In Lao People’s Democratic Republic, undernutrition and food insecurity remain stubbornly high, with stunted children under five up to 61% in some provinces. Improving women’s nutrition is critical to breaking the intergenerational cycle of undernutrition and, given the negative impact that chronic undernutrition has on health, productivity, educational attainment, and income-earning ability, addressing this issue is essential to sustained national economic growth. Communities most prone to undernutrition live in upland areas where the dominant household economic activities – agriculture and non-timber forest product extraction – are increasingly constrained by unsustainable farming practices. This is why the government’s National Nutrition Strategy to 2025 and Plan of Action 2016-2020 specifically looks to boost agricultural productivity as a top priority – to raise incomes and improve livelihoods, reduce its vulnerability to climate change, and expand both public and private sector investments.
The Agriculture for Nutrition Programme (AFN) aims to reduce extreme poverty and malnutrition in the poorest communities in Northern Laos by strengthening public services, establishing community driven agriculture-based nutrition interventions, and forming sustainable and inclusive market-driven partnerships. Activities will include the establishment of nutrition-sensitive agriculture production infrastructure, particularly micro-irrigation systems, the creation of farmer nutrition schools, and the financing of investments supporting availability and utilization of nutritious food for women-led households. The project will support diversification from rice, which is the main staple food and accounts for 72% of the total cultivated area. The project will also promote climate smart sustainable farming by introducing conservation farming techniques and agroforestry.
- Climate Change
Supervising entityIFAD WFP
6,404 people, including more than 2,000 women, have benefited from the project, which is expected to directly benefit about 194,000 people including 51,000 women.
61 Farmer Nutrition Schools (FNS) for village women (pregnant and nursing mothers and mothers with children under two) have commenced in all 61 villages. FNS facilitators and have been trained to run the fortnightly meetings, with emphasis is on identification of seasonal food and nutrition gaps that can be addressed.
IFAD Country Director and Representative, Vietnam, Thailand and Lao PDR
Task Leader for WFP
Official Project Documents: