VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has entered into public-private partnerships under an AIF Group project to foster market-driven innovations in production, processing, marketing, and market access in agricultural value chains.
The AIF cooperation agreements were signed recently by representatives of the Thaxang Organic Production Cooperative, Mekong Lao Export/Import and Lao Best Brand Group, Organic Home Laos, Mai Savanh Lao, and Frank Tibitanzl from GIZ, Coordinator for the Asean AgriTrade Project in Laos.
The signings were witnessed by the Director General of the Agriculture Department, Chantha Thipphavongphanh.
The partnerships will focus on preparations for additional AIF project ideas in Champassak and Luang Namtha provinces.
The scheme involves selected farmer associations and private-sector companies who will carry out innovative project ideas concerning sun-dried fruit, organic fertiliser, international sustainability standards and international market access for Lao agri-food products.
There will also be studies on a digital approach to enable producers/smallholder farmers and end-consumers of organic vegetables to be better connected.
The AIF is part of the Promoting Sustainable Agricultural Value Chains in Asean project (Asean AgriTrade).
This is a regional project in cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) being implemented in Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Cooperation will strengthen the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s agricultural production to meet the increasing demand for fresh produce both in Laos and for export.
The ministry recently stressed the need to urgently fulfil the national agenda and the resolutions on the five-year agricultural, forestry and rural development plan for 2021-2025. Laos’ main export markets are China, Thailand, Vietnam, and the European Union.
The government has predicted that the agriculture sector will grow by 2.8 per cent this year, so long as there are no more extreme weather events.
Experts on agricultural production say there is increasing demand for quality agricultural produce from international markets, so there are export opportunities for Laos’ agricultural products.