February 16, 2013
Rice and other crops grown in Nam Houang village in Maed district, Vientiane province, are expected to improve in quality so that sufficient amounts can be grown for family consumption and market sale.
A project to promote food security has been carried out over the past five months by the Association for Improving Living Standards for Multi-ethnic People Adapted to Climate Change (AIMA), supported by the GEF Small Grant Programme of the United Nations Development Programme.
After getting under way in October, many of the project’s activities have proved successful and are well underway.
The objective of the project is to introduce new techniques to local farmers so they can grow organic rice and other crops such as morning glory, mint and sweetcorn.
If they can grow sufficient to sell they will be able to earn enough money so that they can give up slash and burn farming.
The project is also providing training on new and improved rice varieties, and how to make compost and bio-fertiliser.
If the people of Nam Houang village benefit from the project, the authorities hope to expand it to 33 more villages in the district and ultimately benefit about 26,000 people.
An irrigation dam costing 150 million kip is now being built and is about 75 percent complete. It is expected to supply water to about 10-15 hectares of farmland in the dry season, with later expansion to an area of about 30 hectares .
This irrigation system will help farmers to grow rice in the dry season as well as other crops for consumption and for sale in local markets.
Through the project, farmers in the village will learn how to grow rice and other crops organically and learn how to adapt to climate change.
In the past, most farmers in Nam Houang village have used traditional methods to grow vegetables and other cash crops and raise livestock after harvesting their rice. But they did not know about farming methods that produce better quality crops.
Village farmers also used a lot of chemicals when growing their crops to boost yields but were unaware of the risks to their health.