The role of livestock in changing upland livelihoods in northern Lao PDR: Facilitating farmer learning according to ethnicity and gender

Joanne Millar, Boualy Sengdara, Anne Stelling

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Abstract

Livestock production in the Lao PDR is playingan increasingly important role in securing rural householdincome, saving labour and improving livelihoods in thenorthern uplands. Traditional systems of low input, freegrazing of cattle, buffalo, goats pigs and chickens arebeing replaced by closer management practices. This paperdescribes action research across three northern provincesto improve and adapt livestock practices with farmersfrom different ethnic groups, genders and environments.District livestock staff worked with farmers from Hmong,Khamu, Akha, Tai Deng, Tai Dam, Lao Phuan and LaoLoum ethnic groups. Villages and ethnic groups varyin their motivation and capacity to improve livestock production as well as preferences for keeping particular livestock. These differences arehighlighted in the paper along with our research on how to tailor livestock services topoor and remote ethnic farmers in the uplands. The paper concludes with a discussionon future challenges and opportunities for upland farmers engaging in livestockproduction for the Greater Mekong Sub-region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-71
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Mekong Societies
Volume7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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