and preserve farmers’ LSK in two mountainous communes of Central Vietnam. Twenty-four farmers with reasonable or comprehensive LSK from previously studied communes were selected for the efficacy of VSA and farmer workshops for integrating LSK into a well-accepted soil assessment tool (VSA). In field sites chosen by the farmers, VSA was independently executed by both farmers and scientists at the same time. Close congruence of VSA scores between the two groups highlighted that farmers could competently undertake VSA. Farmers’ VSA score was compared with their perception of field’s soil quality. For the majority of farmers’ perception of soil quality was consistent to their VSA score (62.5%), while the remainder perceived their soil quality was lower than their VSA score. For most farmers their assessment of soil quality using VSA valued their LSK, and the two measures were well aligned. Soil colour and presence or vulnerability to erosion were common soil characteristics mentioned by farmers and affected the final VSA score. Farmers’ participation in VSA and workshops strengthen farmers’ confidence in their LSK and provided guidance on the impact of their soil management on soil improvement and conservation.
© The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Agriculture and Human Values, 2022, available online at: . Keywords: smallholder farmers; local soil knowledge (LSK); visual soil assessment (VSA); soil quality; soil indicators; acrisols.
Huynh, H.T.N., Lobry de Bruyn, L.A., Knox, O.G.G. et al. Means and ways of engaging, communicating and preserving local soil knowledge of smallholder farmers in Central Vietnam. Agric Hum Values 39, 1039–1062 (2022).