This open access book is about understanding the processes involved in the transformation of smallholder rice farming in the Lower Mekong Basin from a low-yielding subsistence activity to one producing the surpluses needed for national self-sufficiency and a high-value export industry. For centuries, farmers in the Basin have regarded rice as "white gold", reflecting its centrality to their food security and well-being. In the past four decades, rice has also become a commercial crop of great importance to Mekong farmers, augmenting but not replacing its role in securing their subsistence. This book is based on collaborative research to (a) compare the current situation and trajectories of rice farmers within and between different regions of the Lower Mekong, (b) explore the value chains linking rice farmers with new technologies and input and output markets within and across national borders, and (c) understand the changing role of government policies in facilitating the on-going evolution of commercial rice farming. An introductory section places the research in geographical and historical context. Four major sections deal in turn with studies of rice farming, value chains, and policies in Northeast Thailand, Central Laos, Southeastern Cambodia, and the Mekong Delta. The final section examines the implications for rice policy in the region as a whole.
Rice farming in Mainland Southeast Asia Commercialisation of rice farming in the Lower Mekong Basin Smallholder agricultural development in Southeast Asia Rice value chains in Southeast Asia Technological change in agriculture in Southeast Asia Intensification of rice farming in Southeast Asia Diversification of farming systems in Southeast Asia Agricultural policy in Southeast Asia Rice Farming in Thailand Rice Farming in Laos Rice Farming in Vietnam Rice-Based Farming Systems in the Mekong Delta Cross-Border Trade in Rice from Cambodia to Vietnam Cross-Border Trade in Sticky Rice from Laos to Vietnam Credit use by Rice Farmers in Southeast Asia Supply of Fertiliser for Rice Farming in Southeast Asia Irrigation in Rice Farming in Southeast Asia Rainfed Rice Farming in Southeast Asia Farmer Organizations in Southeast Asia