, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 71-82
Date: 06 Jan 2009

Agricultural productivity in the lower Mekong Basin: trends and future prospects for food security

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Abstract

This paper examines the spatial and temporal variability and trends of agricultural productivity in the Lower Mekong River Basin. We also show the future productivity requirements for both food security and the maintenance of the basin’s export potential at the current level for the projected increase in population by 2030. We considered both rice and upland crops grown in the basin and estimated physical and economic productivity in terms of land and population. Both physical and economic productivity of rice in terms of land area and population is highest in Vietnam, moderate in Laos and lowest in Thailand and Cambodia. However, the physical productivity of upland crops such as sugarcane and maize is highest in Thailand. Economic productivity of upland crops is highest in Laos followed by Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, respectively and is much higher than that of rice. Total economic productivity is dominated by rice in all countries except Laos. In general, productivity has increased in all four riparian countries between 1993 and 2004 and there appears to be considerable scope for further increases, which will allow maintenance of the current level of rice export in the future, despite population growth.