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Laos, FAO bolstering investments in agriculture, rural development

On Feb 2, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) facilitated an Inter-Ministerial meeting on bolstering investments in the agriculture and rural development sector within the Green Growth Economic Corridor.

Development of the Green Growth Economic Corridor along the Laos-China Railway was launched in 2021 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), with support from FAO under the Hand-in-Hand Initiative (HIHI), to help further strengthen the Government of the Lao PDR’s efforts to achieve its national priorities and strategic objectives on economic growth, rural development, food and nutrition security.

This Inter-Ministerial meeting, organized in Vientiane aimed to review the progress made under Hand-in-Hand Initiative (HIHI); and to discuss the investment opportunities that arose from the HIH Investment Forum held in October 2022, as well as to start preparing for the next Investment Forum scheduled later this year in Rome. In addition to reviewing the market development opportunities for the agriculture and rural development sectors, the meeting also discussed the importance of the HIHI Taskforce in securing these potential investments status.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Thongphath Vongmany, who led the Lao Delegation to promote and attract investment interests in the Lao PDR at the Investment Forum in Rome expressed his gratitude to FAO for its support to MAF in implementing this important initiative for Lao PDR. He stated “the Government of Lao PDR with the support of FAO developed a Concept Note, which is the Blueprint of this visionary growth trajectory. The Concept Note was developed by the Government with technical support from FAO, and I am thankful to FAO for its assistance.” “I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to FAO, for their continuous support and hope that it will remain strong. I would also like to express that Government of the Lao PDR stands fully committed in facilitating private sector investment in the Lao PDR’s agriculture sector for green and equitable growth, realizing its vision under the Hand-in-Hand Initiative,” he continued.

Mr. Nasar Hayat, FAO Representative to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, noted that “the HIHI has been implemented along the Lao-China Railway, which has been in operation for over a year now. It opens up a large number of opportunities for the Lao economy particularly for the agriculture sector. The country is transforming like never before in its history. From a land-locked country, the Lao PDR has now become a land-linked country. It is also now becoming the logistics hub in the region. We can surely transform the lives of small farmers in the Lao PDR which is the primary objective of the HIHI.” “Building on the great presentation in investment opportunities by Mr. Thongphath Vongmany in Rome last year at the HIHI Investment Forum, we got a lot of very positive responses from a number of private sector/entities and multi-lateral and global banks. In this regard, I would like to humbly request you to make use of and grab this opportunity to focus and support the process to make it easy for those entrepreneurs to invest in our strategic agricultural sector and make the reality happen.”

The event was attended by Director Generals and Deputy Director Generals and other colleagues from various departments and ministries. Those are Department of Agricultural Extension and Cooperatives (DAEC), Department of Agriculture (DoA), Department of Forestry (DoF), Department of Intellectual Property, Department of Livestock and Fisheries (DLF), Department of Land (DOL) (MONRE), Department of Planning and Corporation (DOPC) (MPWT), DOPF, DOTP, DRDC, DSEMP, DTEAP, NAFRI, PRF, Department of Research and Compiling (PMO), DIC (MPI), Food and Drug Department (MOH), External Finance and Debt Management (MOF), Lao Statistic Bureau, Tourism Development Department (MOICT), Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office of Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang, Vientiane Province, and others. Other FAO colleagues and development partners were also present.

Source: Lao News Agency