October 3, 2023
VIENTIANE – Japan support resilient livelihoods of vulnerable Lao people
The government of Japan has agreed to provide financial support worth almost US$1.5 million for a project that will continuously enhance resilient livelihoods for vulnerable Lao people.
The government of Japan and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations recently signed a new grant agreement in Vientiane to support “The project for enhancing livelihood resilience in rural areas” of Laos.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by representatives of the Ministries of Agriculture and Forestry, Planning and Investment and Foreign Affairs and other government agencies.
The project is designed to strengthen the resilience of small-scale farmers and agricultural businesses in northern rural areas of Laos, according to a joint statement from FAO and the Japan government.
This is the third grant in recent years from the government of Japan for building resilient livelihoods in Laos through FAO. The government of Japan acknowledged that agriculture is a major source of income for Lao people, accounting for 70 percent of the population, and yet the sector accounts for only 16 percent of the Lao GDP.
Thus, the government of Japan envisages the need to improve productivity in Lao agriculture, while adding extra value to local agricultural products. This resulted in a series of three grants issued to enable FAO to continuously enhance the resilient livelihoods of vulnerable Lao people.
The first grant supported 4,000 most vulnerable people affected by the 2018 floods in Khammuan and Savannakhet provinces to “build back better”.
The second grant provided assistance for smallholders and socially vulnerable people to prevent the spread of Covid-19. During 2021-22, the project supported 7,000 beneficiary households in seven districts of Luang Prabang and Oudomxay provinces.
The latest grant will enable the FAO to continue supporting people in these seven districts of Luang Prabang and Oudomxay provinces, building on the successful interventions in the second grant and deepening integrated approaches for building livelihoods that are resilient to climate change and multiple other hazard risks.
The envisaged project will develop 48 “Climate Smart Village Profiles”, and scale up the adoption of climate smart good agricultural practices and participation in value chains by producer groups.
The Japanese ambassador to Laos, Mr Kenichi Kobayashi, emphasised the continuity of support to the agricultural sector, including smallholders and vulnerable people, to ensure their sustainable capacity to cope with the compounded impacts of the current economic crisis, with the weakening of the kip currency, and recurrent climate hazards in Laos.
The FAO Representative ad interim to Laos, Ms Hang Thi Thanh Pham, appreciated the tremendous support provided by the government of Japan and its citizens to the people of Laos and the long-term partnership with the FAO. She said the new grant is not only timely for supporting the most vulnerable households in overcoming multiple crises, but more importantly, it demonstrates innovative approaches in addressing the structural challenges in low-productivity agriculture and highly vulnerable dependent livelihoods.