Problems we want to solve:
80% of Lao population or about 5 million people are rice farmers and the country has vast arable land highly suitable for rice farming. Unfortunately; Laos has no enough rice for consumption because of rice farming insufficiency, market access difficulty and investment constraint. These lead to rural poverty and labor migration. Subsequently, rural villages today are principally homed to those very old and very young because working age population has left to sell labors in towns and cities or even overseas. The labor migration causes farmhand shortage and enhances rice scarcity in Laos. To meet consumption needs, huge quantity of rice heavily contaminated with chemical fertilizers and pesticides/insecticides has been imported from Vietnam, China and Thailand. Indeed, sustainable and healthy rice does little or no exist in Laos today. This is problem we want to solve.
Proposed solution and what have been done:
The issues of rice farming insufficiency, rural poverty, labor migration and chemical contaminated rice could be eliminated through organic rice farming because it generates low production cost, high yield, chemical contamination free and high sale price. This project is evolution and improvement of our prototype on organic rice farming we have conducted. Throughout the years of practice; we found that the organic rice farming not only generates sustainable and healthy rice but also fish, frogs, shrimp/prawn, water-bugs and vegetables. These are also sustainable and healthy foods. As result; the project is designed for enhancing the organic rice farming to integrated rice farming (rice-cum-fish), contract farming agreement, field evolution (replacing water retaining trenches made of earth in paddy field with concrete) and field-to-folk delivery in order to maximize the benefits. Indeed, we have conducted market tests both in Laos and overseas of the organic rice we have grown. The tests indicate that the rice could be sold as high price as $15.00/kg overseas and $2.50/kg in Laos.
The solution is not new but evolution of conventional rice farming practices. Most importantly; it has been implemented, test and proved of success. Yet, we deal with very basic necessities as rice and fish. Therefore; if the project is funded and implemented as planned, achievement and succeed are no longer question but how much and what else could be improved.