A grant of more than USD 73,000 was awarded to the Lao Cassava Association (LCA) on 10 December by the United States through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Creating Linkages for Expanded Agricultural Networks (CLEAN) Project.
The grant supports technical training for more than 8,000 LCA members in Salavan Province for the development of a sustainable cassava seed system that will lead to higher quality planting material and increased yields. More than 50 people attended the event, including representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), the Governor of Salavan Province, the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). This latest grant is one part of a 9-million-dollar commitment by the United States to help the Lao PDR further develop its agricultural sector.
The CLEAN Project is implemented by Winrock International with partners at MAF. In 2019 CLEAN organized the first Cassava Workshop in Salavan Province, focused on enhancing productivity, quality, and market extension possibilities.
“Today we are putting words into action to ensure that the cassava industry, a potential USD200 million export industry for Lao PDR, will steadily grow while also making sure the farmers, through modern technology, can maintain high-quality plants and higher yields,” said CLEAN project director Alex Dahan.
The new seed system increases the farmers’ access to high quality, healthy cassava seedlings, and stems, and provides additional storage for dried cassava. This grant will provide assurance to international buyers looking to buy Lao cassava while also providing Lao farmers with technical assistance that improves their crop’s sustainability and competitiveness, giving the farmers higher and more reliable income.
This grant is the latest demonstration of the commitment of the American people to helping the Lao PDR achieve its development goals. The USDA, under its Food for Progress program (FFPr), awarded USD9 million to Winrock to implement the CLEAN Project. In addition to the CLEAN Project, the United States, also through the USDA, has been providing school-feeding assistance to the Lao PDR since 2006 under the McGovern-Dole Program which provides a daily hot lunch to primary school students in over 700 schools across six provinces.