Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) project CSE/2009/004 (Developing improved farming and marketing systems in rainfed regions of southern Lao PDR) investigated pathways towards intensification of rice-based agricultural systems. Deployment of rice varieties well suited to define denvironments and to meet known or expected constraints is a viable approach, but requires good knowledge of the yield-limiting and yield-reducing factors in the growing environments. Studies on nutrient – soil moisture regime interactions showed that farmers can manage these factors to enhance productivity. Soil properties can be modified to increase their moisture- and nutrient-holding capacities, which may lead to increased yields. Where water is available, dry-season cultivation of high-value crops extends production and raises household livelihoods. Increasingly scarce and expensive labour is stimulating the shift towards mechanisation and direct seeding to establish the rice crop. The realisation of expectations of high returns and the reduction of perceived risks are necessary for farmers to transition from subsistence to commercial production. This requires consistent policies that mutually reinforce agricultural, rural development and environmental goals. Intensification also requires comprehensive technical and extension support to ensure not only increased production but also increased benefits for farmers now and into the future.
|Title of host publication||A policy dialogue on rice futures: Rice-based farming systems research in the Mekong region|
|Subtitle of host publication||Proceedings of a dialogue held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 7–9 May 2014|
|Place of Publication||Canberra, Australia|
|Publisher||Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research|
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|