Lao PDR has one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity of rice in the world, and it appears to be the center of biodiversity for glutinous rice. Much of this rice is conserved in IRRI‘s International Rice Genebank.
Rice production in the country is subsistence-oriented. It is produced mainly by small farm households that have an average farm size of less than two hectares. Although rice production is the single most important economic activity, accounting for 39% of agricultural gross domestic product, very little rice is currently marketed.
Almost 90% of the rice area in the Lao is rain-fed. Rain-fed rice may be grown in lowland or in uplands. Rain-fed rice in the lowlands dominates rice cultivation in the country. In 2004, about 75% of the area cultivated (576,000 ha) and 78% of the production (about 2 million t) originated from this ecosystem. Upland rice accounts for over 15% of the total rice area. Almost 50% of the rice grown in the Northern Region originates from the rain-fed upland rice ecosystem (of which over 23% is cultivated under shifting cultivation). Luangprabang (17,000 ha) and Oudomxay (11,000 ha) are the main provinces in the Northern Region where rice is grown under shifting cultivation systems.
Harvested area of rice in 2008 was 781,240 hectares which produced a total of 2,710,050 tons of rough rice. Mean productivity of rice for Lao was 3.47 tons/hectare (World Rice Statistics, FAO, 2008). Lao people consume 171 kilograms per capita of milled rice per annum, which constitutes almost 70% of their calorie and protein intake.
|Population (M)||6.4 (CIA, July 2011 est.)|
|Production (tons)||2.7M (WRS)|
|Yield (t/ha)||3.47 (WRS)|
|Average consumption||171kg p/c/annum (WRS)|