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Using land-time-budgets to analyse farming systems and poverty alleviation policies in the Lao PDR

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This paper applies the method of 'Land-time-budget analysis' to a rural subsistence community and to the national economy of the Lao PDR. The analysis is conducted to meet two ends: to identify the community's/the nation's resource use profile in terms of land and time use - the analysis identifies biophysical constraints of socio-economic development and trade-offs in resource use patterns; to contrast the results of the analysis with national poverty alleviation policies and visualise their effects on local communities. Results show that shifting cultivation, a traditional socio-economic strategy in Laos, is doomed for extinction as a practice for securing subsistence. Little, if any, provisions are made by the planners to persuade shifting cultivators to leave their trade and moving to the lowlands and urban areas. Policies are shown to actually decrease the rate of subsistence, which is risk-averse, and increase market participation, which is unstable.

Keywords: sustainability, development policy, social metabolism, land-time budget analysis, food security, household income, rural subsistence, Laos, poverty alleviation, socio-economic development, farming, agriculture, rural communities, subsistence communities, land use, time use, biophysical constraints, resource use

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