Technique on dry season rice cultivation on the banks of stream has been initiated by a Project of Oxfam Australia. Previously, the slash and burn agriculture was a main livelihood activity of local land users in mountainous areas and they had no experience regarding the cultivation of lowland rice. This, in fact, affected food insecurity among the local communities with limited arable land whilst population growth and increasing land pressure in the hill area. As a result, a Project supported by Oxfarm Australia that has been working in Ta Oy District since 1996 with the aim to reduce encroachment of isolated areas in natural forests. The Project e.g. has established the Natural Disaster Management Committee at village level. The project played an important role in providing options regarding permanent livelihood activities for local communities. Dry season rice cultivation along banks of streams was one of the potential alternatives for livelihood improvement particularly to ensure food security and to reduce the workload.
At the beginning, the Project provided training to the local land users on how to use buffalos for ploughing as they never used this approach before. The Project also provided rice seedlings, agricultural tools (hoes and shovels) for the land preparation. During the first phase of the Project, there were only few households interested to participate as they were afraid that it would impose negative impacts on local culture and tradition. This because the land users believed that rice cultivation has only to grow in higher land areas and rice stems should not be soaked in water. Nevertheless, there were a number of households who decided to participate in the trial phase of the Project anyway. The Project encouraged them to contribute labour for the whole rice paddy development process and mainly also to support the excavation needed for the land preparation along the streams. Areas suitable to this technology should be on relatively flat land at similar level to the stream which allows simplified access to water. Usually, the land users start land preparation on December to January during the dry season.
Before dry season, the land gets flooded every year and in consequence brings fertile deposits to the soils. Later, many land users expressed their interest to implement dry season rice cultivation on the river banks. As a result, village residents have expanded rice paddies wherever suitable. These terrains include stream areas very near to the village. Finally the land users got very happy to have own their paddies so near to the village. Inappropriate beliefs have been gradually eradicated prior to cultivate now lowland rice. Actually, households have more rice for household consumption although it may be insufficient for all year round. This means that many land users still need to cultivate additional areas in the uplands due to limited land in the lowlands. But the general purposes of reducing significantly the swidden agriculture in the uplands and also to decrease labour for these activities has been achieved anyway. In addition, the land users could benefit from increased animal fodder in the form of rice straw during dry season and the rice straw for soil cover in the vegetable gardens to retain soil moisture. Moreover, people from neighbouring villages also learnt from this initiative and implemented it in their villages too.