Lao PDR

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Using innovative ways to increase Food Security and Promote Licit Crop Production as well as develop Small Farmer Enterprises in the Lao PDR

Vientiane, September 3rd 2012 - Innovative practices are being introduced to increase food security in Oudomxay by this UNODC project. These practices also address the lack of arable land by using intensive production methods. Alternative livelihood assistance including micro credit, rural infrastructure, capacity building and drug demand reduction are provided to former opium poppy cultivating communities linking to key government policies and strategies. The project has been able to introduce many innovative technologies in partnership with the Royal Projects of Thailand and the Highland Research and Development Institute of Thailand. This cooperation has visibly resulted in improving household incomes and the quality of life for former opium poppy farmers in the project villages.

The Inception Workshop for the second phase of the Project "Increasing Food Security and Promoting Licit Crop Production and Small Farmer Enterprise Development in Lao PDR and Myanmar (XSPK 26)" was organized on 24 August 2012 in Oudomxay Province. A total of 29 key stakeholders participated. The one day workshop was co-chaired by Madame Somly Souphanthong, Vice Governor of Oudomxay Province, Mr. Kou Chansina, acting Chairperson of the Lao National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision and Mr. Leik Boonwaat, UNODC Deputy Regional Representative and Country Representative for the Lao PDR.

The project's policy, objectives, outcomes, outputs and Rapid Rural Appraisal survey results as well as future work plans were presented and discussed in the workshop.

This is a second phase of the project which is generously funded by the German Government. An additional US$ 1,265,721 was provided for the second phase project to cover a total of 8,820 people (4,053 female), 1,445 household in 17 new villages in three districts of Oudomxay province. This is in addition to the 30 villages from phase one. The phase one was implemented from 2010-2011 and the phase two will be implemented for an additional two years from 2012.

During the workshop the provincial authorities gave their full commitment to ensure effective coordination, ownership and participation to support and effectively implement the project activities. Workshop participants also visited project sites in Xay and La diustricts and discussed improved livelihood alternatives with pilot farmers. Best practices from this project will help other similar projects in the Lao PDR and the region to achieve their goals.