U.S. Launches New Program to Improve Competitiveness of Farmers and Agricultural Microenterprises in Laos

VIENTIANE, LAOS – The United States continues to help Lao PDR strengthen the country’s agricultural sector through a broad range of programs.  Most recently, the United States and the Lao government launched the “Laos Microenterprise Project”, which is funded by the United States through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  On October 4, 2019, the Lao Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ACDI/VOCA, USAID’s implementing partner for the project.

Mr. Sypaphai Xaisongkham, Director General of Department of Technical Extension and Agro-processing, joined Ms. Sophie Walker, Chief of Party ACDI/VOCA Laos, to sign the MOU while U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Colin Crosby and Dr. Bounkhouang Khambounheaung, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, witnessed the event.

“Today’s signing reaffirms our commitment to helping the Government of Laos achieve the country’s development goals,” said Chargé d’Affaires Crosby.  “For both the United States and Laos, agriculture is essential for our economies and is an important part of both of our cultures.  We are proud to support the Lao agricultural sector and boost the country’s trade and economic growth through its microenterprises.”

This five-year project focuses on developing efficient, effective, and competitive agricultural microenterprises that will help farmers operate on business principles.  Implemented in Xieng Khouang Province, the project will train farmers and agricultural microenterprises to respond to market needs, increase market linkages, and improve access to finance.  This program has invested more than $6,937,000 over five years, and is the latest in a long series of efforts to support the Lao agricultural sector.  With this new investment, the United States is currently supporting two multi-year agriculture assistance programs, worth more than $15,900,000.

In addition to this project, the United States also works in partnership with the government and citizens of Laos in many areas to improve education, promote health and nutrition, facilitate trade and investment, and strengthen the rule of law.