The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry organized the National Forum on Investment in Sustainable Agriculture through the framework of the Hand-in-Hand Initiative on Friday.
At Lao Plaza Hotel, the forum aimed to significantly highlight the private sector investment for sustainable growth in the agriculture sector, particularly to trigger a conversation leading to cooperative arrangements and to firm up the business cases for investment in the Global HIHI forum to be held in Rome, Italy this year.
The Hand-in-Hand Initiative is a comprehensive and holistic framework of interventions, designed by FAO as an evidence-based, country-led, and country-owned program to reduce poverty (SDG 1), end hunger and malnutrition (SDG 2), and eradicate inequalities (SDG 10).
It aims to accelerate the transformation to sustainable rural development for combatting the emerging challenges of climate change.
“Appreciated and acknowledged the role played by FAO to bring all key stakeholders together to work Hand in Hand with the Government of Laos to support the economic growth and sustainable development in Laos”. said Mr. Thongphat Vongmany, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.
“HIHI holds special relevancy to Laos as agriculture is one of the most important sectors of Laos’ GDP the national GDP and also ensures the availability of healthy and nutritious food for all; leaving no one behind. Above all, Laos has transformed from a landlocked to a land-linked country through the Laos-China Railway that connects Laos to the rest of the world. It is fast becoming a logistic hub for the Indo-China Peninsula. Thus, the transformation is imminent,” he noted.
“We are facing immense challenges in scope and scale, to ensure that more than 8 billion people are fed by 2025. To do so, traditional methods and scale of agriculture have to be revisited, redone, and recalibrated.” Mr. Hayat Nasar, FAO Representative to Laos.
“The inclusivity of the private sector in the agricultural transformation and sustainability can bring in efficiency, innovation, expertise, and investment to meet these emerging challenges. Through the Hand-in-Hand Initiative, agriculture value chains, livelihoods, nutrition, and governance with the key element of ‘leaving no one behind’ could be facilitated and realized, especially through partnerships between the marginalized, the poor, governments, development partners and private sector,” he stated.
In partnership with FAO, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will develop business cases and learnings of this forum will help in developing them, which will be showcased later in October this year in Rome, at the Global HIHI Investment forum, it is expected that leaders from four different continents will join to initiate bilateral or multilateral partnerships for the benefits of those involved.
The National Forum on Investment in Sustainable Agriculture was welcomed and appreciated by diplomats from embassies, development partners, entrepreneurs from the private sector, and media personnel in the country, who joined the forum to witness the start of lasting potential partnerships.