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Vientiane tackling labour intensive rice farming

Vientiane is planning to reduce labour intensive rice cultivation with the number of labourers working on rice farms to be cut in half by 2020.

The capital's five-year plan began last year accompanying the Party's modernisation efforts around the country with increased mechanisation in agriculture including the use of rice planters and harvesters.

In this, the capital administration has planned a ten percent reduction in labourers for planting and harvesting rice every year.

In 2016, Vientiane had around 820,000 people, with 149,000 being farmers and 24,000 cultivating rice.

The plan of Vientiane authorities will see the 27,000 working on rice farms in 2015 reduced to 13,000 in 2020.

To accompany the plan's implementation the administration will support farming investors to procure additional rice planters and combine harvesters with farmers encouraged to collectively acquire the equipment.

According to the Vientiane Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the capital is leading the nation in the use of small and medium sized planting machinery and rice harvesters.

The Department Director Assoc Prof. Dr Linkham Douangsavanh said “The practice began on a 400 hectare rice farm in Hadxaifong district, and rice planters and combine harvesters are now used on more than 1,500 hectares of rice farms in the district and Xaysettha district”.

According to him, labour intensive rice farming resulted in 850,000 kip profit per hectare, while a fully mechanised rice farm provided around 2,500,000 kip profit per hectare.

“The use of machinery can save time while providing additional jobs for the industrial and service sectors,” Assoc Prof. Dr Linkham said.

Without use of machinery, 10 to 15 people were required to work one hectare, while only 2 or three people were needed when working with machinery, he added.

The department is expanding the use of rice planters and combine harvesters in Xaythany and Naxaithong districts.

Modernisation of the agricultural sector is included in the capital's five-year socio-economic plan with the reduction of intensive labour rice farming reaching 9.2 percent last year, the first year of the plan's implementation.

The capital is targeting to reduce around 2,700 workers in rice farming this year, with the total reduction to reach 13,500 at the end of the five years (2016-2020).

The Department of Labour and Social Welfare will be engaged to arrange training and allocate new jobs for the workers in the industrial and service sectors.

By Somxay Sengdara
(Latest Update August 29, 2017)

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