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The Trading of Agro-forest Products and Commodities in the Northern Mountainous Region of Laos

The purpose of this study is to clarify the trade flow of agro-forest products and commodities by analyzing commercial activities and private traders in a mountainous region. This study focused on Ngoi district of Luang Phabang province in northern Laos where there is a long history of non-timber forest product (NTFP) trading in the study area. In the Lan Xang Kingdom era, political coordinators called Lam collected agro-forest products from mountain people as tax, and private traders purchased NTFPs, mainly benzoin and cardamom. Then, under the communist regime in the period between 1960 and 1986, private traders were replaced by government-managed stores and the role of the Lam disappeared. After the Lao version of Perestroika or Chintanakan Mai in 1986, private agro-forest product trading was re-established in the study area and in addition, general stores and periodic markets appeared along the riverside. The re-establishment of agroforest product trading resulted from the stimulation of commodity flows due to the local general stores and periodic markets, and vice versa. During the Chintanakan Mai period, the NTFPs being traded in the study area were not traditional foods or medicines but rather new products being exported to foreign countries, especially China. The borders with Thailand, China, and Vietnam in northern Laos were re-opened in the early 1990s, after which Chinese traders came directly to northern Laos to purchase NTFPs. This paper shows how the stimulation of human mobility, commodity distribution, and information flow observed after Chintanakan Mai has strongly affected the livelihood of the mountain people.

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Additional Info

Field Value
Document type Reports, journal articles, and research papers (including theses and dissertations)
Language of document
  • English
Topics Forests and forestry
Geographic area (spatial range)
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
Copyright Yes
Version / Edition 1
License Creative Commons Attribution
Author (individual) Yokoyama S.
Publisher Japanese Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
Publication date 2010
Pagination 29
Date uploaded October 12, 2018, 04:32 (UTC)
Date modified December 13, 2019, 07:45 (UTC)