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Agriculture experts take stock of development policies

A meeting of the Sector Working Group on Agriculture and Rural Development to discuss agricultural issues took place at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Vientiane on Tuesday.
The meeting took stock of the significant implementation of sectorrelated actions under the working group, as well as issues such as the outbreak of fall armyworm caterpillars and African swine fever in Laos, which affected sweetcorn crops and pig herds.

Participants also discussed the upcoming agriculture census, which will contribute to the formulation of the next five year agriculture and forestry development plan.
The meeting was chaired by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr Phouang Parisack Pravongviengkham, and cochaired by the Ambassador of France to Laos, Ms Florence Jeanblanc-Risler, and Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations to Laos, Mr Nasar Hayat.
Participants from various government departments including high-level steering committees, members of the sector working group, and representatives from Lao farmer networks and international civil society organisations attended the meeting. 
The meeting provided an opportunity for the Sector Working Group on Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat and all stakeholders to report on the implementation of sector-related activities and discuss the agriculture census.
The census will be the basis for making informed and evidence-based decisions to address challenges relating to food, agriculture, climate change and economic growth.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Dr Phouang said “Policy and management responses to help smallholders tackle the imminent threats of biosecurity issues such as the fall armyworm and African swine fever outbreaks, and to mitigate their negative impact on rural livelihoods, are urgently needed”.
Co-chair Mr Hayat said “It is high time to transform agriculture from subsistence activity to the driver of economic growth. FAO stands ready to support the government and the people of Laos in achieving this.”
The Sector Working Group on Agriculture and Rural Development supports the coordination and implementation of the National Socio-Economic Development Plan and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals relevant to the sector.

By Visith Teppalath
(Latest Update September 4, 2019)

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