A buffalo trudges through the rice field; a farmer steers the plough. Growing rice in the mountains of southern central Laos is exhausting work. However, since the inhabitants of the district of Sepon received domesticated buffalo from Welthungerhilfe, the difficult work has become easier. Locals discuss the shared use of the animals in newly formed user groups.
The district of Sepon is one of the country's poorest regions. There are few schools, hospitals and roads. The district was heavily hit by American bombs during the Vietnam War, and large areas remain contaminated with landmines to this day. The ethnic minority Ta-Oy lives amidst this barren mountain landscape.
Rice barely lasts for living
Welthungerhilfe and its partner organisation, LADCA, have taught 4,000 inhabitants from the district how to increase the yields of their farming.
The staple diet of members of the minority is sticky rice, which is cultivated on very steep hillsides. In bad years the yields from the rice harvest are often not sufficient for a family to make ends meet. The people are then dependent on external food aid.
New, high-yield seeds have been distributed amongst the farmers. Water channels have been laid in the fallow arable land – wet rice can now be farmed here throughout the year. This type of rice produces a yield that is twice as large as the previous mountain rice yields.
The Ta-Oy are also creating fishponds and fruit tree plantations – and they are being paid for this work by Welthungerhilfe. They can also earn money by constructing motorbike paths or small roads.
Assessment of our work: Evaluation of rural development and food security projects in Oudomxay, Northern Laos (2013).
The aid measures are financially supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).