Organisations collaborate on strategy to boost rice production in Laos

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) are collaborating under the Regional Rice Initiative (RRI) to develop communication methods to inform people about rice planting and fish breeding in rice fields.

A workshop to communicate lessons learned from the RRI, which was held in Vientiane last week, was chaired by MAF’s Planning and Finance Department Director General, Mr Xaypradeth Choulamany, and the FAO Representative to Laos, Dr Stephen Rudgard.

The RRI has supported several activities in Laos during 2014-17 that focused on the “save and grow” approach, associated good management practices applied through the Farmer Field School (FFS) and the production of aquatic resources in rice fields.

Validation and promotion trials of rice and fish farming methods have been included as part of the FFS curriculum, and small-scale production trials conducted in rural communities have produced extremely positive results.

The results of the RRI, through its work to date, provide concrete ways in which the government’s policies for rice production can be realised.

The workshop heard that MAF and FAO teams working on the RRI have been able to analyse the accumulated results of rice and fish farming to identify successful practices and key outcomes.

The teams need to develop a strategy and action plan for communicating key messages to the main stakeholders in the sector in Laos.

The RRI focuses on improving food security by identifying and promoting sustainable rice production practices that will enhance crop resilience and increase productivity. Based on the collaboration with MAF in recent years under the RRI, participants will finalise the key audiences and messages that government agencies want to deliver with additional communications support during 2017-2018.

They will decide on the relevance of communication materials already available and determine whether modifications are required or additional materials are needed. They will also agree on an action plan for finalising communication products and their dissemination.

Laos is home to one of the most diverse rice populations in the world, but most farmers still produce their crops by traditional methods.

This collaboration will help to boost new skills and knowledge on rice and fish farming to increase production and to reduce capital investments.

It will also promote environmental protection for sustainable development and green rice landscapes.  

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