Preprint Article Version 1 This version not peer reviewed

Multiple Risk Management during Agricultural Production Shortages in a Mountain Village in Northern Laos—Roles of Forest Resources, Livestock and the Market Economy

Version 1 : Received: 27 January 2018 / Approved: 28 January 2018 / Online: 28 January 2018 (16:32:52 CET)

How to cite: Hirota, I. Multiple Risk Management during Agricultural Production Shortages in a Mountain Village in Northern Laos—Roles of Forest Resources, Livestock and the Market Economy. Preprints 2018, 2018010261 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201801.0261.v1). Hirota, I. Multiple Risk Management during Agricultural Production Shortages in a Mountain Village in Northern Laos—Roles of Forest Resources, Livestock and the Market Economy. Preprints 2018, 2018010261 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201801.0261.v1).

Abstract

In areas with strongly seasonal climates, local people often use complex strategies to manage agricultural production shortages, including diverse activities such as hunting, selling and consuming non-agricultural products, and wage labor. We surveyed all the households in a village in northern Laos to evaluate how such livelihood activities varied during years with differing agricultural production conditions. We compared two years with normal rice production conditions (2010, 2012) and one year with a severe rice shortage (2011) due to a rodent outbreak. Earning wages inside and outside the village was the most important activity for mitigating rice shortages, followed by selling livestock and using/selling non-timber forest products. Villagers also borrowed rice from a village rice bank. Most cash income was earned from selling rice. We concluded that a balance of traditional risk management activities under the swidden system (e.g., raising livestock) with the more recent rice bank system and wages from the market economy will be critical for the sustainable development of mountain villages in northern Laos. Permanent crops and monocultures tend to make local livelihoods more dependent on a single crop, but maintaining the traditional swidden system will help local people to manage agricultural production shortages.

Subject Areas

Risk management; Laos; livelihood; swidden; upland rice; rice bank; NTFPs; market economy; livestock

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