Over 60% of the population in Laos is rural and most of those people earn a living from agriculture and natural resources. This mostly involves subsistence agriculture, for which access to modern techniques and markets is generally limited. Declining soil fertility, lack of access to irrigation, climate change and health risks are major constraints. The historical involvement of France in Laos lies in agriculture and rural development. Many projects are under way in the fields of sustainable farming practices, irrigation, nutrition and value chains. In this context, CIRAD has been working for over 20 years alongside Laotian research and development agencies to offer rural communities more sustainable methodological, technical and organizational solutions.
Rice transplanting in Laos. © F. Ribeyre, CIRAD
Rice transplanting in Laos. © F. Ribeyre, CIRAD

Rice transplanting in Laos. © F. Ribeyre, CIRAD

Main research areas

  • Organizing supply chains (markets and value chains).
  • Improving and transforming food systems towards greater sustainability.
  • Supporting the development of geographical indications (GI).
  • Developing agroecology and sustainable management of natural resources (soil, water, etc).
  • Providing information needed for public policies.
  • Responding better to emerging diseases through the One Health approach.

In addition to the researchers posted to Laos, several support missions are carried out from France and from Thailand, notably in the field of agroecology and health.

Key figures

  • 3 expatriate researchers
  • 13 current projects
  • 21 missions per year
  • 3 PhD students supervised

The establishment of geographical indications in Laos has resulted in the protection of six products, including Komaen tea

In Laos, geographical indications serve to promote six products, including Komaen tea from 400-year-old tea bushes in Phongsaly province. This work is part of the project for the Promotion and Recognition of Geographical Indications (GI) in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar (2020-2023). The project supports the development of GI protection systems in Southeast Asia, with a regional component and three national components. The regional component focuses on institutional capacity building, experience sharing and cooperation between the three countries (Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar), and includes project coordination. The national component for Laos targets the Khao Kai Noi rice value chain in the two provinces of Xiengkhouang and Huaphan, and the Komaen tea value chain in Phongsaly province.

Voir aussi : Etude Food Systems Profile – The Lao People's Democratic Republic

CIRAD is strengthening its health-related actions

CIRAD is a partner in two regional initiatives funded by the French government (Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects - FSPI) and involving Laos.

These projects are part of the PREZODE initiative and will enable the launch of more ambitious projects.

Two other new projects are being set up and are also contributing to the PREZODE initiative.

  • Livestock Enhancement through the EcoHealth/One Health Assessment in South-East Asia
    This is an ACIAR/IDRC project also involving CIRAD (GREASE research and training platform in partnership - dP) in the Philippines, Laos and Indonesia.
    Find out more: New One Health research initiatives announced
  • The Health and Territories project (Benin, Senegal, Cambodia and Laos) 
    Health as a lever for development as part of the agroecological transition.
    Find out more: Project press release

Cooperation and partnership

Platforms in partnership

The partners’ and CIRAD’s activities are part of several long-term research and training platforms in partnership (dPs).

Main partners

CIRAD’s main partners are the research institutes governed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), with the University of Laos under the authority of the Ministry of Education, along with NGOs.

The main donor is AFD

CIRAD also works with the following organizations.

  • FAO representation in Laos
  • The Pasteur Institute in Laos and the Christophe-Mérieux Infectiology Centre in Laos
  • The Department of Planning and Cooperation (DoPC) du MAF
  • The Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) du MoIC (Min. of Industry & Commerce)
  • The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)