The challenges facing Northern Laos are multiplying: increasingly severe flooding, land degradation caused by deforestation and intensification of agricultural practices, as well as a dry season that begins earlier and lasts longer.
Lacking in other sources of income, the region is particularly dependent on agriculture. The two projects signed by the Lao Government and AFD aim to improve living standards and strengthen communities’ resilience.
Coffee: a promising sector for development
The PRCC coffee North project aims to develop the quality coffee sector in northern Laos. The north of the country could become a major new coffee region over the next ten years, potentially accounting for 10-15% of national production if adequate technical support is provided. It’s hoped that continuing research and the sharing of knowledge of sustainable practices will contribute to the sustainability of production and to the overall improvement of coffee quality. And it will have a direct impact on farmers’ living conditions.
“We are delighted with the signature of these two projects which will contribute, each at their own level, to the sustainable development and resilience of the populations of Northern Laos,” said Julie Gabet-Ouahioune, AFD’s Director in Laos. “AFD's involvement in the coffee sector goes back more than 20 years, historically in the Bolaven Plateau, and we are pleased to be able to extend this support.”
Further reading: Laos' increasingly sustainable coffee production
Improving adaptation to climate change
The second project (SWAN project) aims to engage local communities in participatory planning and implementation of sustainable watershed management. At the end of the project, the targeted communities should be better prepared and less vulnerable to climate change-related risks thanks to their capacity to respond sustainably to threats and to take part in the definition of solutions. Natural resources are likely to be better protected through a shared commitment, and leadership of the people living in these areas.
“AFD has been a long-standing development partner of the Lao PDR (People's Democratic Republic), providing a total of more than 270 million euro since 1994,” said Phonevanh Outhavong, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investment. “The two projects reinforce AFD’s position as one of the main contributors to the Socio-Economic Development of the Laos PDR, particularly in the area of Agriculture.”