The Gender and Equity Implications of Land-Related Investments on Land Access and Labour and Income-Generating Opportunities: A Case Study of Selected Agricultural Investments in Lao PDR

TitleThe Gender and Equity Implications of Land-Related Investments on Land Access and Labour and Income-Generating Opportunities: A Case Study of Selected Agricultural Investments in Lao PDR
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsDaley E, Osorio M, Clara_Mi_Young_Park _
Paginationi-vi, 1-67
Key themesFDI, Gender, MarginalisedPeople, Policy-law

ABSTRACTED FROM THE INTRODUCTION: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) plays a leading role in the achievement of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1 – the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. The majority of the world’s poor live in rural areas and have labour and land as their only or main productive assets. Therefore, promoting secure access to and control and use of land as well as secure and productive employment and decent work for women and men in rural areas is vital to achieving MDG1. The State of Food and Agriculture 2010-11: Women in Agriculture, Closing the Gender Gap for Development (FAO 2011a, the SOFA), FAO’s flagship publication, provides solid evidence showing that gender inequalities in access to agricultural assets, inputs, services and rural employment opportunities are partially accountable for the underperformance of the agricultural sector in many developing countries. It also demonstrates that the gender gap imposes real costs on society in terms of lost agricultural output, food insecurity and poorer economic growth. Without sustainable improvements in gender equity in access to land, employment and income-generating opportunities, the achievement of global food security and poverty reduction targets will be seriously undermined. At the same time, the global food and financial crises over recent years have led development policy- makers and international organizations to re-prioritize the role of agriculture within both international and national policy agendas. The importance of investing in agriculture and rural development has been widely emphasized, and several international initiatives have focused on ensuring such investment is responsible, sustainable and beneficial to the majority of poor people in rural areas. Hard evidence on the implications of recent agricultural investments for the poverty status and food security of rural women and men is still limited, particularly from a perspective which looks at gender-differentiated implications and the potential consequences of these investments for rural development. The Gender Equity and Rural Employment (ESW) division of FAO, in consultation with the International Land Coalition (ILC), and the Trade and Markets (EST) and Climate, Energy and Tenure (NRC) divisions of FAO, has therefore developed a programme of work to contribute to filling this gap. The FAO work programme has a number of complementary components, including a series of case studies in countries where private foreign investments are already operational. The present report, on agricultural investments in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), is the second in this series of case studies. It is based primarily on a period of four weeks fieldwork in Laos in November 2011, in which interviews were held with over 68 key informants and with some 114 people (51 women and 63 men) who were consulted in 17 focus group discussions with local farmers and agricultural workers. The fieldwork was carried out in three of Lao PDR’s 17 provinces – Borikhamxai, Vientiane and Vientiane Capital – with the active support and facilitation of the FAO Country Office and the Government of Lao PDR. Six companies covering a wide range of business models and crops were selected. Among those, there is a tobacco producer. Given the existing conflict of interest between the tobacco industry and public health and recognizing FAO’s role, as part of the United Nations Ad Hoc Interagency Task Force on Tobacco Control, in promoting economically viable and sustainable alternatives for tobacco workers and growers, this report does not support nor endorse the tobacco value chain. This report is organized as follows. Chapter 2 provides a brief background to the issues globally and describes the methodology. Chapter 3 comprises the main body of the case study, drawing on information gathered in the key informant interviews and focus group discussions, as well as on relevant secondary materials. It situates the case in Laos and explores the policy context and key gender and governance issues around land-related agricultural investments. It also presents from the fieldwork some primary data on agricultural investments and examples of good practices from companies and for an enabling environment for smallholders. Chapter 4 then ends the report with overall conclusions and policy recommendations for land-related investments in agriculture in Laos.


Available for download



Document Type