Economic Botany

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 401–408 | Cite as

Glutinous Rice and Its Importance for Hill Farmers in Laos

  • Walter Roder
  • Bounthanth Keoboulapha
  • Khouanheuane Vannalath
  • Bouakham Phouaravanh


Glutinous Rice and Its Importance for Hill Farmers in Laos. Economic Botany, 50(4): 401-408. 1996. Glutinous or waxy rice is the most important crop for subsistence farming economies in the hills of Northern Laos. Hill farmers continue to use traditional varieties only. Geographical and political isolation have contributed towards their preservation. Traditional varieties are mainly of the japonica type, have a good yield potential, are well adapted to the local conditions, and represent a wide genetic diversity. Farmers interviewed prefer varieties with large panicles, planted 2.7 varieties on average, with 17, 30 and 53% of the area planted to early, medium and late varieties, respectively. Out of 544 traditional cultivars 95% flowered within 88–120 days after planting. Crops planted together with rice in order of importance are: maize, cucumber, chili, taro, and sesame. Farmers reported annual milled rice production of 125 kg per capita and rice self-sufficiency for 8 months for 1992 and 1993. Maize, cassava, and products from the forest are major rice substitutes and food security in remote areas could best be improved by increasing production of maize and cassava in combination with livestock production systems.

Key Words

slash-and-burn sticky rice waxy rice traditional varieties food security 

Le riz gluant et son importance pour les paysan des collines au Laos


Le riz gluant est la culture la plus importante pour les systèmes agricoles de subsistence des collines du Nord du Laos. Les paysans montagnards continuent de cultiver uniquement des variétés traditionnelles qui sont préservées par l’isolation géographique et politique. La plupart des variétés traditionnelles sont du type japonica avec de bons rendements potentiels, sont bien adaptées aux conditions locales, et présentent un grande diversité génétique. Les paysans consultés préferent les variétés à grand panicule. Ils ont cultivé en moyenne 2.7 variétés, et 17, 30, et 53% de la surface a été plantée, respectivement avec des variétés précoces, intermédiates, et tardives. Au moins 95% des 544 cultivars traditionnels ont fteuri entre 88 et 120 jours aprés la plantation. Les cultures plantées avec le riz sont par ordre d’importance: le maïs, le concombre, le chili, le taro et le sésame. Les paysans ont enregistré une production annuelle de riz décortiqué de 125 kg per capita aínsi qu’une autosuffisance en riz pour 8 mois durant les années 1992 et 1993. Les maïs, le manioc et les aliments issus de la forêt constituent les principaux produits de substitution du riz. La meilleure façon d’améliorer la sécurité alimentaire des régions reculées serait de combiner une augmentation de la production de maïs et de manioc avec des systèmes de production animale.


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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter Roder
    • 1
  • Bounthanth Keoboulapha
    • 2
  • Khouanheuane Vannalath
    • 2
  • Bouakham Phouaravanh
    • 2
  1. 1.International Rice Research Institute [IRRI]ManilaPhilippines
  2. 2.LAO-IRRI ProjectLuang Prabang

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