Lao Upland Rural Advisory Service (LURAS)
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is supporting the Lao Government’s agriculture and food security programs since more than a decade.
Agriculture & food security
Agricultural services & market
Agricultural co-operatives & farmers’ organisations
- Advisory services are delivered to small farmers in selected upland areas, particularly to women and ethnic minorities, to achieve better production result.
- Farmer Organizations have been established and strengthened that expedite engagement in value chains among small producers in the upland.
- Through farmer organizations and networks, the voice of small producers has been raised, demands for services expressed and bargaining power enhanced.
- Sustainable and fair service delivery models by private sector actors have been expanded.
- Policy makers, planners and managers related to upland agriculture have access to the necessary information to that enables decisions toward an agribusiness code of conduct.
- HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation
Lao PDR is a nation of smallholder farmers, with over 75% of the workforce employed in the agriculture sector. During the past two decades, impressive improvements in agricultural production have been achieved, which has contributed to declining poverty rates.
Yet, part of the Lao population is still prone to poverty. This is especially true for farmers in rural areas, female-headed households and ethnic minority members. These groups are challenged by the ongoing shift from sustenance to commercial agriculture, increasing competition over land and other resources and a rapidly growing number of private sector actors in agriculture.
Farmers’ organizations, which can help equip their members to better navigate the commercial market and otherwise enhance their businesses, are beginning to emerge and are further adding to the complexity. One consequence of a new rural economy in which the private sector plays an increasingly larger role is a need for a new kind of agricultural extension.
Rather than instructing farmers in basic techniques or providing production inputs such as seeds, extension services must now help farmers organize, develop their businesses, negotiate with the private sector and adopt environmentally sustainable practices. These changing needs also imply a shift toward service delivery by actors other than the government.
The need for pluralism in extension service provision is fully acknowledged and promoted by the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
In particular, the Department for Agricultural Extension and Cooperatives (DAEC) recognizes the growing importance of the private sector, farmer organizations and non-profit associations as agricultural extension service providers.
The Swiss Cooperation in the Mekong Region supports the Lao Upland Rural Advisory (LURAS) project to facilitate an effective demand-driven pluralistic extension service delivery system in Lao PDR. The system will include self-determined and independent farmer organizations and will support gender-inclusive agricultural value chains that can improve upland farmers’ food security, opportunities and income.
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
Swiss Non-profit Organisation
Department of Agriculture Extension and Cooperative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, with the technical support of Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation and SNV.
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 5’080’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 4’470’701|
Phase 1 01.08.2013 - 31.12.2017 (Completed)