Climate Smart Agriculture Sourcebook

Enhancing capacities for a country-owned transition towards CSA

Enabling Frameworks

Local innovation and indigenous knowledge to diversify production and build resilience in Laos People's Democratic Republic

Farmers in the southern part of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Outhoumphone district, Savannakhet Province) are successfully combining rain-fed rice production with the farming of aquatic animal. They have enhanced their traditional rice-aquaculture system by improving the selection of local seed, the systematic breeding of frogs and collecting insects. The frogs and insects provide an additional source of protein to fish, which are also kept in ponds. Frogs and insects are eaten by smallholder producers themselves, and are traded in local and regional markets. By building on experiences accumulated over time, using inputs generated on the farm, and relying on biological pest control, farmers were able to intensify their production sustainably and develop an ecologically and economically resilient system. Farmers reported that no commercial seed, chemical fertilizers or pesticides are required to obtain yields of 3 to 4 kilograms per hectare, which is equivalent to yields obtained by other farmers in the country who rely on conventional methods. In the face of changing climatic conditions, endogenous innovation for resilient farming systems are crucial components of an adaptation strategy. Insights have been gained about the high protein quality of aquatic animals and the capacity of agricultural ecological systems that combine rice cultivation and the raising of aquatic animals to withstand shocks, such as extreme weather events. State services and FAO have raised awareness about the important potential this type of integrated farming system has for diversifying farming activities and building resilience ¬– key aspects of the sustainable intensification of agricultural production. The National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute, together with CIRAD and FAO, is leading efforts to develop local innovation networks that promote learning and farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchange. 

Source: Authors