This paper examines potential of contract farming as a rural development tool by revealing its effect on productivity and income of small holders in tea production in north-western Vietnam. In the present research, three economic analyses are applied. First, the technical efficiency of tea production is estimated by using stochastic frontier model. The results show that contract farming achieved significantly higher technical efficiency compared to non-contract farming. Second, logit model is investigated to determine the influential socio-economic characteristics of households for contract participation. The model indicates that social relationship of households, such as the membership in the communist party, play an important role in contract participation with 73% correct prediction. Finally, the impact of contract participation on income is estimated by applying Propensity Score Matching. A significant effect of contract participation on income by 8,000 VND daily per capita can be observed.