Saihoua Tao is one of these farmers. He lives in the remote mountains of Laos and until recently was struggling to survive by growing rice.
Like many other farmers in the region, Saihoua Tao was finding the traditional slash and burn rotation system used on the steep hillsides of their communities was resulting in soil erosion, making it harder and harder to grow crops.
He met TEAR’s partner World Renew six years ago and they came alongside him, encouraging him to diversify what he was planting in his fields. During a recent visit, they were greatly encouraged to see his crops thriving! In addition to growing papaya, pineapples, and various vegetables, Saihoua Tao is now raising pigs, chickens, and fish.
He’s also started growing several varieties of cardamon, popular in China for treating upset stomachs. Not only does it provide a good extra income, but cardamon naturally protects against soil erosion.
Saihoua Tao already has plans to expand his cardamon crop, and he’s sharing his experience with other farmers in his village.
World Renew now hopes to bring farmers from nearby villages to his village for peer-to-peer learning, providing them with an opportunity to see and hear about how these steep slopes can become part of a sustainable farming system that both protects the environment and provides for livelihood needs for their families now and in the future.