• Farmers in Vientiane province kick start season-long trainings for developing “more intelligent pathway” for rice cultivation

    The season long farmer’s training, known as Central Farmer’s Participatory Action Research (CFPAR) is going in full swing in Fouang district of Vientiane province since January until mid of May 2015 involving local farmers, provincial, district and national trainers and officials from Department of Agriculture Extension and Cooperative (DAEC) of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and experts from the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand. The training was inaugurated on 27th January 2015 at Fouang district

    The CFPAR is a season-long training where the local rice farmers are being trained to develop location specific rice production technologies under the guiding principles of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) by setting experiments, documenting information and reporting key results and challenges concerning crop production at the community level. During CFPAR period, four intensive trainings will be conducted for approximately 30 selected farmer trainers chosen from three districts of the Vientiane Province. Similar trainings will be initiated in Savannakhet and Khammouan Province in coming wet season 2015.

    The ongoing work is carried out under the ambit of a European Union funded regional project (Sustaining and Enhancing the Momentum for Innovation and Learning around the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in the Lower Mekong River Basin (SRI-LMB, led by Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand (AIT) partnered by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Oxfam, and in collaboration with the Department of Agricultural Extension and Cooperative (DAEC), Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), Lao PDR. Apart from Laos, similar activities are underway in, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. The project aims to support the intensification of small-scale agriculture as a performing model that could ultimately provide jobs to millions of smallholder farmers and enhance food security.

    The action based research-cum-training activities, like CFPAR, help farmers to explore, communicate and develop a local suit of low cost technological options compatible to the bio-physical and socio-economic conditions through hands-on work experiences on crop production. The initiation of various experiments set-up during CFPAR trainings shall further offer farmer trainers an opportunity to learn and practice SRI techniques. Such experiments range from reduced seed and fertilizer’s rate to reduced water application, soil and fertilizer management with other needs and choices of community. From wet season 2015 onwards, these trained farmers would work closely with other farmers in their communities to develop locally suited, climate resilient and cost effective SRI rice production technologies. These activities would be continued for several seasons to impart full confidence among farmers on their own technological suits.

    The learning from these exercises from all four countries would be discussed involving local rice farmers to global level policy makers to meet the challenges of food security and environmental sustainability. The project is housed at Asian Center of Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture Intensification Center of AIT Thailand. In Laos, the project is hosted at DAEC, MAF.

    • Please check our photo gallery for the complete set of CFPAR pictures.