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Agriculture for Nutrition Programme (AFN)

$30 million to raise agricultural productivity, link farmers to markets, and develop institutional capacity to provide farmer families with food and nutrition security.
Photo: Bart Verweij


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. 

Project Status






Focus area

  • Climate Change
  • Nutrition

Supervising entity


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.


Thomas Rath
IFAD Country Director and Representative, Vietnam, Thailand and Lao PDR

Sarah Gordon-Gibson
Task Leader for WFP

Work with Us

Launched in 2010, the Global Agriculture & Food Security Program (GAFSP) represents a transformative approach to development aid that pools donor funds to make lasting improvements by supporting technically sound, country-led plans and sustainable, inclusive small- and medium-sized enterprises. The inaugural donors—Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Canada, the Republic of Korea, Spain, and the United States—were soon joined by Australia, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. GAFSP’s donors work in partnership with recipients, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and their families. Millions of poor and vulnerable people around the world will directly benefit from GAFSP’s continued commitment and support. GAFSP looks to engage other donors and stakeholders in this important initiative.

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