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Institutional tools for the promotion of conservation agriculture in Lao PDR

Khamhung A., Chabanne A., Tivet F., Jullien F., Rattanatray B., Kingkheo S., Julien P., Séguy L.. 2010. In : Chanphengxay Monthathip B. (ed.), Khamhung Anonth (ed.), Panysiri Khamkéo (ed.), Chabanne André (ed.), Julien Frédéric (ed.), Tran Quoc Hoa (ed.), Lienhard Pascal (ed.), Tivet Florent (ed.). Investing in sustainable agriculture : the case of conservation agriculture and direct seeding mulch-based cropping systems. Proceedings of the Regional Workshop held in Phonsavan, Xieng Khouang Province, Lao PDR, 28th October - 1st November 2008. Vientiane : Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry [Laos], p. 234-242. Regional Workshop on Conservation Agriculture, 2008-10-28/2008-11-01, Phonsavan (Laos, République démocratique populaire).

The National Agroecology Programme (PRONAE) and the Southern Xayabury Application Point (PASS) of the Capitalization and Rural Development Support Programme (PCADR) have developed an approach in the provinces of Xayabury and Xieng Khouang that relies on direct sowing mulch-based cropping systems (DMC). This approach has provided relevant alternatives to traditional agricultural practices which can no longer ensure the foundations of sustainable agriculture. In view of the results obtained, be they socio-economic or environmental, the Council of Ministers asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) to promote these techniques throughout the country, and called for this approach to be included in university and school courses. It is in that context that the Sector-based Agroecology Programme (PROSA), whose main aim is to define and implement a national strategy for the dissemination of Conservation Agriculture based on agroecological techniques (DMC), operates. This strategy is based on implementing an Agroecology Action Plan relying on the necessary incorporation of natural capital in rural development policies. The plan involves programming activities, setting in place decision-making and operational processes and bringing into play financial, material and human resources on both a central and local level (province, district and sub-district). The finest level of intervention comprises groups of farmers linked to service centres set up by the government within the districts (Kum Ban Pattana). On each level, the agroecology action plan is to arise from an integrated and concerted approach, in which each category of rural development stakeholders is committed to a process in which their needs and skills are acknowledged by all. Likewise, on each level, it is necessary to define, in a concerted manner, the initiatives that have to be taken (diagnosis, planning, implementation, monitoring-appraisal), the tools required (training of the different stakeholders, organization and structuring of the State sector and of the private sector, contractualization between stakeholders) and the fields of involvement (extension, local development funding arrangements, management of natural resources, equipment management, organization of supply and marketing chains, etc.). Each of the two pilot provinces, Xayabury and Xieng Khouang, is in the process of defining its Provincial Action Plan in Agroecology. An initial diagnosis of farming systems and their envi ronmental impacts, along with the needs and contributions of each category of stakeholders, has been completed. The provinces then gave priority to defining decision making and operational processes, and setting in place financial arrangements for the Provincial Action Plans. Initially, two funding tools are under consideration: constitution of a development fund, and agricultural credit. On a central level, the decision-making and operational processes are directly attached to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, notably via the Planning Department. The creation of a Research and Service Provider Centre in support of local and national development is envisaged. Likewise, on a central level, it is a matter of facilitating the implementation of training plans for the different stakeholders. Lastly, the inclusion of agroecology in university and school courses is under way. Also for the educational sector, it is necessary to define a training plan to strengthen the skills and abilities of teachers. The creation of a national, or even regional network associating agricultural faculties and agricultural schools would enable an economy of scale by more effectively taking advantage of complementarities and decentralization to a more functional local level. (Résumé d'auteur)...

Mots-clés : agriculture alternative; république démocratique populaire lao; agriculture de conservation

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