For this Capstone project, the team worked under the supervision of Professor Glenn Denning to identify opportunities to improve market access and competitiveness for smallholder farmers and local agribusiness enterprises in Northern Lao PDR and policies and actions to realize these opportunities. The team undertook full value chain analysis for four high priority commodities: maize, rice, coffee, and pigs, taking into account the development of the NR2 corridor, the Lao-China railway, and major international connections. These transport infrastructure developments create opportunities to improve market access and livelihoods for smallholder farmers in the northern provinces of Lao PDR. To take full advantage of these improvements, smallholder farmers will need to improve the productivity and competitiveness of commodities in high demand, especially in urban centers in China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Lao PDR. Accordingly, the team proposed important policy directions spanning agriculture, trade/logistics, cross border facilitation, and supporting measures for the Government of Lao PDR and development partners to enhance market access and competitiveness. 

  • Scope: strengthening regional trade between Lao PDR and Thailand, Vietnam & China 
  • Selection of Commodities: maize, rice, coffee, and pork 
  • Value chain selection criteria: competitiveness, development impact, feasibility.