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Major int’l boost planned for agricultural development

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) plans to approve significant new financial assistance to implement a project in rural areas focusing on boosting commercial production.
The project, as part of ongoing assistance, will run from 2020-2026 at a cost of US$30 million with the funding expected to be approved this year.
An official revealed the details to the media as IFAD President Mr Gilbert F. Houngbo and his delegation checked on project progress in Xieng Khuang province this week.

“We are here to visit our project that we run with our colleagues from the UN system, particularly with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP),” he said.
“In this village we are visiting I am quite impressed by the level of commitment by the farmers and the villagers themselves and they do believe in what they are doing.”
“The second thing that impresses me is the structural organisation; they are very much on top of things, which is reflected in the results. The children are very much benefitting from more nutritional food,” he added.
Nutrition is a big problem for Laos but many other countries are trying to deal with the same challenge, Mr Houngbo noted.
“We will now hold discussions with the government about bringing products to market and making sure that we can not only improve nutrition but can make sure that women are more closely integrated in household income generation.”
While in Xieng Khuang, Mr Houngbo will interact with project participants to learn how they benefit from the IFAD intervention and about the challenges they are facing. This information will be a useful reference for IFAD in improving its aid projects in Laos.
A resident who benefited from the IFAD project in San village, Kham district, Mrs Bounchanh Somphachanh, said “The project has benefited many families including my own. The project helps to improve food security and our children now have better nutrition and good health. It has helped them to grow and develop.”
“I would like the IFAD project to continue to enhance the capacity of farmers to produce crops and poultry for market sale so we can earn more income,” she said.
IFAD began operations in Laos in 1978 and has implemented 15 projects, investing US$156 million and directly benefitting 329,775 households. Currently, three projects are ongoing.
IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience.
Since 1978, IFAD has provided US$20.9 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 483 million people.

By Keoviengkhone Bounviseth
(Latest Update July 25, 2019)

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