#IFADGC - Lao Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Forestry calls for better cooperation among Governments and Development Partners to support Smallholder

In occasion of the 35th IFAD Governing Council in Rome on 23 February 2012, Dr Phouang Parisak Pravongviengkham, Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of the Lao PDR, has emphasized clearly that there is a true need for Governments and development partners to cooperate and collaborate in a more coordinated manner and to learn the lessons of past failures and challenges to support the development of more viable production systems for smallholder farmers.
Investing in farmers means to provide them with the needed policy and legal environment, assist them with the means to build a viable and resilient economy, helping connecting them to markets, making sure they have secure land tenure and access to fair contracts and information, and improving the reach of services for health, education and extension. It also means making sure they have access to credit and that local businesses are supported which can buy their products or provide them back with inputs and services.

The Government of Lao PDR has actively engaged itself in promoting strong smallholders’ groups with the creation of different forms and levels of farmers’ organizations which we believe would serve as key institutions to realize national policies to engage in a more viable and environmentally friendly agricultural systems’ practice.

The Vice-Minister has expressed his special thanks to IFAD for the continued active role in the Lao PDR in helping his country to eradicating poverty. He has also added that Lao PDR will continue with its pledge to the 9th Replenishment as in the past. He considers IFAD as a good model in assisting his country to forge stronger intra- and inter-sectoral and also cross-border type of technical and economic cooperation. This has immediate positive impact to reducing poverty along the border areas, home of most poor in the region.