Writer: Duangruetai Surasakjinda, ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems
Food and nutrition security remains a priority agenda for the government of Lao PDR. The Lao government has shown its commitment in addressing food and nutrition security in the country by recently launching the National Zero Hunger Challenge aiming to eradicate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. At ASEAN level, Lao PDR engaged in the development process of the ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework and the Strategic Plan of Action on Food and Nutrition Security in the ASEAN Region (SPA-FS) which provide scope and joint pragmatic approaches for cooperation among ASEAN Member States in addressing food security in the region.
At the national level, Lao PDR has developed and implemented a number of policies and strategies to strengthen food and nutrition security, namely the Agricultural Development Strategy to 2025 and Vision to 2030, the National Rice Production for National Food Security Strategy, Development Strategy of the Crop Sector 2025 and Vision 2030, and the National Nutrition Strategy and Plan of Action for 2010-2015.
One of the key recommendations from the Policy Dialogue on Food and Nutrition Security and the ASEAN Integrated Food Security Framework in Lao PDR which ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (ASEAN SAS) organised in collaboration with the Lao Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) on 10 July 2015 in Vientiane is the need for capacity development of government officials and farmers at both national and local levels to ensure effective implementation of relevant food and nutrition security policies and strategies in Lao PDR.
In line with the project strategy to enable ASEAN Member States to implement the AIFS Framework at national level, ASEAN SAS works with Lao government to strengthen capacity of its personnel on food and nutrition security in order to develop and implement effective policies and strategies addressing food and nutrition security in Lao PDR.
The Training on Food and Nutrition Security in Lao PDR co-organised by Department of Agriculture and ASEAN SAS on 5-9 October 2015 aimed to create understanding and enhance knowledge on food and nutrition security and strengthen facilitation skills of participants. 17 young and motivated officials from line Ministries including the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Sport, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and National University of Laos have participated in the training. It is expected that these trainees shall take part in future activities of Lao government to strengthen provincial and district-level capacity in improving food and nutrition security situation of Lao PDR.