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Income options for the poorest of the poor: the case of cardamom in northern Laos

This study examines the potential of cardamom for poverty alleviation and sustainable rural development under conditions of increased resource scarcity in the uplands of northern Laos. Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative fieldwork in Luang Namtha province, the supply chain of cardamom is identified and the socio-economic opportunities for collectors and growers are examined. Rising demand in neighbouring countries, particularly China, provide sound income opportunities for all actors in the cardamom supply chain. Growing improved varieties has become a boon for farmers endowed with relatively large land areas with suitable agro-ecological conditions. However, land-poor and landless collectors of wild cardamom are facing increasing difficulties due to overharvesting, lower prices offered by middlemen, and the rapid conversion of remaining forests into monoculture plantations, especially rubber, which has reduced the natural habitat of cardamom and other non-timber forest products. The major policy implication is that protecting the remaining natural and secondary forests—for instance through making use of evolving international support mechanisms for community-based forest protection, including REDD-plus—will not only be of benefit for biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation, but would also enhance the livelihoods of the poorest groups in the uplands of northern Laos.

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Additional Info

Field Value
Document type Reports, journal articles, and research papers (including theses and dissertations)
Language of document
  • English
  • Forests and forestry
  • Non-timber forest products
Geographic area (spatial range)
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
Copyright Yes
Version / Edition 1
License Creative Commons Attribution
Co-author (individual) Choocharoen, Chalathon, Antonia Schneider, Andreas Neef, and Pavlos Georgiadis.
Publisher Small-scale Forestry
Publication date 2013
Pagination 22
General note

Small-scale Forestry DOI 10.1007/s11842-012-9207-1

Date uploaded September 30, 2018, 02:51 (UTC)
Date modified December 17, 2019, 09:28 (UTC)