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Brazil and Lao PDR collaborate to improve Contract Farming practices


FAO facilitates a training workshop this week in Vientiane on operational and legal aspects of Contract Farming schemes

19/05/2017 - 

16 May 2017, Vientiane (Lao PDR) – Contract farming can be an attractive option to farmers who want to assure market access and support production. The agroindustry and buyers can guarantee supply through contracts under specific conditions that suit them. CF often also leads to economies of scale, which can be of potential benefit for national economies.

For this reason, 25 provincial and district agricultural officers and farmers, from four target provinces of Lao PDR, received training this week on CF practices from Dr Carlos A. da Silva, Professor at the University of Viçosa, Minais Gerais, Brazil, and Mr Teemu Viinikainen, Expert at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Lao’s office for Foreign Direct Investment has been in touch with the National Agriculture and Forestry Policy Research Institute (NAFRI) regarding the nature of the contracts being developed, and the Department of Agricultural Extension and Cooperatives (DAEC) was also consulted. “The aim of this workshop is to strengthening the capacities of the provincial agricultural officers and farmers to obtain benefits from fair contract farming arrangement,” said Mr Somxay Sisanonh, Deputy Director General of DAEC during the opening session of the training workshop on operational and legal aspects of contract farming schemes that started today at the DAEC office.

“We are trying to come up with a valid model for contract farming in Laos, because the model is not always appropriate at the moment,” added Mr Somxay Sisanonh.

The Lao Government requested support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United (FAO), which facilitated a connection between Brazilian experts on contract farming and the Lao Authorities through its South-South Cooperation Unit. “I believe that our Brazilian experience to be very rich and valuable,” said Carlos A. da Silva, who is facilitating the workshop.

FAO facilitation

“FAO knowledge networks allow the Organization to match offer and demand of development solutions, to broker possibilities of cooperation among different countries,” said Mr Chanthalath Pongmala, Deputy Director of the FAO office in Lao PDR, during the opening remarks of the workshop.

Professor da Silva said there is no institution in the realm of food and agriculture that is, thanks to its networks, in a better position than FAO to facilitate this kind of cooperation.

Mr Pongmala also explained that the SSC model, based on “solidarity among equals”, is a “great delivery mechanism to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, which are the main drivers of our action”.

Workshop

From Tuesday, 16 May, until Friday, 19 May 2017, 25 farmers learnt how to better integrate to markets, in order to establish fairer and more efficient agricultural and food systems in the country.

“The workshop aimed to illustrate to participants how to better organize their value chains through fair and efficient CF, both for the farmers and the agroindustry”, explained Professor da Silva.

The outcome of this workshop will be integrated into the IFAD-WFP-FAO project for “Strategic Support for Food Security and Nutrition” and allow the identification of priority areas for the technical support under contract farming for the next two years.

Study Tour in Brazil

Before this workshop, Messrs Souvanthong Navong, Deputy Director at DAEC, and Phanxay Ingxay, Deputy Director at the Agriculture and Forestry Policy Research Centre, participated in a study tour conducted and coordinated by Professor da Silva, across different regions in Brazil.

“They had the opportunity to understand which agroindustry sectors in Brazil is CF working well, as well as the different ways to relate farmers to markets in a wide range of sectors, from apples to swine”, explained Professor da Silva.

“We went to Brazil to learn about good CF practices, because Brazil is the most popular and successful. We brought many lessons learnt back to Lao and we would like to share Professor da Silva’s knowledge with local farmers these days”, said Mr Navong.