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Hosted by the IFAD – Rural Livelihood Improvement Programme (RLIP), the second edition of the 5-days Learning Route on Pro-Rural Poor Public and Private Partnership started yesterday the 6th of May in Lao PDR.
As small streams coming from 5 different provinces from Southern Laos (Champasak, Salavan, Attapeu, Savanakeli, Sekon), the 19 participants(18 female, 1 man) of this Learning Route are flowing onto a “River of Learning “, starting to know each other.  In the next days, they will travel to learn about the key elements behind the success of public private partnership able to ensure a long-term and sustainable access to market.

As the participants’ pointed out during  the first day these are indeed one of the major challenges for small-producers in Laos: poor infrastructure to connect villages to market centers in the rural areas, prices fluctuation , the lack of knowledge on market dynamics, low marketing skills to promote and sell are amongst the main obstacles producers have to face. These constraints should be also considered within a broader socio-economic context affected by the migration abroad  of rural youth, the lack of capital to start new businesses and a weak networking with the private sector. However, despite these difficulties, poor rural farmers can still count on the richness of the country’s natural resources, availability of labour force and the strong presence of governmental programmes supporting them in accessing to new markets. Moreover, the demand for organic foods, handicrafts and other natural products is increasing, opening up new business opportunities for poor rural people.

The Learning route will be completed on the 10th of May when the participants will shape their innovative ideas into innovation plans for the benefit of their community and their project.
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Photo with the asparagus producers champions in Darkhied, Sansai district, Lao PDR

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