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Swiss to extend agro-biodiversity initiative in Laos

Publication Date : 20-06-2012

 

The Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) will provide Laos US$6.3 million to continue the work of the Agro-Biodiversity Initiative (Tabi) project.

Phase II of the Tabi project will extend over another four years from July 2012 to June 2016 in Luang Prabang, Xieng Khuang, Huaphan and Vientiane provinces, with some southern provinces to be included at a later stage.

The central steering committee from the relevant sectors within the ministries of agriculture and forestry and natural resources and the environment gathered in Vientiane yesterday to assess the achievements of the initiative so far and discuss the work plan for the second phase.

At the meeting, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Dr Ty Phommasak urged the central committee to focus on developing priority villages by transferring the funding to district level officials responsible for implementing the project activities.

“We also want to appoint technical staff from central or provincial levels to work in local offices to exact improvements in priority areas and produce better outcomes for local communities,” he said.

The overall goal for the project is to contribute to poverty alleviation and improve the livelihoods of upland communities through sustainable management and use of agro-biodiversity in multi-functional landscapes, according to project information.

Phase II will reach more than 15,000 farmers directly and indirectly through its agro-biodiversity-based livelihood sub-projects and forest and land use planning approach, with the farmers being targeted primarily from upland ethnic communities.

The project will also engage in training programmes with a range of government organisations, non-profit associations and private sector actors.

Phase I was undertaken within 13 development village groups totalling 104 villages in Phoukoud district, Xieng Khuang province, and Phonxay district, Luang Prabang province.

Total $4.5 million in funding was provided by the SDC, while the Lao government contributed $1.7 million towards the project, which ran from April 2009 to June 2012.

he project benefited more than 8,000 families, of which 2,200 families were classified as poor.

Some activities are now being expanded to other districts in Luang Prabang and Xieng Khuang provinces, namely Viengkham, Ngoy, Xieng Nguen, Chomphet, Nam Bak, Thathoum, Khoun and Kham.

The project is also being expanded to Hom district in Vientiane province and Viengxay and Xam Neua districts in Huaphan province.

In the second phase, Tabi will continue to carry out field-level activities in an expanded area, using and refining the tools and approaches developed in the first phase.

This will verify and confirm the validity of the tools and approaches across a wider range of locations, building a solid base of evidence to enable more agro-biodiversity supportive policy making and development practices.

 

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