FAO in Laos

New FAO Representative to Lao PDR

25/03/2014

Vientiane. -  The Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, H.E. Vilayvanh Phomkhe, warmly welcomed Dr. Stephen Rudgard as the newly appointed Representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to Lao PDR.  Dr. Rudgard is a national of the United Kingdom, and has worked for FAO since 2000 in a variety of roles related to strategy and enhancing the quality of programmes at country level. 

The Minister conveyed the government’s sincere appreciation and acknowledgement of FAO’s past work in Lao PDR, and he noted that FAO is a key longstanding partner for his Ministry on agricultural development and food security, and in a wider sense to social and economic development in the country. He noted that 80% of the population live in rural areas, which is where the majority of poverty lies.  The Minister highlighted the critical need for FAO’s support in achieving the national goals for the eradication of hunger and malnutrition, from better policies through to impacts at household level, and in achieving sustainable increases in agricultural production.

Dr. Rudgard expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the government as a whole for the warm welcome and for the partnership to date. He noted the relevance to Lao PDR of the major strategic priorities for FAO.  Amongst these is the UN Secretary General’s global Zero Hunger Challenge, which is intended as a frame for national action and channelling support from development partners into eradicating hunger.  As part of that Challenge, FAO is highlighting the need to reduce food loss and waste. Dr. Rudgard also noted that 2014 is the International Year of Family Farming, and that Lao PDR should highlight the progress and positive experiences that exist in this area in the country.  The new FAO Representative stressed that FAO is looking forward to enhancing its cooperation and partnership with Ministry, and assured that FAO will continue to explore ways to strengthen its work in the country. 

The Minister closed by expressing his hopes that under leadership of Dr. Rudgard, Lao PDR would expand its cooperation with FAO in both policy and technical support.