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Regional project’s new financing benefits Lao agroecology, safe food system

Laos is set to benefit from €12 million in funding for a regional project to support the transition of food and agricultural production towards more sustainable systems in Southeast Asia.
The signing of an agreement for the financing of the Agroecology and Safe Food System Transitions (ASSET) project took place recently at the Residence of France in Vientiane.

Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Director in Laos, Matthieu Bommier; Laos Country Representative of the NGO GRET, Arnaud Vontobel; and representative for the European Union (EU) in Laos, Bryan Fornari signed the agreement in the presence of French Ambassador to Laos, Florence Jeanblanc-Risler.
AFD is supporting the ASSET project with a €5 million grant and the EU will also finance the project with €7 million delegated to AFD, according to a press release from the ceremony organiser.
The five-year project (2020-2025) will be implemented by Group For Research and Technology Exchanges (GRET) and French Agricultural Research and International Cooperation Organisation (CIRAD). The organisations will mobilise the expertise of 27 national, European and international partners, including the Ministries of Agriculture of the four target countries, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
The project aims to harness the potential of agroecology to support the transition of food and agricultural systems towards more sustainable systems in Southeast Asia, particularly in Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.
The AFD and EU contribution will support the agroecological transition process through the strengthening of the regional multi-stakeholder network.
“The particularity of the ASSET project is that it has been designed with an integrated approach to activate various levers of agroecological transition and food systems through three spheres: firstly, ‘technico-economic’ to develop and promote adequate and efficient agricultural and market practices; secondly ‘political’ to raise awareness of the stakes and advantages of integrating agroecological approaches into public policies; and finally ‘societal’ to strengthen citizens’ and consumers’ demand for food products that take better account of environmental and social sustainability as well as food safety,” explained Arnaud Vontobel, GRET’s Country Representative in Laos.
AFD Regional Director for Southeast Asia, Yazid Bensaïd said, “The transition towards sustainable agricultural systems is at the heart of AFD’s action in Southeast Asia. In a context marked by the Covid-19 crisis, it is all the more important to develop solutions to strengthen food security in the region, without however compromising the efforts that have been made in terms of respect for the environment”.
Meanwhile, Mr Bryan Fornari, Head of Cooperation to the European Union Delegation to Laos, noted that “Current food production systems are responsible for significant carbon emissions, contributing to global warming and climate change. The transition to more sustainable food systems is extremely important worldwide considering that it is expected that nearly 10 billion people will live on the earth in 2050,”
Lao officials witnessing the signing ceremony included Deputy Director General of Department of Agriculture and Land Management, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Dr Saphangthong Thateva.


By Times Reporters
(Latest Update August 7, 2020)

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