WHY working on sustainable agriculture?
In Laos, family farming concerns more than three-quarters of the population. Securing food needs is still the goal of tens of thousands of families. The production systems are varied and diversified. In mountain areas, the main cropping system is slash-and-burn rice, in a complex association. The choice of varieties depends on the length of their cycle, the type of soil available or their taste. Rice is systematically associated with a wide variety of crops (cucurbits, taro-type tubers, sesame, etc.) which supplement the nutritional needs of families. The forest wastelands which follow the cultivation of rice have various functions. The first is to ensure the renewal of fertility by vertical transfer. The second role is to eliminate the herbaceous carpet, and thus to reduce the weeding time. The woodlots are also daily places of collection (fruits, tubers, medicinal plants, mushrooms), grazing for ruminants, wood supply during the dry season, and hunting to supplement the protein intake of food rations. The forest is the cornerstone of this agrarian system.
Despite the intrinsic relationship of Lao peasants with their environment, many rural families face food insecurity and chronic poverty. They are often linked to a lack of resources and material and technical means to increase the added value of their exploitation. Food insecurity is also linked to climatic hazards, which are increasingly frequent, and not leaving the necessary time for farmers to recover from the losses suffered. The degradation of forest and land resources and their access is also a major issue.
What Do We Do?
Support to organic vegetable gardens: mainly to facilitate diet diversification and improve the families’ nutrition, but also to diversify households’ sources of incomes.
Agroecology experiments: to identify techniques and farming systems that could be adapted to the soil-climate and socio-economic situations of the targeted families.
Agroforestry: to help protecting the forests while ensuring food and income generation for the communities.
Support to livestock and grassland production: to participate in the switch or diversification of farming systems toward animal production and help farmers to reduce and face animal disease outbreaks.
Irrigation of rice paddy fields: to reduce rice yield gaps and family rice shortages as well as to facilitate the farming diversification and the counter-season cropping.
For Which Results?
Since 2015, across CCL projects: