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SEARCA PRIM 2021 1: Agriculture Policy and Institutional Reforms in Lao-PDR: Experiences, Impacts, and Lessons

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) is a small agricultural and mountainous country, which borders relatively larger rice-exporting countries like Myanmar, Cambodia, China, Thailand, and Vietnam. The country has been transitioning from a land-locked to a land-linked country, with about 6.3 million people living in its 18 provinces, mostly in rural areas (about 67%). Urbanization, however, is occurring at a rate of 4.9 percent annually. The country is known for its rich biodiversity, and its most fertile land is found along the Mekong plains. The Mekong river flows from north to south, forming the border with Thailand for more than 60 percent of its length. The country’s main development challenge now is ensuring equitable distribution of benefits from its high economic growth and translating this into inclusive and sustainable human development. Lao PDR intends to graduate from its LDC status by 2020. As of 2018, the country’s GDP was mainly being driven by its power, construction, and manufacturing sectors. The country has likewise opened up in recent years, joining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1997, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2013, respectively. Lao PDR remains to be a predominantly agricultural country; however, recent economic growth was seen to be driven by other sectors such as mining, logging, hydropower, and services. Moreover, the country is known to be rich in land and natural resources, which in recent years have been attracting significant investments, both domestic and foreign. This, in turn, raised the need to ensure that the development of the country will also be managed in an environmentally sustainable way.

Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture
Authors Keywords
Bouahom, Bounthong; Manikham, Dethsackda; value chain; food security; policy reforms; agriculture; policies; economy; economic reform pattern;
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Published in 2021 and available in the SEARCA K-Shop or Downloaded 15,789 times since May 06, 2021
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