By Meuangkham Noradeth & Kheuysomboun
March 20, 2013
The vast majority of villagers in the Longcheng focal group in Xaysomboun district, Vientiane province, are farmers so district officials are encouraging the cultivation of a variety crops and the raising of more livestock.
In Laos, 80 percent of the population work in agricultural production and live in rural areas so encouraging people to work in farming is an important factor in moving the country out of poverty by 2020 as targeted.
The Longcheng focal group comprise six villages that are home to 663 families and 3,675 people, said the Head of the group, Mr Bounpheng Phimphongsavanh.
He said people in this area have depended on farming and animal husbandry for their livelihood for many centuries, so growing more crops is important for boosting incomes and improving living standards.
Last fiscal year, the people of Xaysomboun district were affected by serious flooding, losing their crops and other property.
Provincial officials are working to restore and improve basic infrastructure as they seek to raise the living standards of local people step by step.
Mr Bounpheng said locals understand the government’s policy to develop the country and change lifestyles for the better so they are trying to improve their living standards by growing a wider variety of crops for sale and their own consumption.
But some people are still unaware of modern farming methods, so assistance is essential for them to increase the quality and quantity of crop yields.
Farmers in Xaysomboun district have had success with the commercial cultivation of cassava, oranges, chillies, cabbage, rubber, sweetcorn and rice. District officials are also encouraging more people in the community to become involved in animal husbandry, by raising cattle and poultry for sale and consumption.
Mr Bounpheng said crop yields in the Longcheng focal group are increasing year by year, so district officials are trying to identify markets for the produce.
The state-owned Nayoby Bank and Agriculture Development Bank are providing loans for people in the province to help them expand their farming operations, which is also helping to raise people out of poverty.
The Lao government defines poverty as not having enough food, lacking adequate clothing, not having permanent housing and lacking access to health, education and transportation services.