The Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP)

An Innovation Fair to broker partnerships for capacity development for agricultural innovation systems, Vientiane (Laos), May 2017

At the Innovation Fair held Vientiane, Lao PDR, on 19 May 2017, representatives of CDAIS Laos innovation niches presented their needs for capacity development to an audience of development organizations, private sector, funding agencies and national government and service providers.

Following a National Validation Workshop held on 17 May 2017, the Innovation Fair was organized with the objective of brokering partnerships for effective capacity development for agricultural innovation. The Innovation Fair event brought together a range of different initiatives, projects, and partners that are supporting the development of agricultural innovation systems in Lao PDR. Participants from both the innovation niches and other organizations could compare and understand each other’s capacities and resources, as well as creating synergies based on the partners’ organizational experiences and current complementary activities.

The Innovation Fair was opened by the H.E. Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr Phouangparisak Pravongviengkham who stressed the issue of upscaling of innovation and the importance of supporting value chain development through policies and investments. He also emphasized the need to focus on capacity development of the private sector for agricultural innovation.

The groups involved in the CDAIS Laos project are: the Supported and Export Agri-Products Association in Savannakhet province; the Organic Vegetable Association of Vientiane; the Integrated Cattle Breeding Chain in Vientiane province; the Integrated Agro-ecology Rice Field System to Balance Smallholders’ Protein Diet; and the Women Farmers’ Strategy to Develop Lao Pork, the Organic Vegetable Production in Thongmang village (Farmer Network). They stated that improving business and marketing skills are a priority.  Other capacity needs identified were improving capacity to collaborate (limited collaboration and linkages with local technical advisors), to manage and provide leadership and to engage in strategic and political processes (limited capacity to negotiate loans and contracts with banks, traders, markets). During the event, interactions among innovation niche representatives and development partners were fostered and opportunities for new partnerships in the areas needed support have been identified.

The Innovation Fair and preceding capacity development assessment in Laos PDR is part of the Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems (CDAIS) project, a global initiative in support of the action plan of the Tropical Agricultural Platform (TAP). This project, funded by the European Union, is jointly implemented in Laos by FAO and Agrinatura/CIRAD, and the National Agricultural and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

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