The rice planting season is underway in Laos and the government is ensuring that everyone is involved in the work this year to try and increase the crop yield and help the country's sailing economy.
GV: family working in fields (3 shots)
GV: planter collecting rice pants for replanting (2 shots)
GV: man carrying plants into paddy field
GV: woman preparing field for panting
GV: Buffalo ploughing ground
GV: man pumping water into rice field
GV: woman planting rice in field
GV: men and women from government offices panting as musicians entertain. (5 shots)
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Background: The rice planting season is underway in Laos and the government is ensuring that everyone is involved in the work this year to try and increase the crop yield and help the country's sailing economy.
SYNOPSIS: Subsistence agriculture is the mainstay of the Laotian economy and it involves more than 90 percent of the population. The land is traditionally worked on a family basis, but in the more heavily populated districts near the towns there is some share cropping.
The Laotian economy is shaky after 10 years of civil war and the government is struggling both to reorganise society and maintain economic life. It has turned to the agricultural workers and they've been told they must increases the area under cultivation an the rice tonnage. The yield has slowly been decreasing over the years and latest figures show Laos still needs to import 70,000 tons annually.
Sophisticated irrigation techniques have bene developed, but farmers rely mostly on simple methods of rainfall and flood control.
To further increase production thus year, the government has decreed that anyone working in its departments must spend one or two days each week working in the fields. The system, operates on a roster basis. High school and university students were also put to were at the end of their school year. And the United Nations is re-settling war refugees in their old farming areas.