Two projects have been implemented in Lao PDR:

Enhancing Food Security through Sustainable Management Plan for Non-Wood Forest Product

COUNTRY/REGION: Lao People’s Democratic Republic
DURATION: 2006-2007

PROJECT OBJECTIVES and DESCRIPTION: In 2003, the Government of Lao, with lead technical assistance from FAO, developed a comprehensive National Agricultural Biodiversity Programme (NABP) to act as a framework and a long-term strategy for implementing a coordinated approach to better using, developing and conserving agricultural biodiversity. The NABP was endorsed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) in 2004, and selected activities from the NABP have been implemented by the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) and its research centers, through the FAO-Netherlands Partnership Programme (FNPP) support.

The FAO-Netherlands Partnership Programme aims at enhancing food security through sustainable use of NWFP. It is important to understand the strong links that exist between food security, forest foods, and resource conservation and to incorporate this into sustainable village forest management strategies. In this context, the specific project objectives were:

  • demonstrate to policy makers the importance of NWFP biodiversity for food security and poverty alleviation, the need to integrate the NWFPs into forest management plan to ensure the long term access to food for the rural community and prove the usefulness of the Market Analysis and Development (MA&D) approach
  • demonstrate to local community the importance of NWFP biodiversity in regards to the socio-economic development of the village (food, culture, medicine, incomes).


  • Government of Lao PDR, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) and its research centers, and the FAO-Netherlands Partnership Programme (FNPP)
  • Village communities

ACTIVITIES: The project, implemented in the Savannakhet province, applied the Market Analysis and Development (MA&D) approach and used other methods and tools to carry out the specific activities such as:

  • Impact assessment on agro biodiversity and food security (nutrition and economic impacts) of forest conversion to rubber plantation in Nathomkhok village.
  • NWFPs management plan in Khon Khen, Sa Le Tai and Aluay kham noi villages where they have shared forest borders in collaboration with SUFORD activities in this District.
  • Nutrition study in collaboration with Institute of public health, Ministry of Public Health.


  • Integration of NWFP resources into forest management plans for food security and sustainable socio-economic development of the villages
  • Better understanding of existing NWFP relevant to food security and sustainable livelihoods
  • Better understanding of human management of and economic markets for NWFP contributing to food security and sustainable livelihoods
  • Demonstrate sustainable and profitable participatory management (harvesting, processing, marketing, domestication and cultivation) of NWFP at pilot project field sites (both sedentary and rotational cultivation).

-Enhancing Food Security through Sustainable Management plan for Non-Wood Forest Products
-The Contribution of NABP activity on Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFPs) to National policies relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of NWFPs of Agricultural
-The importance, role and value of Non -Wood Forest Product for Laotian food Security, nutrition and livelihoods
-Enhancing Food Security Through Sustainable Management Plan For Non-Wood Forest Products

Marketing system development for non-wood forest products in Lao

COUNTRY/REGION: Lao People’s Democratic Republic
DURATION: 2004-2006

PROJECT OBJECTIVES  and DESCRIPTION: In Lao PDR, where 41 percent of the national territory is covered by forests and 80 percent of the population lives in rural areas, the role of major natural resources is up to non-wood forest products (NWFPs). The conservation and sustainable utilisation of these products are important issues to address, due to their fundamental role in food security and in daily livelihoods. The project was directly related to these matters, having the objective of assisting the Government of Lao PDR in its efforts to reduce rural poverty in the country and to promote sustainable forest management through the environmentally friendly, socially equitable and economically viable use of NWFP.
The aim was to enable local communities to identify potential products and establish a model for developing marketing systems for priority NWFP, through the use of the Market Analysis & Development (MA&D) approach.
Developing and strengthening environmentally and socio-economically sound NWFP enterprises and improving knowledge of their markets, provide income as well as incentives to local communities to manage NWFP resources in a more sustainable way and therefore contribute in reducing the pressure on existing natural forest resources.


  • The Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), the Forest Research Center, the National Agriculture Forest Research Institute (NAFRI) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
  • Village communities

ACTIVITIES: The MA&D trainings were implemented in the selected six villages distributed in three districts: Ban Longlead and Ban Houay Hia villages located in Xiengnung District, in the Northern province of Luang-Prabang; Ban Nathong and Ban Alouay Kham Noy villages located in The Phin District, in the Southern province of Savannakhet; and Ban Lak 29 and Ban Heua kheua villages located in Pathoumpone District, in the Southern province of Champasack.

The project also collaborated with a number of projects operating in the three selected districts:

  • In Luang Prabang with the Forest Management and Community Support Project (FORCOM), the CIAT (Sadu project) and the Upland Agriculture and Forestry Research Project supported by SIDA. The above projects have a focus on NWFP marketing. Coordination with the other FAO project on fruit and vegetable (GCP-LAO-013-ITA) was ensured through communication between the team members;
  • In Savannakhet with the Sustainable Forest Development (SUFORD) supported by WB-Finland Government, and with the Village Development Programme, supported by the Belgium Technical Cooperation (BTC);
  • In Champassak, with SUFORD, INGO GAPE and INGO Village Focus International (VFI).

ACHIEVEMENTS AND OUTCOMES: This project had the following impacts:

  • Poverty alleviation. The MA&D approach resulted in the establishment of ten pilot NWFP village enterprise groups (involving 239 people) for rattan, bamboo handicrafts, paper mulberry and mushroom production activities, creating employment and income for local residents. The benefits from sales of NWFPs varied from village to village, and the additional income was invested in the enterprises and used for buying food and paying school fees and medical expenses. Additionally, village development funds were set up in order to fill the gap in financial services and help villagers implement the pilot enterprises.
  • Environment. The project helped local communities gain more benefits from NWFPs while, at the same time, practising sustainable harvesting and production of them. It favoured an increase in some NWFP resources through plantation under natural forest and agroforestry. There was an improvement in rattan, paper mulberry and bamboo harvesting methods, which link extraction rates to the availability of the resource. A villagers’ establishment of village forest management plans came out as one of the consequences of the increased environmental knowledge and awareness of NWFP biodiversity and its role in alleviating poverty among national and provincial policy-makers.
  • Governance/Policy. Recognizing the importance of NWFPs in alleviating poverty and supporting national economic development, the Government of Lao PDR has further developed a process of change in its policy direction, enacted the relevant legal framework, and strengthened institutions to support this.
  • Curriculum development. The National University of Lao PDR (NUOL) was involved in specific project research activities and collaborated with NAFRI. This resulted in efforts to integrate MA&D principles and tools in the university’s courses from 2007.

RELATED LINKS AND DOCUMENTS: A case study on Lao PDR project has been developed in order to share the successful experiences obtained. To access this case study, please click here. For additional information, please consult the (Web story).

last updated:  Wednesday, September 24, 2014