Rice Seeders for Lao Farmers

May 23, 2016

The Crawford Fund is partnering with Dr Leigh Vial to encourage farmers, or farmer groups to help support rice farmers in southern Laos to adopt dry seeding technology, but we need your help.

Dr Vial is a NSW Riverina farmer and Nuffield Scholar with seven years’ experience in Lao and Asian farming systems, including four years at the International Rice Research Institute, the pre-eminent global rice research centre.

“The traditional method of hand-transplanting seedlings is becoming unviable. Farmers must wait for enough rain to fill the rice bays, which can delay crop establishment extra weeks. It takes the equivalent of 30 days of labour to transplant one hectare! These farm practices are no longer consistent with fickle monsoon rains and the region’s economic development,” Leigh explained.

We are hoping that Australian farmers or groups of farmers will help us with a tax deductible donation for us to provide basic seeders to farmers in key rice growing areas. Leigh knows the area very well and has worked there for many years.

Alan Wattana farmers seeding the first drill-seeding trials with a prototype seeder, December 2013
Alan Wattana farmers seeding the first drill-seeding trials with a prototype seeder, December 2013

“The seeders will help them establish rice and other crops on a range of soils and conditions with less labour. Not having to wait for enough rain for ankle-deep water enables earlier establishment for better and more reliable yields. They can also contract-seed for nearby farmers for extra income to help their livelihoods,” said Leigh.

What we will do

We are able to import small seeders into southern Laos. These seeders are well-designed, low-cost and well-suited to a range of conditions in the very small farmer fields in tropical Laos. Hence, we will feed a growing interest in mechanisation and aim to:

  • Supply around 50 quality, basic-but-capable seeders to farmers in key rice areas of Khammuan and Savannakhet Provinces, Laos, at 30% of the purchase price
  • Facilitate local seeder manufacture and spare parts supply
  • Train the recipient families to use the seeders
  • Conduct village-based trials based on farmer questions and issues
  • Conduct field days to promote farmer-to-farmer exchange…the best way to spread farming knowledge in any country.


How can you help?

As an individual or with friends, you can make a one-off, tax-deductible $3,250 donation through our donation page for the purchase, supply and training for one seeder, and receive:

  • Your name on the seeder, details of the recipient and confirmation of its delivery
  • A description of the village and region, the farming systems in it and the challenges it faces
  • A report after the first year that includes the seeder’s activities, successes and failures, and the effects on recipient’s and village livelihoods
  • The opportunity to communicate with and/or visit the recipient if you wish
  • The knowledge that you have made a difference for a farmer, their family and community.

For more information on the project and to find out how you can help, download the flyer here: Rice Seeders for Laos Farmers PDF or contact Leigh on [email protected] or 0403 489 848.
To listen to Leigh’s recent interview for the Australian Rural Communications Network, click here.

Mr Silea, of Alan Wattana village, in a drill-seeded rice crop.
Mr Silea, of Alan Wattana village, in a drill-seeded rice crop.