(KPL) Green and sustainable development initiatives and policies enabling the positive transformation of agricultural production systems were shared at a regional workshop on green and sustainable agriculture held on Jan 21-22 in Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR.

The workshop, supported by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and FAO, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s the Department of Policy and Legal Affairs, provided opportunities for representatives of government agencies, farmers, private sector, and development partners from Laos and neighbouring countries to share insights.

The workshop was chaired by Minister for Agriculture and Forestry Lien Thikeo, and co-chaired by FAO Representative to Lao PDR Muhammad Nasar Hayat.

Attendees included more than 100 agriculture practitioners and decision-makers from governments, private sectors and NGOs in the Lao PDR and representatives from the Mekong Region (Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam).

Participants were offered presentations on the national green growth strategy and drafted “Green and Sustainable Agriculture Strategic Framework (GSASF)” and panel discussions to share experience and lessons learned from perspectives of national and regional practitioners.

Participants explored green agriculture in the field by visiting and interacting with farmers to learn their production and marketing techniques at an organic farm at Thaxang village in Pak Ngum district, Vientiane Capital.

The Government of the Lao PDR has recognized green growth as offering opportunities to contribute to sustainable economic, social and environmental development. The agriculture sector is one of the seven prioritized sectors that have been identified as having an important role to play in the sustainability process, as do open markets that facilitate the sharing of technologies and innovations supportive of green growth.

Climate change presents challenges and opportunities for the agricultural sector in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in carbon sequestration, and the need for adaptation by farmers.

Under the National Green Growth Strategy, the Green and Sustainable Agriculture Strategic Framework (GSASF) is being developed to align with the current policies and strategies at the national, regional and international levels as well as the current process for developing the 9th NSEDP and the next Agriculture Development Strategy for 2020-2025.

Stronger partnerships and continuous consultations around green and sustainable development are crucial to improve collaboration among stakeholders, especially private sector and farmers, as key actors on the ground. This also requires collaboration among MAF departments and the other ministries.

The Government of the Lao PDR and development partners, particularly FAO, have expressed their commitments to work together to promote green & sustainable agriculture. Such efforts can help maximize the production of safe and nutritious agricultural commodities and food products while being supportive of biodiversity conservation.

KPL