* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
VIENTIANE – The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have entered into a partnership to enhance the livelihood of people living in rural areas of Lao PDR through WFP’s Livelihood Initiatives for Nutrition (LIN) programme.
According to the signed MOU, the Ministry will oversee the coordination, implementation and monitoring of programme activities, while WFP will provide technical support on project management and nutrition knowledge to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry's staff. WFP will also provide food rations to assist people in remote areas who participate in LIN activities to strengthen their nutritional status and increase food security. "Our Ministry is very happy that WFP contributes to supporting Lao people living in remote communities to improve their livelihood," said Pravongviengkham. "Our staff can strengthen their capacity and skills through WFP's continued technical support on project management." The WFP programme improves livelihoods through two main activities: Food-for-Assets /Cash-for-Assets and Purchase-for-Progress (P4P).
In food/cash for assets activities, villagers in rural areas come together to build small-scale agricultural assets and community-based infrastructure. In the medium and long term these assets enable villagers to produce more, diversify their diet with new vegetable crops or protein from animals, and gain consistent access to markets and health services. The WFP programme thus helps families to increase their income and improve their nutrition, provides a social safety net and enhances communities' resilience to external shocks.
Through the P4P initiative, WFP, by working with partners, enhances the productivity of smallholder farmers and their access to markets. Using its purchasing power as the entry point, WFP and its partners work directly with farmers and local millers and support them to enhance their organisational and technical capacities.
"We are committed to work together with the Ministry to improve the nutritional status of people living in rural areas of Lao PDR, both in the short and long term," said Guerrant. "Through WFP's livelihood development activities, we assist communities to sustain and improve people's lives by building or creating assets which enable villagers to enhance their food security and nutritional status." In partnership with the Government, WFP food/cash for asset activities are being implemented in five provinces, Oudomxay, Luangnamtha, Luangprabang, Attapeu and Sekong, while P4P activities are currently being implemented in Saravane province.
WFP's LIN programme is generously supported by the Government of Australian and the Government of Japan.
# # #
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.
In 2012, WFP Lao PDR provided over 3,200 metric tons of food to more than 225,000 people throughout the country. To learn more about WFP operations in Lao PDR, visit our website: http://www.wfp.org/countries/laos Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wfplaos
For more information please contact: Mingngakham Pangnasak Public Information Officer, WFP Lao PDR Tel: (856-21) 330 300 ext. 2225 Mob: (856-20) 55528637 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org