Building an Evidence Base for Policy Formulation in the Agriculture and Rural Development Sector in Lao PDR

Senior officials in the Lao government and concerned organizations and business enterprises are increasingly interested in policy formulation based on science and evidence-based research. Technical assistance and funding for policy research is increasingly linked to hard scientific evidence and demonstrated success in the belief that better policies will be formulated, and existing policy implementation gaps will be addressed. Decision-makers continue to seek solutions to persistent challenges to sustainable agricultural development that form the research agenda for the Policy Think Tank. These are: Agricultural technology issues, Farmer organization issues,  Livestock technology and fishery issues,  Agro-economic issues, Agrobiodiversity issues, Agricultural land issues, Forest management issues, and Nutrition agriculture sensitivity

Leveraging Geo-Economic Proximity and Agricultural Commercialisation

The purpose of this research brief is to synthesize the f ndings of ten policy research studies conducted by NAFRI’s Policy Think Tank (PTT) research team between 2016 and 2020, and complementary research studies. The research was related to commercialisation of agricultural products in Lao PDR.

Unlocking the full potential of Lao PDR’s tea sector

Tea plants are native to East Asia and evidence of tea consumption in China goes back to the 2nd century BC. In Laos, tea was presumably cultivated and traded as early as the 7th century (Earth Systems, 2016). Forest tea, which includes both ancient and wild tea1, has been grown in Northern Laos for centuries (Marseille, 1990). In the 1920s, the French brought tea from Vietnam to cultivate on the Bolaven plateau and recognized the quality of wild forest teas from Xieng Khouang (Pedersen et al., 2016).

Impacts of Covid-19 pandemic on smallholder farmers and vulnerable rural people in Viet Nam.

VIET NAM - Under the framework of the project “Network for Agriculture and Rural Development Think-tanks for Countries in Mekong sub-region” (NARDT), IPSARD collaborated with experts from NARDT, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to publish the report “Impacts of Covid-19 pandemic on smallholder farmers and vulnerable rural people in Viet Nam”. This report is an attempt to provide more in-depth and reliable information for decision-making by the Vietnamese Government to cope with the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

MARD-VIET NAM Briefing Report August, 2020

VIET NAM - Accumulated to August 25, 2020, the Ministry has completed 57 tasks (8 overdue tasks) out of 168 assigned tasks, the remaining 111 tasks are being implemented within the assigned time; Answering to 129 questions proposed by voters before the 9th Session, XIV National Assembly. Submitted to the Government, the Prime Minister issued 06 Decrees, 01 Decision, 09 Circulars; simplified 15/34 administrative procedures, reached 44.11%; Cost savings: VND 77.4 billion/year, reached the cost-cutting ratio: 72.80%...

MARD-VIETNAM Briefing Report July, 2020

VIET NAM - In July, although the Central Highlands and the South region were in the rainy season, the agricultural, forestry and fishery production had to cope with various difficulties such as natural disasters, floods, droughts...; The COVID-19 situation in the world was still complicated, especially in countries with important trade relations with Vietnam. However, agricultural production still followed the planned progress, forestry and fishery production gradually restored. Exports regained growth momentum. Some specific results are as follows:

Publications - The Rice Economy and the Role of Policy in Southeast Asia (2017)

Rice is the key staple of Southeast Asia (SEA), as well as one of its most widely grown crops. The region includes some of the largest rice producers in the world, together with two of the top three exporters (Thai lan and Vietnam), and two of the world’s top importers (Indonesia and the Philippines). The region has gained prominence as an early adopter of key production innovations, such as modern inbred varieties and hybrid rice. Policy is a key driver of the rice economy, alongside market forces, technology, and the environment. Production support policies, such as public investments in irrigation, the extension bureaucracy, as well as credit and input subsidies, were instrumental in the spread of modern rice varieties. Up to now, rice commands the most public resources in SEA compared with any other crop. Governments have also intervened actively in rice markets, invoking the key role of rice in food security and livelihoods. 

Publications - Understanding the Mekong Rivier's hydrological conditions (2020)

A brief commentary note on the "Monitoring the Quantity of Water Flowing Through the Upper Mekong Basin Under Natural Conditions" study by Alan Basist and Claude Williams (2020) Summary of the commentary • Dam development in the upper reaches of the Mekong has led to changes in seasonal flows, with increased dry season flows and decreased wet season flows. Both phenomena are observed in the LMB, with the impact on the flow regime becoming progressively less noticeable further downstream. • The findings of the Eyes on Earth study have not yet well taken into account the complexities of rainfall and runoff, thus not reflecting the actual hydrological conditions in the Basin. The conclusions drawn are based on calculated flows and not an analysis of the actual flows at Chaing Saen set against the long term trends.  • As the methods presented by the authors are highly empirical and calibrated on the period 1997 2001, various complex hydrological and physical processes that determine the runoff from the catchment and the river are not captured in the regression functions. • Our preliminary analysis of hydrological and rainfall data showed that the 2019 drought in the basin was due largely to insufficient rainfall during the wet season with a delayed arrival and earlier departure of monsoon rains and an El Nino event that created an abnormally higher temperature and higher evapotranspiration. • Inadequate information on water infrastructures in the Mekong River Basin and the way these infrastructures are operated have made it challenging to forecast short term impacts

Trade integration within ASEAN: The role of non-tariff measures for Cambodia, the Lao People`s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Viet Nam

In 2014, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) decided to launch and finance a research and capacity-building project on economic integration within ASEAN. More specifically, the project was aimed at dealing with the specific problems that the four less prosperous countries of ASEAN (i.e., Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Viet Nam, collectively known as the CLMV group) would have to cope with in the context of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which was to be fully realized by the end of 2015. The first phase of the project, which was carried out in partnership with the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), dealt with reforms in the agriculture sector. The second phase, the results of which are presented in this publication, concentrated on non-tariff measures (NTMs) and geographical indications. This phase was carried out in partnership with researchers from the Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT) and its secretariat at ESCAP.

Mekong River Commission (MRC) Annual Report 2018