Committed to save Lao for the future generations, Mr. Khamtanh Thadavong, Deputy Director General of Department of Agriculture (DOA) said ‘Clean Agriculture’ is the key.
Mr. Khamtanh explained the concept of the Clean Agriculture implemented in his country intertwine Organic Agriculture (OA) and Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) by taking into account economic, social and environmental perspectives when crops are produced.
In Lao PDR, agricultural inputs such as bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides have gained more attention due to concerns of impacts on environment, natural resources and human health.
Currently, the Lao government has pushed the ‘Clean Agriculture’ as a national agenda evident from its endorsement of Development Strategy of the Crop Sector 2025 and Vision 2030. The plans will focus on food security, improvement of agricultural goods and forestry reservation. The Lao Government also plans to increase the OA and GAP farms to 70,000 and 100,000 by 2025, respectively.
Mr. Khamtanh of Lao’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry added that there had been a strategy that limited a chemical use to complement those plans. He said the strategy had become binding because it had already been endorsed as a national policy by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.
However, to translate the Clean Agriculture into reality, the government was facing a number of challenges. To name a few, he said low quality of inputs for bio-fertilizer productions cause a slow progress in Lao’s pest management. Good understanding of the sustainable production on the ground level is also another issue because, at the moment, Lao has limited capacity and resources.
He stated: “In this respect, Lao PDR thanks GIZ for the support given to us. As supported by the ASEAN SAS [ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems] Lao experts along with those from other ASEAN Member States are trained together on sustainable agriculture to improve our capacity in both biological control agents and soil and nutrient management.”
Mr. Khamtanh further stated that the Lao government is emphasizing on the use of technologies to increase productivity in the agricultural productions and prevent risks posed by climate change.
“We are facing yearly natural disasters, which is one of the main challenges to implement the Clean Agriculture in Lao,” said Mr. Khamtanh.
In the past years, Lao has been increasingly exposed to disastrous flooding causing many casualties.
A selection of high seed quality, well-planned water management, and a communication platform of a farmer cooperative are also tapped by the Lao government.
“At present, DOA is doing everything with its best and little by little. We promise that our grandchildren and even great-grandchildren will benefit from our plenty natural resources,” the Deputy Director General of Lao’s DOA said.
By Patamasiri Hoonthong and Rojana Manowalailao, ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems