On the 16th of August 2018, over 40 participants from Government agencies, Research Institutes, National University of Laos and Development practitioners attended the Sub-Sector Working Group on Agro-biodiversity (SSWG-ABD). The meeting took place at the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) and was chaired by Dr Bounthong Bouahom, Director General of NAFRI, and co-chaired by Michael Jones, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Policy Officer.
The objective of this SSWG-ABD was to share experiences, knowledge and policy advises on innovative approaches for combining agriculture development and agrobiodiversity in Laos. The different presentations gave a complete overlook on the opportunities for supporting agrobiodiversity in Laos and beyond, with interventions from government bodies, research centers and private sector to present initiatives at both grass root and institutional levels.
The topics covered included policy advises through the presentation of the Policy analysis on scaling up Green Agriculture, presented by Mr Kamphou Phyoyyavong from NAFRI. The Mountain Futures initiative was introduced by Dr Xu Jianchu, from the Kunming Institute of Botany, with a fruitful discussion on the potential entry points and replicability of some concepts of the initiative in Laos.
In the second part of the SSWG-ABD, Mr Manoluck Bounsihalath from NAFRI presented the Pha Khao Lao portal, the first online platform offering solutions, tips and accurate information on native plants, tree and animal products in Laos. The portal was launched at the end of the SSWG and a stand was open to participants to get used to the online tool.
Following this, Dr Sivienkhak introduced the work of NAFRI on the Prioritization on Future Smart Food among NUS for Zero Hunger in Lao PDR. Dr Siviengkhak gave a complete presentation on the potential of promising lao vegetables with interesting nutritive values.
Finally, the session closed with a presentation from Ms Nongnut Foppes, who completed the previous presentation with experiences of Xaoban in developing markets and food products from under-utilized species. Xaoban is a social enterprise who is currently working on scaling up the potential of local and high-quality products in Laos. Xaoban had also the opportunity to present and sell some of their products at a stand during the SSWG.
Hereafter are the main presentations of the meetings that led to fruitful discussions:
- Results of the Policy analysis on scaling green agriculture by Mr Khamphou Phyoyyavong, NAFRI
- Overview of the Mountain futures initiative and potential for Laos by Dr Xu Jianchu, Kunming Institute of Botany
- Introduction and launching of Pha Khao Lao Portal by Mr Manoluck Bounsihalath, NAFRI
- Prioritization on Future Smart Food among NUS for Zero Hunger in Lao PDR by Dr Siviengkhak, NAFRI
- Developing markets and food products from under-utilized species – experiences from Xiengkhouang by Mrs Nongnut Foppes, Xaoban Food Group