The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) in Laos recently signed an agreement to develop new tools for farmers to adapt to climate change.
The project will give farmers weather information so they can make decisions about their crops in times of fluctuating meteorological patterns, and will provide them with real-time rainfall forecasts, provided by the National Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.
The institute’s Director General Dr Bounthong Bouahom told Vientiane Times yesterday that WFP and NAFRI will also establish schools where farmers can learn more about crop management and how to best adapt to climate variations.
WFP’s support to this project comes at an important time and will be crucial in ensuring the country is better prepared to deal with climate change, Dr Bounthong said.
Helping farmers with extreme weather linked to climate change is key to improving food security, WFP Country Director to Laos Sarah Gordon-Gibson said.
Over the past few years, Laos has experienced higher temperatures and reduced rains during the dry season, and more intense rainfall during the rainy season, leading to longer and more severe droughts, and an increased risk of floods.
In an economy highly dependent agriculture, particularly in rural areas, reducing the impact of climate change in agricultural production is important in order to protect household food security.
The NAFRI-WFP project aims to help farmers in the seven main rice growing provinces of Xayaboury, Borikhamxay, Khammuan, Savannakhet, Saravan, Attapeu and Champassak.
It will also have a longer-term impact on the agricultural development sector by improving the knowledge and resources of national institutions and policy makers.
WFP is working with the Lao government to achieve the 8th National Socio Economic Development Plan, especially to reduce malnutrition and its impact on human and national development by providing food assistance and technical support.
NAFRI is the national research institution, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, in charge of the coordination of agriculture and forestry research activities within the country and the development of a National Agriculture and Forestry Research System.
NAFRI’s mandate is to undertake integrated agriculture, forestry, livestock and fisheries research in order to provide technical information, norms and results that help to formulate strategy in accordance with Lao government policies. NAFRI’s main functions include carrying out adaptive research, developing methods, tools and information packages, providing policy feedback, and coordinating and managing research.
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. In 2015, WFP assisted nearly 80 million people in 81 countries. WFP has been present in Laos since 1975, with projects aimed at improving the food security and nutritional status of the most vulnerable.
Source: Vientiane Times