FAO in Lao People's Democratic Republic

A roadmap for agro-biodiversity

23/10/2015Vientiane.- The National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) presented the draft of the National Agro-biodiversity Programme (NABP II) for 2015-20 to national and international stakeholders during a one-day event in Vientiane.  The meeting was chaired by Dr. Bounthong Bouahom, Director General of NAFRI and co-chaired by Dr. Margaret Jones-Williams, Head of UNDP Environment Unit and Dr. Stephen Rudgard, FAO Representative to Lao PDR. Participants discussed many aspects including the importance of maintaining a diversified farming systems under various ecosystems and at the same time give space to more advanced agricultural development with due consideration to the environmental issues.  The meeting underlined that Lao PDR is in a global unique position with regard to agro-biodiversity, with well over 300 plant and animal species being cropped and between 1,000-2,000 species being collected for food and other purposes. NABP II is a result of a NAFRI-led participatory consultation process with key stakeholders in government, partner organizations and the private sector. The process began in 2014 and has been assisted by UNDP and FAO through the Agro-biodiversity Project. The meeting also highlighted that despite the country’s rich ecological base, the biodiversity has been significantly reduced by population growth, land use changes and resources extraction.  NABP II comprises over 50 research, development and extension activities covering the five technical areas: crops, livestock, forestry and Non-Timber Forest Products , fisheries and integrated and cross cutting issues. The Programme will be overseen by a multi-ministerial National Agro-Biodiversity Steering Committee and will also be the reference document of the recently established Sub-sector Working Group on Agro-Biodiversity, currently co-chaired by FAO. The government’s new agro-biodiversity framework will run for five years (2015-2020) and has a broad-based character, involving a number of ministries, departments, NGO’s and development partners. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and NAFRI are taking the lead implementation and coordination, based on their technical mandates for agro-biodiversity.