Laos is currently in the midst of a rubber planting boom. Strong market demand from China for latex and investor interest from China, Vietnam, and Thailand have caused the rapid increase in rubber planting. However, there is little institutional support or understanding about how current investor interest can be best channelled to maximize potential returns to the national economy and as well as ensure socially and economically just smallholder rubber production.
In order to better understand the opportunities and challenges in rubber planting, NAFRI, NAFES, NUOL (with support from Sida, SDC and GTZ) organized a workshop on "Rubber Development in Lao PDR: Exploring Improved Systems for Smallholder Production" from 9 – 11 May 2006 in Vientiane. The workshop was organized with the overall goal of helping Lao policy makers and agricultural officials at the national and provincial levels learn lessons about rubber from experiences of other countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia.
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