Team Europe, Laos work together to improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Malnutrition rates in Laos have fallen in recent years, but remain high in international comparison.

Laos’ Development Partners are supporting the government to implement the National Nutrition Strategy and Plan of Action.

The Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture Project (NUSAP) is a joint initiative of the European Union, France and the Government of the Lao PDR. It is part of the European Joint Programming in alignment with the National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2016-2020.

The objective of the project is to promote improved food and nutrition security through better knowledge of the components of good nutrition combined with sustainable agriculture in selected districts in Luang Prabang, Luang Namtha, Phongsaly and Huaphan.

The project activities are organized with the aim of changing behaviour to improve nutrition practices and status.

The project has worked in the same villages as the SCALING project. Under this “convergent” approach, SCALING has provided complementary advice to communities on mother and child health care and improved hygiene, according to Ms Chansouk Chanthanon, Head of Pak Ou Agriculture and Forestry Office.

“Sio village, Pak Ou district, Luang Prabang has 58 families, to which the NUSAP provides two types of grants to target villages. Firstly, the “household” grant of LAK 1 million is for 1,000 days families. Typically, these activities involve poultry-raising, vegetable cultivation and fish farming. In addition, village “collective” grants are designed to benefit the whole community and improve food security and nutrition,” said Head of the Village,” Ms Bouachan Phongsavanh.

The most popular use of the collective grants is the establishment of rice banks that help communities cope with periodic shortages of rice.

There has been a significant increase in knowledge about nutrition and meal preparation. Women are particularly keen to adopt practices that will improve the health of their children. Cooking practices are changing as a result of project advice.

“My family received LAK 1 million for poultry-raising, which helps improve living conditions in my family,” said Ms Bounly Chittavong.

“The Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture Project” is an example of France’s and EU collaboration in Laos,” said French Ambassador to Laos, Ms. Siv-Leng Chhuor.

“France in Laos seeks to act as closely as possible to the populations and to meet their most pressing needs, Therefore, NUSAP project is based on thorough analysis of Lao food and nutrition situation and targeting the most vulnerable population in the most vulnerable provinces,” said the Ambassador.

The general objective of NUSAP is to improve Food & Nutrition Security, and to promote Sustainable Agriculture, with, as main target, the improvement of the nutritional status of the most nutrition-sensitive populations, that are young children, and pregnant & lactating women. By 2023, the project targets the distribution of 9,000 farmer grants and 150 collective grants for an amount of more than 1.6 million euros.

Source: Lao News Agency