(KPL) Director General of Food and Agriculture Organisation Qu Dongyu has said that it is important to encourage all partners to promote and invest in the Lao PDR’s agro-biodiversity, and continue to focus on balancing commercial development and national food security.

Giving an interview to local media in Vientiane yesterday, Mr Qu said that the promotion of agricultural commercialization, diversified services and sustainable trade expansion in agricultural products are key to reduce rural poverty, with linkages upstream to smallholder producers and downstream to domestic agribusiness.

“This is vital as the majority of the Lao labour force is engaged in and dependent on the agricultural sector,” said Qu.

To invigorate its support for its member countries, FAO has introduced a flagship initiative called “Hand in Hand Initiative (HIHI),” which takes a fresh approach to the principle of leaving no one behind in achieving SDGs 1 and 2 and other associated SDGs.

“While implementing this initiative will be done case by case basis, our FAO team is looking forward to working with the Government of Lao PDR to become a prioritized country for HIHI,” said Qu.

FAO’s head also emphasized a balance between natural resources management and agriculture production in hard to reach and mountainous areas where resources are fragile and climate vulnerable, and a focus on the multiple functions and important roles of mountain-area agriculture in the Lao PDR.

Mr. Qu was on a three-day visit to the Lao PDR to further strengthen FAO’s collaboration with the country between Feb 18 and 20.

The Director-General met with senior leadership to discuss relevant issues and outline FAO’s work globally and in the Lao PDR, focusing on eliminating hunger and improving food security in the context of minimizing the impacts of climate change.

KPL