How green is green economic development? Poor farmers in the forested uplands of Laos provide a reality check on a much embraced concept

Press/Media: Press / Media

Description

Agriculture is a big contributor to deforestation. Rural populations use forest resources and cut down forests to meet subsistence and livelihood needs. In other instances, commercial agriculturalists clear vast swathes of forests often with the implicit backing of governments.

Over the past decade, governments of developing countries have instituted ‘green economy policies’ in an attempt to balance the needs of conservation and development. In a recent article published in the Land Use Policy, researchers explore the implication of such policies by studying the perspectives of farmers who switched from cultivating shifting rice to hybrid maize as a consequence of one such policy push by the government of Laos. By interviewing farmers in 2013, when they were increasingly growing maize, and then again in 2016, when many of the same farmers were abandoning maize, researchers shed light on how ‘green’ such policies actually are.

The article titled ‘The colour of Maize: Visions of green growth and farmers perceptions in northern Laos’ was a collaborative effort between centre researcher Grace Wong and researchers from the University of Helsinki, Center for International Forestry Research – Indonesia and the National University of Singapore. Maarit H. Kallio from the University of Helsinki was the lead author.

The focus on growth has led to green economy being widely embraced, however these assumptions are still largely at the stage of rhetoric rather than actual implementation of transformative policies, or action on the ground.

Lead Author, Maarit H. Kallio

Subject

  • Authors asked Laotian farmers what had made them first adopt and then abandon hybrid maize, a cash crop that had received policy and market support
  • Cash crops go through boom bust cycles that poor farmers often bear the brunt of
  • When applying green economic policies, which have been in vogue in low-income countries over the past decade, implementers must be cautious of the social, economic and environmental context

 

Period4 Jun 2019

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleHow green is green economic development? Poor farmers in the forested uplands of Laos provide a reality check on a much embraced concept
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletStockholm Resilience Centre - News
    Media typeWeb
    CountrySweden
    Date04/06/2019
    DescriptionAgriculture is a big contributor to deforestation. Rural populations use forest resources and cut down forests to meet subsistence and livelihood needs. In other instances, commercial agriculturalists clear vast swathes of forests often with the implicit backing of governments.

    Over the past decade, governments of developing countries have instituted ‘green economy policies’ in an attempt to balance the needs of conservation and development. In a recent article published in the Land Use Policy, researchers explore the implication of such policies by studying the perspectives of farmers who switched from cultivating shifting rice to hybrid maize as a consequence of one such policy push by the government of Laos. By interviewing farmers in 2013, when they were increasingly growing maize, and then again in 2016, when many of the same farmers were abandoning maize, researchers shed light on how ‘green’ such policies actually are.

    The article titled ‘The colour of Maize: Visions of green growth and farmers perceptions in northern Laos’ was a collaborative effort between centre researcher Grace Wong and researchers from the University of Helsinki, Center for International Forestry Research – Indonesia and the National University of Singapore. Maarit H. Kallio from the University of Helsinki was the lead author.

    The focus on growth has led to green economy being widely embraced, however these assumptions are still largely at the stage of rhetoric rather than actual implementation of transformative policies, or action on the ground.

    Lead Author, Maarit H. Kallio
    URLhttps://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/research-news/2019-06-03-how-green-is-green-economic-development.html
    PersonsMaarit Kallio, Maria Brockhaus