IFAD-supported project tackles malnutrition, stunting in Laos | Greenwatch Dhaka | The leading online daily of Bangladesh

IFAD-supported project tackles malnutrition, stunting in Laos

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Vientiane – The UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic signed an agreement yesterday to finance and implement a project that will reduce extreme poverty and malnutrition for 34,000 poor rural households in northern Laos.The US$38.8 million Strategic Support for Food Security and Nutrition project will ensure increased quality of health and life for poor rural people in 12 districts and approximately 400 villages in Oudomxai, Phongsaly, Xieng Khouang and Houaphan provinces. Among project activities, women will be empowered to improve family diets particularly for infants during the first 1,000 days of life, farmers’ organisations will be developed and small-scale farmers linked to markets, while farmers themselves will be encouraged to develop a personalised ‘plan of action’ to generate profitable agricultural production.
The project is funded by a $30 million grant from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) with an additional $5.4 million from the government, $500,000 from the private sector and $2.9 million from participants themselves.
The financing agreement was signed yesterday in Vientiane by Hoonae Kim, Director, Asia and the Pacific Division, IFAD, and Thipphakhone Chanthavongsa, Deputy Minister of Finance, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
“The project will reduce malnutrition and enhance income and food security in rural communities by supporting nutrition-sensitive and climate-smart agricultural practices,” said Kim at the signing ceremony.
In Laos, undernutrition and food insecurity remain stubbornly high with stunting levels for children under five years of age as high as 61 per cent in some provinces. Improving women’s nutrition is critical to breaking the intergenerational cycle. This can be done in part by providing training and building awareness around nutrition. Communities most prone to undernutrition live in upland areas where household income mostly comes from agriculture and non-timber forest product extraction.
Since 1980, IFAD has invested a total of $122.4 million in 14 programmes and projects in Laos with a total cost of $272.8 million including cofinancing, reaching over 272,875 households.
(IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided about US$17.7 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 459 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.)

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