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Persistence as rice farmer ploughs way to profit

Some farmers are deciding to give up planting rice to low prices, but Mr Ounheuan Thammavong thinks differently.
Today, he is still busy with fork and plough at the ready at his two-hectare rice farm in Hongngua village, Naxaithong district.
He never forgets that these rice fields have allowed his family to eat, earn and thrive for more than 40 years.     
Many farmers in his village have given up growing rice due as they consider the prices on offer not worth the time and effort.
As the result, some of them have decided to sell their rice fields.
Others rent out fields as they do not want to risk suffering capital losses.

Mr Ounheuan Thammavong removes weeds from his rice field.  

However, Mr Ounheuan thinks differently to these dispirited farmers.
He believes that every investment contains a risk of capital loss tempered by opportunity for earning income.
If you have good management, you should have a low risk and good chance of profit.
For Mr Ounheuan, giving up his rice plantation for sale has never passed his mind.
Instead of he always thinks about how to produce rice at a high quality and quantity.
“I do not want to stop rice farming as I love this job and I have been doing it with my parents since I was a child,” he said.
He observed that the quantity of rice yield has been increasing since he started using a tractor and follows agricultural techniques.
His yield from harvest is 4.3 tons for one hectare of wet season rice and 4.5 tons for one hectare of dry season rice.
He has rice for storage and for sale every year.
Everyday, Mr Ounheuan and his wife walk around their rice fields to get rid of any curses such as as snail, grasshoppers and weeds.
If he finds any rice stalk with infection, it will be destroyed to stop the spread of the disease.
His children come to help when they return from school everyday.
He wants the involved sector to help raise the price of paddy rice.
He said rice mills and rice merchants sometimes cheat on paying the real price for rice at market.
To solve the problem officials from agriculture promotion unit, agriculture office and farmers in Naxaithong district discussed setting up a group to negotiate price of rice with rice mill group.
In addition, Mr Ounheuan also urged involved government sectors to supply good quality rice seed for all farmers who grow rice for sale.
 Even though he can produce high quantity of wet and dry season rice yield per year, the quality of the crop is up for debate.
“This rice species that farmers at growing in their rice field today does not perform so well on aroma and softness.”
“So, traders use these reasons to cut the price of rice we can get today.”    
 “If we can solve this problem, it will not only help farmers get more income from selling rice, but we will be able to export more too.”

By Xayxana Leukai
(Latest Update May 27 , 2017 )

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