Food Coalition

Inputs from HiHi-FAO Lao PDR to the corporate umbrella programme for COVID-19 response

Lao PDR was largely spared any direct impacts of the global COVID-19 crisis, mainly due to decisive containment measures imposed by the Government. Yet these measures also lead to negative impacts on the agricultural sector and on food security. Both WFP and FAO supported MAF to assess those impacts. The main findings were:

  • COVID-19 created a huge spike in unemployment (300,00-400,000) returning to countryside, falling under the poverty line (returned workers from Thailand, closure of tourism sector and many industries)
  • COVID-19 crisis aggravates an already existing food crisis: many villages in northern Laos lack rice 7 months ahead of new harvest, due to poor rains 2018-2019. People cannot find work to earn money to buy rice or other foods, widespread hunger threatens.
  • COVID-19 led to a clear drop in demand for food in urban markets (meat 30%, vegetables 40%) impacts smallholder farm producers
  • The outlook for importing inputs and exporting commodities in 2020 and beyond is unsure
  • Reduced households’ incomes may lead to less buying of food and increased malnutrition among children.

Given the already vulnerabilities due to pre-existing conditions such as drought in the northern parts of the country, general economic slowdown in the economy due to balance pf payment issues etc. The country faced repeated floods and a major accident of dam burst since 2018 that has impacted negatively on the food security and rural livelihoods situation.

Priority Areas of work: Other
SDG: 1. No Poverty, 2. Zero Hunger, 6. Clean Water and Sanitation, 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth, 10. Reduced Inequality
Level: Country
Country: Laos
Budget: USD 350 000 to USD 500 000

Action Sheet:

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