Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 563–574 | Cite as

Farmers’ strategies as building block for rethinking sustainable intensification

  • Diana Suhardiman
  • Mark Giordano
  • Lilao Leebouapao
  • Oulavanh Keovilignavong
Article

Abstract

Agricultural intensification, now commonly referred to as sustainable intensification, is presented in development discourse as a key means to simultaneously improve food security and reduce rural poverty without harming the environment. Taking a village in Laos as a case study, we show how government agencies and farmers could perceive the idea of agricultural intensification differently. The study illustrates how farmers with the opportunities for groundwater use typically choose to grow vegetables and high valued cash crops rather than intensify rice production. This contrasts with government and donor supported efforts to promote rice intensification as a means to increase food security and reduce rural poverty. The article’s main message is that farmers’ differing strategies are related to a variety of household characteristics and that farmers’ strategies should be central to the current discussion on sustainable intensification.

Keywords

Rice intensification Agricultural groundwater use Farming strategies Laos 

Abbreviations

AMP

Agricultural master plan

GoL

Government of Laos

MAF

Ministry of agriculture and forestry

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diana Suhardiman
    • 1
  • Mark Giordano
    • 2
  • Lilao Leebouapao
    • 3
  • Oulavanh Keovilignavong
    • 1
  1. 1.International Water Management InstituteVientianeLao People’s Democratic Republic
  2. 2.Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign ServiceGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Mekong Development CentreVientianeLao People’s Democratic Republic

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