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Local initiatives to link farmers to markets in upland Laos

Document type: art_period
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Abstract: Three cases of successful linking farmers to markets in northern Laos are outlined: one with non-timber forest products (NTFPs), and two with agricultural products. The case studies demonstrate that the need to expand production created a demand for improved technologies. Farmers were quick to engage in participatory technology development (PTD) and transfer skills, either within communities, across regions, or on international learning visits. All these skills and the ability to access and process new information on technology and markets is becoming increasingly important with the expansion of transport and communication links in the remote areas of upland northern Laos. For remote and dissected communities, there are clear advantages in trying to form larger selling or distribution networks; this puts farmers in better bargaining positions and streamlines market dealings. Enhanced information flow is also of great importance, both for technical and market needs. Knowledge of technical innovations and improvements can improve product yields and quality, while awareness of market trends, demands, and prices gives local farmers greater security and confidence. Increased security, in turn, enables farmers to plan for the future, investing in adding value and developing extension industries. By contrast, development programs that focus chiefly on production run the risk of locking farmers into specific products, which may or may not be viable over the long term.
Authors: Foppes, J. , Phommasane, S.
Series Title: Mountain Research and Development (MRD)
Book or source title: Land Use Transition in Montane Mainland Southeast Asia
Country: Lao People's Democratic Republic
Category: Practice
End Page: 204
Serial number: 3
ISSN: [0276-4741]
Volume: 26
Keywords: agriculture , trade , information services
Language: eng
Organization: SNV - Netherlands Development Organisation
Place: [Berne]
Publisher: [International Mountain Society (IMS)]
Year: 2006
Region: Southeast Asia
Right: © 2006 IMS
Subject: Agriculture and Rural Development
Start Page: 200
Title: Local initiatives to link farmers to markets in upland Laos