FAO in Lao People's Democratic Republic

25th Sector Working Group on Agriculture and Rural Development Meeting


On November 1, 2023 - The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in cooperation with the Embassy of France to Lao PDR and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations organized the 25th Sector Working Group on Agriculture and Rural Development meeting in Vientiane. 


The purpose of this meeting is to provide a platform for stakeholders in the agriculture and rural development sector to review and discuss the progress made over the past year, share insights on key challenges encountered, and identify priorities for 2024 based on thematic and sectoral issues. Through open and constructive dialogue, the meeting gained a deeper understanding of the successes and shortcomings of our efforts, and develop actionable recommendations for improving our programs and initiatives moving forward. In addition to these objectives, the meeting also offers an opportunity to discuss the role of the SWG-ARD in contributing to the Mid-Term Review of the 9th National Social-Economic Development Plan (9th NSEDP 2021-2025) of Lao PDR which is in the same timeline of the Agriculture Development Strategy 2025. 


His Excellency Thongphath VONGMANY, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, highlighted the importance of the Sector Working Group on Agriculture and Rural Development and encouraged frank and constructive discussion over key policy issues which are important for further enhancing the effectiveness of the sector and its related sub-sectors. His Excellency stressed that “the government recognizes the central role that agriculture plays in the country's economy and has prioritized agriculture and rural development in its national development plans. Therefore, we need to ensure that the benefits of agriculture are inclusive and reach all sections of the population, including women, ethnic communities, youth and other vulnerable groups. This can be achieved by promoting gender equality, providing targeted support to vulnerable groups, and ensuring that policies and programs are sensitive to the needs and priorities of different communities”


The Ambassador of  France to Lao PDR,  madam Siv Leng Chhuor, echoed what the Deputy Minister highlighted and stated that the implementation of the 9th NSEDP faced several challenges, including COVID-19 pandemic, the Fuel, Financing, Food, and Fertiliser crisis, and climate change. Therefore, the Ambassador stressed the importance of “Green and Climate Finance” and “Enabling the Business Environment for Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs)”, which are two key areas among 54 policy objectives of the Financing Strategy 2023-2025 by the Prime Minister on June 2023. 

During the meeting, Madam Siv Leng Chhuor, the Ambassador of France to Lao PDR, echoed the issues highlighted by the Deputy Minister regarding the challenges faced in implementing the 9th National Social-Economic Development Plan (9th NSEDP). These challenges include the COVID-19 pandemic, fuel and food crises, financing difficulties, and the impact of climate change. In light of these challenges, the Ambassador emphasized the importance of prioritizing two key areas "Green and Climate Finance" and "Enabling the Business Environment for Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs)."  of 54 policy objectives of the Financing Strategy 2023-2025, which was endorsed by the Prime Minister in June 2023. 

FAO Country Representative a.i, Mr. Victor Mol applauded Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry as well as the Government of Lao PDR for key achievements during the past years despite the implementation of the agriculture development plan and the 9th NSEDP have been carried out under the most challenging time of our life due to the impact of COVID19 and other emerging economic difficulties in recent years. Through the meeting, Mr. Mol highlighted “all partners  share a collective commitment to support the Government of Lao PDR in making the agriculture and rural development sector a key driver of sustainable and inclusive economic growth. By working together to prioritize investments and initiatives in this sector, we can promote job creation, poverty reduction, and food security, while also protecting the environment and empowering marginalized communities”.  

This SWG ARD meeting brought together more than 100 participants, with over 30 attendees joining virtually. During the meeting, participants actively shared insights, engaged in discussions, and reflected on lessons learned from various sub-sectors and their projects and programmes. The SWG-ARD Annual Meeting serves as a testament to the dedication and collaboration among stakeholders in advancing agricultural and rural development goals. By fostering knowledge exchange and joint efforts, the SWG-ARD continues to make significant strides towards a more sustainable and prosperous future.