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Updated November 1999

Empowering the rural disabled
in Asia and the Pacific


Disabled women in rural areas of the region, by Fameedah Wahab

The status of motor disabled people within the agricultural and rural sector in Cambodia, by Marc Bonnet

People with a disability: Cambodia, R. Lindsay Semple

Disabled people in rural areas of Lao PDR, by Johanne Hanko

Motor and upper limb disabled people in the agricultural industry in Sri Lanka, by C. Siriwardene

Blind disabled people and the Thailand rural economy, by Prayat Punong-ong

Thailand: Mushroom training for disabled people

Disabled people in rural areas of Vietnam, Part 1, by Dr. Ho Nhu Hai

Disabled people in rural areas of Vietnam, Part 2, by Johanne Hanko

The "Midas Touch" of food and agro-industries for income generation by disabled people, by Alastair Hicks

Adaptive techniques for horticultural crops production by disabled people, by Narong Chomchalow

Strategies for the rural disabled, by Johanne Hanko

See also our Database on the rural disabled


by Soetatwo Hadiwigeno
FAO Assistant Director General
and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific

AMONG THE MARGINALIZED and vulnerable populations in the Asia and Pacific Region, the condition of disabled rural people is probably the most difficult. As many as 70-80% of disabled people are farmers and rural workers, or disabled soldiers who have returned to the land. In order to alleviate the poverty they face, these people need to capitalize on any special capacity, skills or knowledge they have in order to start a new livelihood. These include, wheel-chair farming, small implement-making, repair shop management, blacksmithing, hydroponic and aeroponic greenhouse horticulture, apiculture or bee-keeping, sericulture or silk making, vermiculture or worm production, small scale food preparation and processing. These individuals constitute FAO's primary target as we focus on this challenging field. FAO's mandate provides an overarching commitment to include rural disabled people in farm and non-farm employment opportunities and in programmes for:

In May 1997, FAO sponsored a Round Table Meeting on the "Integration of Disabled People in Agricultural and Agro-industry Systems", held in Bangkok. During this Round Table Meeting, substantial issues were considered, including the status of rural disabled women, disabled persons in agricultural systems, sensorially disabled persons in rural areas, motor, visually and mentally disabled persons in agriculture, and accident prevention in rural areas. FAO has now started on the path of developing articulated policies and strategies for improving the poverty alleviation and income generating capacities of the rural disabled, an important sector of the rural poor.

The meeting demonstrated FAO's concern and commitment to support the objectives of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002 in more concrete and visible way. The result of the deliberations and the guidelines developed for the Integration of the Disabled in Agriculture and Agro Industries will break new ground in improving rural development and combating rural poverty.

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